Young people of diverse backgrounds from across the country received special access to President Barack Obama’s Inauguration and the numerous accompanying events.
High school students selected to attend the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference began the five-day event attending addresses by Nobel laureates former Vice President Al Gore and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as an address by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. In addition to witnessing Obama’s swearing-in, students also met with congressional staffers, attended roundtable discussions with national journalists and heard debates by policy experts.
Students who took part in the conference are alumni of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council and the National Youth Leadership Forum, programs that are designed to identify and train youth leaders.
In addition, 16 teenagers from community groups in Holyoke, Mass., had seats at the Inauguration. The teens, from YouthBuild, Nuestras Raices and Career Point community groups, received tickets from the Stafford Foundation in Virginia at the request of Darnell Goldson, the executive director of Youth Build. The teens watched the Inauguration ceremony, viewed the parade from a heated balcony and met with a son of Martin Luther King Jr.