We launched the search for students to keynote our national speaker contest with ambitious expectations -- ones grounded in the young people we encounter everyday. The response was overwhelming. Of the dozens of videos that poured in, we selected six to feature on HuffPost College.
Jamira Burley, David Cho, Michael Huerta, Jennifer Mishory, Kevin Sanchez and Alok Vaid-Menon give us all a reason to breathe a sigh of relief when we consider what the future holds.
In two days, more than 213,000 votes were cast in a tight race. We are pleased to announce that this year's Campus Progress National Conference will include remarks from David Cho, Kevin Sanchez and Jamira Burley.
Meet the winners:
David is a Dreamer; an undocumented student at UCLA who has already received the attention of CNN for his efforts in support of the Dream Act. David believes in "the power of the people" and the ability of "young students with new and innovative ideas" to contribute to this country.
Kevin is an advocate of the Youth Promise Act, a bill that would provide funding for violence prevention and intervention strategies. Kevin also doesn't buy the notion that young people are apathetic but rather believes that "we need to motivate young people's hearts, not only their minds."
Jamira has been politically active in the Philadelphia area working to ensure, in her own words, that decisions aren't made "about us, without us." Jamira is the first person in her family to graduate high school and college and, as one of sixteen children, looks to her six younger brothers and sisters for inspiration, explaining: "I have to not only set a good example for them but also to ensure that they are afforded opportunities that I wasn't."
Our three keynotes will join a dynamic list of panelists, including comedian Baratunde Thurston from The Onion, frequent guest of the Rachel Maddow show and Washington Editor of The Nation Chris Hayes, Political Director to Russell Simmons and Editor of Global Grind Michael Skolnik, Shelby Knox from the documentary "The Education of Shelby Knox," Iraq veteran Matthew Hoh and many others. We'll announce our other keynotes in the weeks ahead.
We are thrilled that they'll be attending the conference and hope that YOU join us in D.C. on July 7th to hear from them. The conference is free and you can apply here.
We can't conclude this contest without noting that all six final contestants were stellar -- Michael, Jennifer and Alok are incredible young people doing important and inspirational work. Thus, we are pleased to extend travel and housing scholarships to enable all three of them to attend the conference. The Campus Progress National Conference seeks to bring together young progressives from across the country, and our group next month will be that much more robust with all six student speakers present.