The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida (the Holocaust Center) has announced the establishment of the Take Action Institute, a passion project dedicated to preparing the next generation of leaders and change agents who are committed to ending all forms of prejudice and bigotry. The institute will officially launch with the Take Action Conference in January, featuring 200 high school students and 200 college students who have self-selected as anti-prejudice and social justice activists.
This program marks an important step in the Holocaust Center’s evolution, as the organization moves to its next stage as The Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity, a 40,000 square-foot, world-class museum that will serve not only as a destination in Central Florida, but as a place of learning open to the region’s more than 75 million yearly visitors from around the globe. This new facility will eventually house the Take Action Institute and serve as the central location for its workshops, events and gatherings.
The Take Action Institute is a membership-based organization that was designed by students in the Central Florida community who recognized a gap in student activism and changemaking. The student leadership planning team has drawn from the barriers they have faced in their own community work to envision and plan a conference that will serve as a resource center so that all high school and college students can acquire the needed skills and tools to enable them to take effective action through social justice projects in their community. Throughout the year, students will be exposed to workshops, mentors, and networking opportunities with experts from Central Florida and around the world.
“We have engaged a diverse group of students to be involved in the planning of this initiative. They are bright, passionate, and motivated to engage the community to create positive change. It is invigorating to watch their passion and energy to bring this conference to our community. The Take Action Institute is a big step toward our larger vision helping us achieve significant growth. I’m very proud of everyone involved,” said Marc McMurrin, Holocaust Center Board Member and Take Action Institute Steering Committee Co-Chair.
It is the Holocaust Center’s goal that students in Florida and eventually across the country will look to the Take Action Institute as the go-to hub for resources, knowledge and relationships to support their own social justice and anti-bigotry missions. Over the long term, students and alumni of the program will further collaborate with the Holocaust Center to shape the content and tools the Take Action Institute offers, ensuring they remain relevant with current social movements and events.
The Institute will officially launch with the Take Action Conference, held on January 22nd and 23rd at the Hilton, Orlando. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, the conference will provide 400 students with access to keynote speakers and facilitated sessions led by experts in community organizing, political activism, media training and other relevant fields. Additional supporters include Stetson University, Bank of America, Massey Services, Rollins College and several others.
At the Take Action Conference, participants will meet fellow students bonded by the common purpose of making change in their community. Over a two-day period, they will be inspired by keynote speakers and facilitators who have started consequential movements, peaceful activations, and are experts in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Furthermore, Universal Orlando Resort will host students on the second day of the conference for a session focused on the creative storytelling process and the role it plays in effective messaging.
Students will return from the conference with field-tested tools they can use to take action effectively and consciously in their communities.
“I am deeply passionate about this work and the power of collective activism. Student input, enthusiasm, and vision for justice is needed at the conference. So, I ask with excitement and gratitude, for students to join me in January for a weekend that will work to fill the gaps in our activism tool kit, connect us with powerful students from around the state and provide spaces for growth” said Emily Curran, Senior, Rollins College and Student Leadership Committee Chair.
Keynote speakers at the Take Action Conference include:
- Natalie Warne, who organized more than 150,000 students to help pass legislation through Congress at age 17;
- Eva Schloss, an inspiring Holocaust Survivor and step-sister to Anne Frank, who provides a unique perspective on resistance and resilience;
- Prashan De Visser, an activist who founded Sri Lanka Unites to inspire a new generation of peace builders around the world as a teen and today has organizations in twelve countries;
- Joe Davis, a nationally touring artist, and educator who uses poetry, music, theater, and dance to shape culture.
Students who desire to register for the conference can click HERE.