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Each host city is led by a core team member from Students Demand Action. Learn more about these leaders and their involvement in the host cities.

Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Summer Leadership Academy is the foundation of Chicago Students Demand Action supporting students in low-income and BIPOC communities in Chicago to organize against gun violence in our communities. The program seeks to build leadership development skills in participants and  strengthen relationships between students, community members, and lawmakers working to address gun violence in Chicago.

The Chicago Summer Leadership Academy will guide students and community members to be part of the effort to reduce gun violence our communities. This program will work to educate participants about gun violence in their community and provide an introduction to effective gun violence prevention strategies. The program will culminate on Impact Day in August. This public event will feature student project proposals for addressing gun violence in Detroit, build support and partnerships with local businesses, community leaders and local organizations working to address gun violence. 

Throughout the summer, students will learn about the gun violence prevention movement and gain real-world organizing experience that will enhance Students Demand Action’s presence in Chicago. They’ll graduate from the program equipped with the skills and resources to recruit students to be a part of the movement, develop and strengthen partnerships with existing community organizations, talk to lawmakers and community stakeholders about data-oriented solutions, and collaborate with other young people to address gun violence in Chicago.

Chicago Core Team

Ade Osadolor

My name is Ade Osadolor and I’m a rising second year at the University of Chicago studying Psychology and Public Policy on a pre-med track. I have been part of Students Demand Action since my sophomore year of high school and I am now part of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. I became involved in the gun violence prevention movement because as a Mexican and Nigerian woman I constantly fear for my safety and the safety the communities and cultures that have shaped me. I want to be part of the change and uplift the voices of others in order to bring awareness of the gun violence epidemic and find solutions to this crisis in America.

Myra Fajardo

I am a fourth year student at UIC. As a first generation college student, I know how important it is so maintain stability to achieve academic success. With that said, I aspire to create resources that underserved communities can benefit from while also ensuring they have access to these tools in an effort to build a safe and connected community.

Kathy Pisabaj

Gun violence survivor, student, and Chicagoan. After getting shot, the world was no longer the same. I had to help make a difference.

Justin Funez

I’m currently a first-year student at the University of Chicago.  I joined Students Demand Action in June of 2019 thanks to the pilot summer program in South Central Los Angeles. Before moving to South Central, I lived in Honduras for nine years and in Mexico for seven years. During these years I faced everyday gun violence, but I didn’t recognize it was gun violence. I just assumed it was part of my everyday life. While living in South Central, I realized that this is an epidemic that affects people from all races, gender, socioeconomic status, and even across different countries. Last summer I had the opportunity to host a Summer Leadership Academy in my community for high school students, where we discussed and took action to prevent city gun violence in our community. As I begin a new chapter of my life, I hope to continue advocating for gun sense and against the gun violence epidemic our country faces.

Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit Summer Leadership Academy is designed to strengthen the Detroit community and bring awareness to gun violence in our city. We will help educate participants on the history of gun violence in Detroit and common sense gun safety solutions. Upon completion of the summer program, participants will be equipped with the resources and support necessary to launch Students Demand Action groups at their schools.

The Detroit Summer of Action Program will provide participants with strong connections within the community, along with effective event planning and organization skills that can be applied to participants’ day-to-day life. This program will work to educate participants about gun violence in their community and provide an introduction to effective gun violence prevention strategies. The program will culminate on Impact Day on August 13th. This public event will feature student project proposals for addressing gun violence in Detroit, build support and partnerships with local businesses, community leaders and local organizations working to address gun violence. 

Each week of the summer program is dedicated to a different theme where students will learn about a specific issue within the gun violence prevention movement,  apply those skills in a real-world scenario, and connect with local organizations who address that issue within the Detroit community.

Detroit Core Team

Megan Dombrowski (she/her/hers)

Megan Dombrowski joined Students Demand Action after seeing hundreds of students rise up across the nation to demand action in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.She was a leader with a local community chapter in Oakland & Macomb Counties before graduating high school and co-founding a chapter at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where she is seeking a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is passionate about helping register and mobilize others to vote as it is the most powerful tool we haveto make positive, long-lasting change. In her free time, she is a partof the WSU Debate team and mentors underclassmen in the subject of English and Composition.

Lenah Mansour

My name is Lenah I am a 22-year-old Lebanese American girl. I lived my entire life in Lebanon and not until 4 months ago I decided to move into the states and start my life here. I started working with outreach team as soon as I came here. I loved the diverse work environment and the motives behind the company. I am eager to learn and gain experience. People’s lives and experiences fascinate me. The most important thing for me would be the ability to promote health, safety and demolish racial and ethnic discrimination. Making the world a greater place is my goal. My goal is to be able to become an agent of change and participate in activities for the greater good of communities as well as strengthen vulnerable communities and give everyone a chance to voice their opinions and their rights.

Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Summer Leadership Academy seeks to introduce local students to Students Demand Action, enhance their knowledge about gun violence prevention and demonstrate the importance of civic engagement through action. In its third year, the Los Angeles Summer Leadership Academy will continue to provide a platform for students from communities most impacted by gun violence, including low income students of color and survivors of gun violence, to be the change they want to see in their community. 

Throughout the summer, students in the Los Angeles community will gain important leadership skills, learn about America’s gun violence crisis, and advocate for common sense gun safety solutions. Joining and nurturing this community enables students to practice crucial skills and create connections that prepare them for college and the rest of their lives.

The Los Angeles Summer Leadership Academy teaches students advocacy organizing and leadership skills that are essential for students looking to engage in college campus organizing and social movements. Each student will design and present a proposal to address gun violence in their community. At the conclusion of the program, students will have an opportunity to present their proposal to their community and a panel of local activists, gun violence prevention experts, and local officials to determine which proposal will be implemented in the community of South Central Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Core Team

Natalie Ordonez Najar 

Natalie Ordonez Najar is a Chicana from Hawthorne, California. She is an incoming freshman at Barnard College of Columbia University. She is a passionate woman and loves to help out in her community in any way she is able to. To be precise, she is adamant about advocating gun violence. Through her time at Students Demand Action Summer Program at the South Central Los Angeles chapter, she felt inspired to continue her journey as an advocate and is doing so by making her own Students Demand Summer Program this year.

Nashville, Tennessee

The Nashville Summer Leadership Academy seeks to expand students’ understanding of gun violence with a specific emphasis on how the arts have played a role in promoting social justice. 

Our goal is to support a passionate group of students that will take action to address gun violence and inspire others in their community. The long term goal of creating a safe community begins with creating safe spaces for youth to explore issues that impact their every-day lives. The Nashville Summer Leadership Academy provides a safe space for students who live in areas most impacted by gun violence, including students of color and  LGBTQ+ students, to leverage the arts to organize for gun violence prevention.

Nashville Core Team

Iman Omer (she/her/hers)

My name is Iman Omer. I am a 17 year old from Nashville, Tennessee. I am a senior at MLK Magnet Highschool and a rising freshman at Vanderbilt University. In the future, I hope to study cognitive sciences. In my free time, I write poetry, collect stationery, and study psychology.

Sophia Hackett

My name is Sophia Hackett and I’m currently a senior at MLK High School (class of 2021).  I’ve volunteered for Second Harvest and Habitat for Humanity ReStore for about 200 hours total, and I’m the captain of MLK’s cross country team and long distance track team.  I can also speak fluent German.  

Tampa, Florida

The Summer Leadership Academy is a peer to peer summer mentorship program supporting low-income students who have been impacted by gun violence in the Tampa community. This program will allow students an opportunity to advocate against gun violence, be educated on gun violence prevention, and be a part of a safe-zone community with their peers who share similar stories as them.

Tampa Core Team

Taina Patterson

I am a native Oceanside, California resident. However, I currently stay in Tampa, Florida due to COVID-19. I am a political science major at Palomar College and I plan on transferring to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University next year. I’m actively involved in the betterment of my community with the work I do as a member of various organizations. I currently served as Juvenile Justice Chair of the Youth & College Division Tampa National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I have worked relentlessly to help advance the fight for Civil Rights and an appreciation for cultural and gender diversity. I am also part of the Students Demand Action Fellowship Program. I am a survivor of gun violence and I am devoted to being a voice in my community that stands up and speaks up about the gun violence that impacts many young minorities disproportionately. I always strive to do my best and stay dedicated to serve as a role model for the youth in our community.

Neha Banglore

Hi! My name is Neha Bangalore. I am a junior in high school. I have been involved in SDA since my freshman year and I have loved every minute of it. I am passionate about medicine and programming. I hope I will be able to have a job in the medical field as well as a web engineer. I have been involved with politics and debate since middle school. I love to work with topics like international humanitarian law, poverty, our environment, feminism, animal cruelty, and gun violence. I want to be able to work a job that I love, but also a job that allows me to dedicate time to things I am passionate about. Some hobbies I have are reading, dancing, drawing, and watching shows.

Chetana Movva

My name is Chetana (she/her) and I am from Tampa, FL. I am currently a junior and am passionate about medicine and hope to be a doctor someday. I am really interested in politics and advocate for progressive climate change policies, mental health awareness, gun safety, the feminist movement, and equal representation of women in the medical field. I also love dark chocolate, avocado toast, pineapples on pizza, and harry potter. 

2021 Partners

This initiative would not be possible without the generosity of our partners. From providing funding to co-hosting events together, our partners help infuse our grassroot student organizers with the resources they need to be successful organizers.

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles

Toms

Urban Peace Institute