Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) Spring Convening 2024


The Countdown Begins

With spring in full bloom, we are counting down the days until we convene at the Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) Spring Convening in Boston, Massachusetts, from May 20th-22nd, 2024. Later this month, in partnership with the Boston Opportunity Youth Agenda, the Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) will welcome and convene its network of national, state, and local community partners, youth leaders, organizers, philanthropic partners, technical assistance partners, and artists, at the annual OYF Cross-Site Spring Convening.

Aligning on our collective vision, we look forward to deepening our commitment and shared mission for expanding justice, advancing racial equity, narrative change, healing, belonging, meaning, wellbeing, purpose (BMWP) and protecting our democracy and ensuring it works for all – in ways that positively transform the lives of youth and young adults, especially in communities of color. Together, we hope to continue to build momentum for local and national efforts on behalf of, and in partnership with opportunity youth, including deepening our alignment with local and national youth-led movements to set a sustainable, long-term, and intergenerational agenda for opportunity youth.

Meet our 2024 speakers

This year’s inspirational speakers’ line-up includes:

Marshall Ganz | Organizer, Lecturer, and Author
Harvard Kennedy School
Marshall Ganz is the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Introduced to organizing in the American civil rights movement, he worked on the staff of the United Farm Workers, became trainer and organizer for political campaigns, unions and nonprofit groups, and returned to Harvard where he earned his PhD. He is credited with devising the successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential campaign.
Damon T. Hewitt | President and Executive Director
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Damon T. Hewitt is the President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Hewitt has more than 20 years of civil rights litigation and policy experience,
including leadership roles in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors. Prior to joining Lawyers’ Committee, Hewitt was the inaugural executive director of the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.


Professor Manuel Pastor | Director 
University of Southern California
Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC.


Pam Eddinger | President
Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC)
Pam Eddinger is president of Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), the largest of 15 community colleges in Massachusetts.  Dr. Eddinger’s service in the Community College movement spans more than 25 years, with senior posts in academics and student affairs, communications and policy, and executive leadership. 


Shawn Ginwright, PhD | 
Author, Professor and Activist
Dr. Shawn Ginwright is the Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Education. His groundbreaking work on trauma, healing, and the empowerment of African American youth has earned him a reputation as an innovator, provocateur, and thought leader in the field of education. Dr. Ginwright’s vision is rooted in his extensive experience working directly with young people in urban communities. From grassroots initiatives to serving as the chairman of the board of a $5 billion foundation, he has consistently demonstrated his passion for empowering marginalized youth.
Dr. Anthony Burrow | Associate Dean, Director and Professor 
Cornell University
Dr. Anthony Burrow is the Ferris Family Associate Professor of Life Course Studies in the Dept. of Psychology, Director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, and the Director of the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement. He is also Associate Dean of Outreach and Extension at Cornell Human Ecology and serves as the Provost’s Fellow for Public Engagement.


Dr. Amanda R. Tachine | Associate Professor and Author 
Arizona State University
Dr. Amanda R. Tachine is Navajo from Ganado, Arizona. She is Náneesht’ézhí Táchii’nii (Zuni Red Running into Water) born for Tł’ízí łání (Many Goats). She is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership & Innovation at Arizona State University. Amanda’s research explores the relationship between systemic and structural histories of settler colonialism and the ongoing erasure of Indigenous presence and belonging in college settings using qualitative Indigenous methodologies.


Arnold Chandler | Advocate, Researcher and Social Strategist 
Forward Change
Arnold L. Chandler is an advocate, researcher, and social change strategist who for more than 21 years has helped nonprofits and foundations develop evidence-informed strategies to advance programs and policies focused on social and economic equity. He is the President and co-founder of Forward Change based in Oakland, California.


Chrissie Castro | Chairperson
Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission
Chrissie Castro, Diné and Chicana, is the Chairperson of the Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission, and co-led the change to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in the City and County of Los Angeles. She is the Network Weaver of the Native Voice Network, and recently co launched two organizations to build power within Native communities – in her local state, the California Native Vote Project and nationally, Advance Native Political Leadership.
Hikma Sherka | Program Director
Youth Engagement at Every Hour Counts
Hikma Sherka (she/her) is a Seattle-based community organizer and advocate motivated by the intersection of equity and youth voice as unstoppable catalysts for liberation. A living testament to the impact of life-changing youth development programs, Hikma’s journey is deeply rooted in values of youth centered intergenerational partnerships. Hikma is driven by the belief that every young person deserves to be surrounded and nurtured by communities that not only recognize but actively celebrate their leadership and joy.

Unable to join us in-person this year? We extend a virtual invitation to join us on our Youtube Channel to view all our featured plenaries online later this summer and follow us on our social media channels @AspenFCS for LIVE updates during the convening.

About Us

Aspen Forum for Community Solutions 

The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions plays an integral role throughout the opportunity youth movement, with a primary focus on supporting the Opportunity Youth Forum. The Opportunity Youth Forum was launched in 2012 to leverage the new visibility and momentum of the opportunity youth movement coming out of the White House Council on Community Solutions, which called for innovative, place-based, collaborative solutions to reconnect the 6 million opportunity youth in the United States at that time.

The Opportunity Youth Forum 

The Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) is a network comprised of over forty local collaborations in urban, rural, and tribal communities across the United States that seeks to build and scale reconnection pathways that achieve better outcomes in education, employment and overall well-being for opportunity youth. Opportunity youth are young adults, 16-24 years of age, who are engaged in neither work nor education.  

Read more about our work on opportunity youth here.

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