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Prominent PC(USA) leaders among special guests coming to Young Adult Advocacy Conference in Louisville

Organizer: Young people ‘want to inherit a better world than we currently are leaving them’

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett speaks during the Presbyterian Week of Action’s 2020 Justice Rally and March in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Rich Copley/Presbyterian Mission Agency)

LOUISVILLE — Special guests have been announced for an advocacy and activism conference kicking off Oct. 20 at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky, to empower young adults to make their voices heard on important issues.

The Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis, Co-Moderator of the 225th General Assembly (2022) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will be among the featured guests at the Young Adult Advocacy Conference.

The registration deadline has been extended to Oct. 6 for the inaugural “Jesus & Justice” event, which is being organized by the advocacy offices of the PC(USA): the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness (OPW) in Washington, D.C., and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations (PMUN) in New York.

“Young people care deeply for others and want to inherit a better world than we are currently leaving them,” said the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, who leads the advocacy offices and is directing the conference. “This Young Adult Advocacy Conference, YAAC, offers them an opportunity to gather with other like-minded individuals to be energized, engaged and equipped with the tools needed to change the world, one person at a time.”

The free event, which ends on Sunday, Oct. 22, will not only introduce some young adults to the topic of advocacy but enable them to see how it can take shape in their own lives, how it can fit into their life of faith as well as ways they can get involved in advocacy in their communities and the world around them, said Ivy Lopedito, a PMUN Mission Specialist.

“We know that young people are passionate about advocacy and our heart is to empower them to take an active role in fighting for justice, for hope and for peace within their communities and around the world,” Lopedito said.

The event, which will include a panel of local activists as well as workshops, discussion and worship, is primarily for college students and seminarians near Louisville and Southern Indiana. But young people who aren’t enrolled in college also are welcome, as are people of any faith. (Register here)

Ivy Lopedito of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations (Photo by Rich Copley, Presbyterian Mission Agency)

“There is no better time than now!” Lopedito said. “If this is your first time learning about advocacy or if you have been working on issues for many years, we are confident that there is a place for everyone at this conference, and we hope to see you there.”

Moffett will take part in worship on Friday, Oct. 20, and Starling-Louis participates in worship on Saturday, Oct. 21. The advocacy conference also will feature other PMA leaders, such as the Rev. Denise Anderson, Director of Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries; the Rev. Samuel Son, Manager of Diversity and Reconciliation; the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, Coordinator of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People; and Jennifer Evans, Mission Specialist for the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

The Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis, Co-Moderator of the 225th General Assembly, at orientation for the Presbyterian delegation to the 67th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women at Church of the Covenant in New York. (Photo by Rich Copley/Presbyterian Mission Agency)

Workshops will include advocacy topics, such as violence prevention, social media and education, as well as expressive activities such as painting, poetry and drumming.

The conference, taking place near Waterfront Park and the KFC Yum Center, serves as an acknowledgment that young people are crucial to shaping the country and amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals and groups.

“People should consider attending this event because the cause of justice is of vital importance to 21st century young Americans,” Hawkins said. This conference “offers an opportunity to connect with them at an important moment in their faith journey as we talk about the connection between faith and advocacy. It is a vitally critical time for young adults to get engaged in advocacy as the United States enters into a presidential election year that will have tremendous impact upon their present and future lives.”

Young PMA staffers, such as Lopedito and OPW Domestic Representative Christina Cosby, who’ll be providing expertise at the conference, serve as advocates on a variety of justice issues, from climate change and militarism to the Farm Bill and the rights of women and girls, as part of their everyday work.

“Advocacy gives us the opportunity for our voices to be heard and to fight for issues that are important to us in a world that greatly needs it,” Lopedito said. “Throughout history, young people have been at the head of social movements, ultimately creating social change.”

For more information about how you, or someone you know, can become part of the Young Adult Advocacy Conference, go here.

The Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations are part of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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