“We understood that we had power that had an ability to change the landscape, to change the world even...We reminded ourselves we were fighting the core of injustice, not the people who have perpetrated it.We were fighting the NRA, we were fighting corruption and the systems that put it in place, not the people who become victims to it, not the people who have subscribed to a system that they don’t know an alternative to.”
This year's keynote speaker was Delaney Tarr, a founding member of the March For Our Lives movement created by students and alumni from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after the tragic 2018 shooting that killed 17 people. The movement's mission statement says, "We cannot allow the normalization of gun violence to continue. We must create a safe and compassionate nation for our youth to grow up in."
"When we were thinking about a keynote speaker, having a student as a keynote seemed logical since this is a student-led conference. There are so many incredible speakers with established careers that could talk about this topic, but with this conference we have this opportunity to do something a little different and to hear from a woman, a student, and a survivor."
Madeleine Thompson, conference planning committee co-chair, on why the committee selected Tarr to offer this year's keynote address.
"The conference was an overwhelming success in my eyes. It effectively connected theoretical discussions of conflict, polarization, and peace with case-specific application through presentations, workshops, roundtables, and films. This year’s conference reminded each and every one of us that we have power: power to make a change, power to influence, and power to inspire."
Monica Montgomery, conference planning committee co-chair