November 29, 2018
DC Dialogues and the NYU Washington, DC community hosted an evening program celebrating youth activism. The panelists discussed ways to empower young people to bring about sustainable change in their communities through grassroots activism. They shared their journey of amplifying their voices and offered tips on how to implement change. A reception followed the panel discussion for participants to gather, discuss ideas, and network.
This evening's panel featured Research Analyst for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Haley Quinn (CAS '16), Executive Director of the Youth Activism Project, Anika Manzoor, and Founder of Pay Our Interns, Carlos Mark Vera. This event was organized and moderated by DC Dialogues Co-Content Manager, Valia Mitsakis.
Anika Manzoor is the Executive Director of the Youth Activism Project. She co-founded the Youth Activism Project’s very first campaign, School Girls Unite, at the age of 12. As a School Girls Unite leader, Anika was empowered by the substantive change she contributed to before she could even vote, such as successfully lobbying for a $200 million increase in foreign aid for education. For Anika, these experiences propelled a lifelong determination to invest in other youths unaware of their capacity as change-makers or prevented from exercising it. Prior to leading the Youth Activism Project, Anika worked to empower underserved teens through education and civic engagement in multiple international contexts, from community organizing in Nicaragua to serving as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia. She has a BA from Grinnell College and an MPP from Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a New World Social Enterprise Fellow and a member of the Venture Incubation Program at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Most recently, she was named a Laureate Global Fellow by the International Youth Foundation. A DC area native, Anika currently lives in Boston with her husband despite her displeasure of cold weather and rabid sports fans.
Haley Quinn graduated cum laude from NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences with a Politics degree in 2016 and now works for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters doing strategic research. Haley comes from a union family in Missouri and began work in the labor movement in 2014. While interning at the American Federation of Teachers, she led the organizing drive resulting in the first intern union in the country. Passionate about the student power, she began organizing with the Student Labor Action Movement at NYU in 2015. The group won their demand of a $15 an hour minimum wage for student workers in 2016, and the $15/hr standard was phased in for the 2018-2019 academic year. For her organizing work, Haley was named one of the 10 most influential NYU students in 2015. She now works on the research and strategy side on the labor movement, leaving enough time to enjoy life with her partner and their 10-year-old rescue dog.
Carlos Mark Vera is the founder of Pay Our Interns, a bipartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates for more paid internships & workforce development opportunities for millennials. In just one year, Pay Our Interns successfully persuaded a dozen Members of Congress, several nonprofits and political advocacy groups to offer paid internships including the National Organization of Women Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and many others. In two years, Pay Our Interns made history when its’ efforts motivated Congress to designate nearly $14 million to create over 4 thousand paid internships on Capitol Hill.
He is selected as an honoree for Forbes 30 under 30 Law & Policy 2019. Last year, The Atlantic profiled Carlos for their mentorship titled “On the Shoulders of Giants.” His efforts on the Hill also led NBC Latino to name him one of the Top 20 Changemakers for 2017. He is also an Aspen Scholar for the Aspen Ideas Festival and a Ricardo Salinas Scholar.
While in school he founded Justice for AU Workers, a student-led labor organization that advocates for service workers of color. His fight for justice led to the creation of a full-ride scholarship program for the children of Aramark workers, one of the first of its kind in the country.
Before starting POI, Carlos spent time working for Van Jones at Megaphone Strategies, at the White House, Latino Victory Project, The U.S. House of Representatives, and the European Parliament.
Vera has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, NPR, USA Today, Washington Examiner, Mic and NBC Latino.
DC Dialogues is a student-led initiative created to engage the NYU DC community in key discussions on politics, culture, business, environment, education – and more. Through active participation from the student body, DC Dialogues will convene prominent experts of various perspectives to discuss matters most captivating to students.