Kingmakers youth influence White House Policy Summit

Washington DC – Four Kingmakers of Oakland (KOO) youth leaders – Kahlil Chatmon, Tre Germany, Fiyah Abakah, and Romero Wesson – had the extraordinary opportunity to participate in the inaugural White House Youth Summit, hosted by the Biden-Harris Administration. These remarkable youth represented the heart and soul of Kingmakers during the inaugural Youth Policy Summit: Cultivating Possibilities.

DC White HouseWith a platform to voice their insights, the KOO leaders engaged with policymakers, delving into strategies to enhance policies and programs, ensuring that all youth have the opportunity to flourish. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, the summit convened over 90 young minds, igniting discussions on crucial topics ranging from behavioral health crises to identity and purpose.

Kahlil Chatmon speaking at the White House Policy Summit“The policymakers were open to hear our stories, centering youth experience and youth voice, ” Kahlil acknowledged.  “They were open to hearing policy critiques, making policy adjustments, moving money, and working with youth to design new policy. The Summit’s goal was to collaborate around real action steps and deliverables.” 

Participants explored themes of well-being, belonging, agency, and leadership, underscoring the importance of aligning policy decisions across various systems to uplift youth, particularly those facing significant barriers to success. The summit facilitated meaningful dialogues between youth and key leaders across diverse sectors, including education, child welfare, justice, and healthcare. For Kahlil, Tre, Fiyah, Romero, and their peers, the summit was not just a gathering of minds but a beacon of hope, signaling a collective commitment to empower the next generation. 

KOO Youth Leaders at White House“We were able to hear some revolutionary work that is going on in other cities, from other youth leaders,” Kahlil Chatmon claimed. “We got a clearer picture of the inspiring programs that youth leaders were putting into play and the impact they had on their young people. Brothers in Indiana were working with incarcerated youth and gang members through a mentorship program that connected OGs in their community to share knowledge and give back.” 

Their presence underscored the vital role of youth voices in shaping policies that foster opportunity and equity for all. As they return to their communities, these Kingmakers continue to embody the spirit of leadership and advocacy, lighting the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

“We believe that by coming together and sharing our perspectives, we can create more equitable and inclusive policies that uplift all young people,” added Tre Germany.

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