Young Visionaries Converge at Southern California Youth Futures Summit to Chart a New Path


On February 10th, the University of California in Riverside hosted the Southern California Youth Futures Summit. The summit brought together young visionaries from across the region to discuss the most pressing issues facing Southern California and the world. The goal of the summit was to empower young people to shape their future and make a positive impact through engagement in local policy discussions.

The summit featured a lineup of inspiring keynote speakers, including Congressman Mark Takano, Assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes and Corey Jackson, and California 100 Futures Fellow Genna Weinstein. These speakers shared their stories of leadership and encouraged students to take control of their future and make a difference.

At the summit, students participated in presentations, workshops, and exercises to envision their desired future for California. The aspirations generated by the young Californians were strong and definitive, touching upon a variety of significant topics, such as:


“We envision a California with NO school shootings.”
“I dream of a California where gender affirming care is accessible to all.”
“We demand a future of California that conserves our natural resources.”



Youth attendees write visioning statements during a workshop at the SoCal Youth Futures Summit at UCR on February 10th, 2023.

Youth attendees write visioning statements during a workshop at the SoCal Youth Futures Summit at UCR on February 10th, 2023. 


Throughout the day, students participated in a variety of workshops, including: The Future is Now, Financial Aid and Finding Resources, STEM and Social Justice, Voter Rights for Youth, and Labor Rights in the IE. As part of their participation in the summit, students also wrote postcards to Governor Gavin Newsom outlining their dreams and demands for the future of California.

The Southern California Youth Futures Summit was co-hosted by the Center for Social Innovation and  California 100, and was supported by a range of youth partners, including the BLU Foundation, the Youth Mentoring Action Network (YMAN), and many more. The summit was a resounding success, with students leaving feeling empowered and inspired to make a positive impact in their communities and the world.



The Southern California Youth Futures Summit had a remarkable lineup of speakers who engaged with the young attendees and discussed ways to attain their envisioned California. These speakers were also trailblazers, such as Congressman Mark Takano who was the first openly gay person of color in the U.S. Congress and Assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes and Corey Jackson, the first Latina lesbian and Black gay members respectively elected to the California state legislature. 
During her speech, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes shared her experience being openly LGBTQ and Latina in the California Assembly and emphasized the importance of staying true to one's background and community.

“If you truly want to be the change, you have to find it within yourself to take that leap of faith to step into that next stage in your life.” – Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes


Assemblymember Corey Jackson stressed the significance of surrounding oneself with supportive peers and reaching out to individuals who may seem dissimilar. He emphasized the crucial role of forming connections with a diverse group of people to establish a strong community capable of driving change.



 “In my junior year in high school, I was raised by a village… teachers in high school that I still talk to today took me under their wings and told me that I could do more than just play sports.” – Assemblymember Corey Jackson


After lunch, Congressman Mark Takano shared the pivotal moments that drove him to public service, such as observing Rep. Barbara Jordan during the Nixon impeachment proceedings and his family's internment during World War II. He also recounted his journey to becoming a representative in the House of Representatives.



“You are on the front lines of saving our democracy… and reanimating and repurposing our institutions.” – Congressman Mark Takano


Finally, Genna Weinstein, a California 100 Futures Fellow and a student at UC Davis, imparted her knowledge on the youth about creating a manifesto for the future, building confidence to chase their aspirations, and the influence young Californians possess to bring about change in the state.



“When I was in high school, and even now, I knew I wanted to change the world. I just didn’t know how. How would it be possible for me to do anything that would make a difference? The answer lies in taking small steps towards a larger solution.” – Futures Fellow Genna Weinstein (UC Davis)



During the afternoon, students participated in two workshop sessions that involved finding solutions to six key topics through a solutions-focused brainstorming exercise.
  • Education, Workforce, & the Creative Economy 
  • Climate Change & Environment 
  • Health, Mental Health, & Wellbeing
  • Civic Engagement & Empowerment
  • Community Safety & Justice Reform
  • Humane Housing & Reliable Transportation

During the summit, students collaborated to devise solutions to various issues. Their ideas were truly impactful, with suggestions such as the creation of "more nonprofits for legal guidance," the provision of "universal free feminine hygiene products," and the inclusion of "more inclusive history classes" in the curriculum. Additionally, as part of the larger Youth Futures initiative this spring, students wrote postcards to Governor Gavin Newsom, expressing their hopes and aspirations for the future of California. 

Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to take part in various workshops, including "The Future is Now," "Financial Aid and Finding Resources," "STEM and Social Justice," "Voter Rights for Youth," and "Labor Rights in the IE." These workshops offered a diverse range of educational and interactive opportunities for students to broaden their knowledge and skills.



Alongside California 100, the Center for Social Innovation was honored to be in community with strong youth partners from throughout the region including: 

  • BLU Foundation
  • California State University of San Bernardino, College Corps
  • Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California 
  • Congregations for Prophetic Engagement (COPE)
  • Growing Inland Achievement
  • Moreno Valley Community College, TRIO Program
  • Moreno Valley Unified School District
  • National Society of Black Engineers, UCR Chapter
  • Riverside Unified School District
  • San Bernardino Unified School District
  • UCLA California Freedom Summer Initiative
  • UCR Black Faculty and Staff Association
  • UCR Gluck Fellows 
  • UCR Student Life
  • Youth Mentoring Action Network (YMAN)

High Schools in the area who were represented at the event;
Riverside Unified School District

  • Martin Luther King High School
  • Poly High School
  • Ramona High School
  • Riverside High School
  • STEM High School

Moreno Valley Unified School District

  • Canyon Springs High School
  • Moreno Valley High School
  • Vista Del Lago High School
  • Bridges Learning Center
  • March Mountain High School
  • Middle College High School
  • Moreno Valley Adult School

San Bernardino Unified School District

  • Middle College High School
  • San Bernardino High School
  • Virtual Academy
  • Indian Springs High School
  • San Gorgonio High School
The Southern California Youth Futures Summit was a huge success, with participants praising the inspiring speakers, engaging workshops, and opportunities to connect with other young people who are passionate about making a difference. We hope to continue the conversation by visiting local high schools and conducting manifesto workshops with youth to broaden the number of young people engaged in developing a policy vision for their communities. If you are interested in hosting a brief manifesto workshop with youth, please contact Fatima Nelson at


Attend the CALIFORNIA 100 YOUTH FUTURES SUMMIT on Sunday, March 12, 2023!
The Southern California Youth Futures Summit is part of the leadup to California 100’s Youth Futures Summit in Sacramento, set to take place on Sunday, March 12, 2023 on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Join hundreds of student leaders and activists from across the state for a day of participatory action, celebration and youth-led visioning for the future of California. The Youth Futures Summit is FREE to attend, and open to all young Californians (and their allies and champions). Register and learn more >>