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Youth Leadership and Activism

Part of Race, Community, and Our Shared Future: A Conversation Series

Weekend Program

Noon Lecture/Seminar

Sunday, December 20, 2020 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0389
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REGISTRATION ADVISORY: Online registration will close at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 20.


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • This is a free program; online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.

More than any other time in history, youth-led movements for justice consider racial inequity as fundamental to, not separate from, their platforms for activism. Today’s young people live in a more racially diverse world and understand that racial identity has a major impact on a person’s quality of life and access to justice. The program is a facilitated conversation with youth activists who co-founded organizations and movements that explicitly connect racism and inequality with their advocacy for policy change. Each panelist draws on their own lived experiences as they talk about their motivations, community-organizing efforts, and plans to build a more inclusive and socially conscious future.


Chelsea Miller is a 24-year-old Brooklyn native and leading voice in youth activism. She is the co-founder of Freedom March NYC, a youth protest and policy group on the frontlines pushing for reform across the nation. Her speaking engagements include events at Madison Square Garden and Yale University, and most recently, the 2020 March on Washington. She is the co-founder and CEO of Women Everywhere Believe, Inc., a national organization that trains women and girls of color to be civic and corporate leaders, and was named one of 2020’s “50 Most Powerful People in Brooklyn” by the news organization City & State NYC.

Nialah Edari is the co-founder of Freedom March NYC, a youth protest and policy group on the frontlines pushing for reform in New York City and nationally. Nialah has spoken on youth activism during the National Action Network's Annual Conference, Yale's Black Solidarity Conference, the Black Women's Roundtable, and the March on Washington. Nialah worked in the office of the highest-ranking African-American in the House of Representatives, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and in the office of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Vic Barrett has witnessed the reality of climate change firsthand, when at age 11 his hometown was devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Vic has spoken at conferences and events across the United States, as well as testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee as one of the lead representatives of Youth v. Gov.

Zanagee Artis is a 21-year-old from Clinton, Connecticut, and a co-founder of the youth climate justice organization Zero Hour. As the founding director of logistics he organized the Zero Hour Youth Climate March in Washington, D.C., in July 2018, and helped to coordinate similar marches globally. He now serves as the organization's policy director and leads Zero Hour’s environmental justice education, engagement with political campaigns, and legislative work.


OnRaé Watkins (aka OnRaé LaTeal) is a music producer and creative arts educator who currently serves as senior manager of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s teen programs and digital arts studio ARTLAB.Known for merging the arts and social justice, OnRaé is the co-founder of the Black Girls Handgames Project, a grassroots program that uses childhood handgames to uplift joy and resiliency for Black girls through hip-hop and education. Her latest work includes the Black Joy Experience, a compilation album of mainstream freedom songs and liberation chants she produced in conjunction with the national activist organization Black Youth Project 100.

This program is part of Race, Community, and Our Shared Future: A Conversation Series.


How can Americans come together to examine some of the most vital issues that connect—and often separate us—as a nation today? The Smithsonian’s new initiative “Race, Community and Our Shared Future” will explore how we currently understand, experience, and confront race; its impact on communities; and how that impact is shaping the nation’s future.

Drawing on the rich resources of the Smithsonian’s museums to provide expertise and historical context, this national conversation—in which all Americans are invited to participate—seeks to inspire action toward building a more inclusive, sustainable future.

An online conversation series includes two panels in December that lead to the national launch of  “Race, Community and Our Shared Future” in 2021, which is made possible through a $25 million commitment from founding partner Bank of America.

The programs are offered free of charge, but registration is required.

The views expressed by the panelists are not necessarily those of the Smithsonian.

Patron Information

  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.