California Represents: 16,000 Strong for We Day

On March 27, 2014 16,000 young people packed Oracle Arena for the very first We Day California. Organized by Free The Children, this event brought together young people from over 400 schools across California with the unifying goal of student empowerment. Each student earned their ticket to the event by taking one local action and one global action to improve their world. The students listened to speeches by Martin Luther King III, Magic Johnson, Seth Rogen, Laila Ali, Selena Gomez, and more.

One of the most powerful speeches came from Clemantine Wamariya, a Rwandan who spent years traveling through the refugee camps of Southern Africa before immigrating to the U.S. and enrolling in Yale University. Her simple message struck a chord with the audience: be mindful of those around you, as small acts of kindness can change the course of a person's life.

Like Wamriya, Spencer West was a motivation for many in the audience. West, a young man who lost both of his legs, managed to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro using only his hands. He challenged the crowd to redefine what is possible, and not to let others tell you what you can and cannot accomplish.

A grant from the HAND Foundation made it possible for students from one Bay Area school to attend the event, and the students had the time of their lives!

We are all looking forward to next year's We Day, which will be held on February 25, 2015 at the SAP Center in San Jose. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Abby West.