Young activists focus on connecting with others

Emma Shafer, Assistant Editor

On Sept. 22, Lincoln Land Community College students Claire Farnsworth and Ashley Broemmer helped organize an advocacy summit that was held at the Brookens Library Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The event was hosted by Young Activists of Action Illinois (YAAI), an advocacy group that began from the organizers of the local March for Our Lives that was held in March.

Claire Farnsworth, a freshman student at LLCC, is the founder and President of YAAI.

“Central Illinois and America, in general, is in desperate need of the space for young activists to learn and advocate together. We’re trying to fill that void,” Farnworth described as her reasoning for creating YAAI. 

The summit began with a community fair bringing local community action groups such as Springfield Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Springfield Students Demand Action for Gun Sense and Faith Coalition for the Common Good to UIS. The groups set up tables to provide information to attendees.

The League of Women Voters and Faith Coalition for the Common Good partnered to register voters for the upcoming midterm election.

YAAI hosted a panel on women’s leadership providing guests such as Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (the current Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District), Brigid Leahy, Veronica Espina, Jennifer Lee, Anna Cianciolo and Sunshine Clemons. The panel discussed intersectionality for women within leadership and the problems they had faced throughout their career.

The panel provided advice to young advocates about organizing and leading from a center of inclusion, organizing from a place of abundance and understanding one’s self and vulnerability. The main point the panel stressed was to make an effort to connect with others through activism.

Emma Shafer can be reached at [email protected].