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Youth Voices Lecture Series, Speakers Announced

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Media, Film & Journalism Studies

Announcement  •

The Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies is excited to announce the Youth Voices Event, featuring the Estlow, Margolin, and Marisco Lecturers. Speakers will join us on May 17, 2023, for an insightful talk about the “next generation of climate activism.” The keynote speakers of the event, Estlow lecturer Jeniffer Solis and Margolin lecturer Sophia Kianni, join us to share how journalism and civic engagement are essential tools for youth fighting for climate justice.

Dating back to 1997, the Estlow Center’s Anvil of Freedom Award for Outstanding Journalism has been presented annually to individuals who display superior leadership and commitment to ethics, integrity, and democratic freedoms. This year, Solis has been awarded this honor for her reporting work with the Nevada Current. Solis’ talk will highlight her experiences covering issues about energy development on unceded sacred sites, the growing water pollution on tribal lands, and the Southwest megadrought. She will take the stage from 2 to 3:50 p.m. in Community Commons room 1600 to discuss her experiences as a journalist covering environmental issues.

The annual Margolin distinguished lecture is named in honor of the late Morton L. Margolin, who was a renowned journalist in the West for over 35 years. During his career, Margolin was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, worked with the Rocky Mountain News, and co-founded the Colorado Business Magazine. Margolin speaker, Kianni, works as a climate activist, youth organizer, Executive Director of the Climate Cardinals, and the youngest member of the UN Youth Environmental Council. Previously, she worked as a national strategist for Greta Thunberg’s Fridays For Future, an international movement that mobilized millions of students to strike for climate change. Kianni will lead a presentation in the Sturm Hall Lindsay Auditorium following a reception from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Kianni’s presentation is set to take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Prior to the Margolin and Estlow lectures, the Earth Guardians panel will take place from 10 to 11:50 a.m. in Community Commons room 1600. This panel seeks “to train and empower youth at the intersection of climate change and environmental justice,” through the power of art, music, storytelling, civic engagement, and legal action. Earth Guardians speaker Tony Perez Soto, the Regional Programs Coordinator at Earth Guardians, hails from Costa Rica and later studied at Luther College where he completed his B.A. before pursuing a master's degree at DePaul University in Applied Diplomacy with a concentration in Migration. Joining Soto is our very own Leala Pourier, a creative writing student here at DU. Pourier currently works as the social media manager for Earth Guardians in addition to taking part in event planning. They have organized events such as the Zero Hour Rally in Denver, which brought attention to the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women near oil drill sites. Our final Earth Guardians panelist is Esperanza Soledad Garcia, a student of architecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is an advocate who addresses issues of climate after her experiences with the 2022 Hermit Peak Wildfire in Northern New Mexico and its impact on the local traditions and lands. She has worked with the International Indigenous Youth Council, Greta Thunberg and Future Coalition, in addition to being recognized by the Washington Post.

Throughout the day, MFJS students have the opportunity to showcase their work in the Climate Activism Student Showcase, located in Community Commons room 1600.

This event is possible through partnerships with The University of Denver Native Student Alliance, the Center for Sustainability, and the Estlow Center for International Journalism.