Riverside, CA - On February 10, 2023 the Southern California Youth Futures Summit brought together young leaders, thought leaders, and local representatives to address the biggest challenges facing Southern California and the world. The summit, hosted by the Center for Social Innovation at University of California Riverside and the California 100 initiative, showcased keynote speeches from Professor Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Congressman Mark Takano, Assemblymembers Corey Jackson and Sabrina Cervantes, and other speakers including Fatima Nelson, Eric Calderon, and California 100’s executive director Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan from UC Riverside, and California 100 Futures Fellow Genna Weinstein from UC Davis.
"Our democracy does not run on auto-pilot-- and the next generation must be engaged in the fight to preserve it," said Congressman Takano in his keynote address. "I'm re-energized by the young leaders I met at the Southern California Youth Futures Summit. Their energy, passion, and innovative ideas will defend and revitalize our democracy for generations to come.”
Workshops and discussions covered a wide range of topics, including innovation, education, the environment, social justice, entrepreneurship, and more. The goal of the summit was to engage young people in discussions about the future and empower them to take action to shape it.
Assemblymember Corey Jackson emphasized the importance of the summit, saying, "The SoCal Youth Futures Summit is an incredible opportunity for the youth of the Inland Empire to come together and use their voices to create real, lasting change in their communities. We must continue to invest in initiatives like this one, and empower our young leaders to be the driving force behind a brighter and more equitable future."
Attendees had the chance to attend workshops and interactive sessions to develop their leadership skills and create visions and solutions for the world's most pressing challenges. Vision statements like, “I dream of a California with better accessibility to mental health care for students”, and “I dream of a California that relies entirely on clean and sustainable energy”, were written by youth. They also had the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and connect with youth leaders in the region.
"Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders, and it's crucial that we give them the tools and resources they need to succeed and lead," said speaker Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan. "The Southern California Youth Futures Summit provided a platform for young people to connect, collaborate, and make a positive impact on their communities and the world."
The summit received praise from attendees for its inspiring speakers, engaging workshops, and opportunities for connection with other young people passionate about making a difference.
"This summit was an amazing experience," said Janiyah of San Bernardino, "I left feeling empowered and inspired to make a positive impact in my community and the world. I’ve never done anything like this before but now I’m really interested in learning more."
The Southern California Youth Futures Summit was made possible through the support of community organizations, businesses, government entities, and individuals, all committed to empowering the next generation of leaders. Event organizer Fatima Nelson said, "It was an incredible experience to work on this project with so many partners dedicated to creating an experience for our youth that emphasizes the importance of their voices in policy discussions."
This regional summit is part of California 100's work across the state, bringing together student leaders, campus activists, and youth community partners to workshop youth vision manifestos for the future, develop calls to action, and co-design a celebratory Youth Summit planned for March 2023 in Sacramento.
For more information about the Southern California Youth Futures Summit and future events, please visit https://socialinnovation.ucr.edu/socalyouthfutures.
About the UCR Center for Social Innovation
The Center for Social Innovation provides a credible research voice that spurs civic leadership
and policy innovation. Its reputation is built on the key pillars of social science,
strategic policy awareness, innovation mindsets, and deep community partnerships. CSI
integrates researchers, community organizations, and civic stakeholders in collaborative
projects and long-term partnerships that strengthen shared values of resilience, inclusion,
sustainability, and equity (RISE). Importantly, the Center seeks to shift away from
a “problem” narrative to an “opportunity” narrative for marginalized communities and
localities. Learn more at socialinnovation.ucr.edu.
About California 100
California 100 is a transformative statewide initiative focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative is incubated at the University of California and Stanford, and is guided by an expert and intergenerational Commission. The mission of California 100 is to strengthen California’s ability to collectively solve problems and shape our long-term future—through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and engagement—by identifying, mobilizing, and supporting champions for innovative and equitable solutions.