YCD Changemakers Gala 2024: A Night to Ignite Youth Voices

September 14, 2024 @ 6:00PM — 10:00PM Mountain Time (US & Canada) Add to Calendar

Denver Art Museum Martin Building: 100 W 14th Ave. Pkwy. Denver, Colorado 80204 Get Directions

YCD Changemakers Gala 2024: A Night to Ignite Youth Voices image

Celebrate Youth Changemakers Working for Inclusion and Justice

Youth with marginalized identities are facing new and increasing attacks and challenges, and need your support in their efforts to advance inclusion and justice in our schools now more than ever before.

At this special gathering, we will hear first-hand of both the challenges faced by young people today, as well as the remarkable work done by YCD youth to make their communities safe and welcoming for all identities. Tickets purchased for this unique event include a reception, catered dinner, silent auction, and cultural performances at a beautiful venue. Sponsorship opportunities at a variety of levels are available for companies, organizations, and families to show their support of youth-led DEI efforts and initiatives.

Feel free to contact Caleb Munro, YCD Executive Director, with any questions at cmunro@ycdiversity.org or (720) 507-0746.


Student Changemakers of the Year

To be announced soon!

Community Changemaker of the Year

Carlotta Walls LaNier, at age 14, was the youngest of the nine courageous Black students known as the Little Rock Nine who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The integration of the Arkansas high school was a catalyzing event in the American Civil Rights Movement testing the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954).

LaNier and her fellow students initially were escorted to Central High School by the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army and later the Arkansas National Guard. Daily, they endured verbal taunts and physical harassment while at school. LaNier was one of three Little Rock Nine students to return to Central High School after the closing of all Little Rock high schools in 1958-1959 and became the first Black woman to walk across the Central High School stage to receive her diploma.

After graduating from Central High in 1960, she studied at Michigan State University for two years before moving to Colorado. She enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1968. She, along with the other members of the Little Rock Nine, is the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded by President Bill Clinton in 1999, the prestigious Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, and the Lincoln Leadership Prize awarded by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

LaNier is a recipient of four honorary doctorate degrees and is an inductee into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. LaNier has documented her journey with Lisa Frazier Paige in A Mighty Long Way…My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High. She was a founding Board member of Youth Celebrate Diversity, and has been an active supporter of YCD, as well as numerous other Colorado community organizations working for social justice, for decades. She is the President of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, a financial aid and mentoring organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to education for children of color.

Alumna Changemaker of the Year

Bianka Emerson is a campaign strategist with nearly 20 years of experience in electoral politics and the public/nonprofit sectors, including working as senior staff for presidential, gubernatorial, and mayoral campaigns. She was the campaign manager for an important state ballot initiative that addressed the housing and homeless crisis - “Prop. 123, Make CO Affordable.” Successfully becoming law, this provides millions of dollars per year to address the housing crisis and homelessness in the state of Colorado. Bianka was also appointed by Governor Jared Polis to the Environment Justice Advisory Board, where she works with a team in advising the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on best practices for engaging disproportionately impacted communities, responding to environmental justice policy matters referred by the Governor’s Office or CDPHE, and creating and overseeing an environmental justice grants program.

Bianka was recently selected to join the first inaugural cohort of the BPIA Colin Powell Leadership Institute organized by Black Professionals in International Affairs. As president of Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA), Bianka leads efforts to advocate for political and policy solutions that are critical for the Black community throughout Colorado. Bianka has a master's in social science and a law degree. She is the 2nd Vice President of Top Ladies of Distinction, Mountain West Area, and a member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).

Event Co-Chairs

Lorenzo Gonzales
Retired Educator

Andrea Mohamedbhai
Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC

Janet Sammons
YCD Board Chair

Dr. Reema Wahdan
CU Anschutz Medical Center

Alice Wirth
Retired Educator

Additional Host Committee Members

Benita Creacy, DC & Associates
Eve Gracie, Gracie University
Jonathan Gray, Arapahoe County Government
Dr. Sophia Meharena, Every Child Pediatrics
Jennifer Miller
Anya Norris, RBC Wealth Management
Amanda Schwartz, Judaism Your Way
Shalini Swaroop, Initiative for Energy Justice
UnSuk Zucker, Promise54

Sponsorship Opportunities and Benefits

Consider sponsoring this unique event to provide crucial support for YCD programs and youth working for inclusion and justice.

Download a PDF of the sponsorship opportunities and benefits package here.

A big thank you to our sponsors!

Empowerment Sponsor
Janet Sammons
General Table
Lorenzo Gonzales
Ticket Details
Sponsor Our Event

$7,560 raised by 4 people


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