Closing Plenary Session
Change Makers: Young Leaders in Health Justice and Equity

Thursday, September 23  |  11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. ET

Across the country, young people have mobilized on a range of issues affecting the health and welfare of their communities, including racial equity and justice, gun violence, environmental justice, education, and civic participation. Some of the most ardent advocates for change are under 30 years old, and their work is grounded in their lived experiences with the critical challenges facing their communities. In this session, some of these young leaders will speak to issues they deem most urgent among their peers and discuss what they envision for equity and justice — and inspire us with their commitment to improving conditions to support healthy, thriving communities for all.


Kathleen Hoke
As director of the Network’s Eastern Region Office, Kathleen Hoke, J.D., draws on her many years of experience as director of the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, a position she continues to hold. Since 2002, Kathleen has directed the Center, working with state and local health officials and legislators on developing and implementing tobacco control, problem gambling, and injury prevention policy. With the Network, Kathleen covers myriad issues, including injury prevention, environmental law, healthy affordable housing, regulation of cannabis, food security, and immigration and public health. Kathleen is widely published in peer-review and legal journals; her articles cover issues ranging from nursing scope of practice laws to novel approaches to securing access to HepC treatments.


Ramon Contreras
Ramon is a 22-year-old political organizer from Harlem. He started organizing his sophomore year of high school in the South Bronx in response to the rise in police brutality. In his senior year, Ramon Founded Youth Over Guns, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to gun violence in black and brown communities. In 2018, Ramon joined March For Our Lives as the National Field Director. Ramon is currently a fellow with the New York State Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, and a board member of Next Generation Politics. An aspiring civil rights attorney, Ramon is attending St. Francis College in New York.

Shandiin Herrera
Shandiin, a member of the Navajo Nation, is dedicated to advocating for policies that directly impact Indigenous communities. Currently a Lead for America Hometown Fellow, Shandiin served her first year as a Policy Analyst and Project Consultant for her home community of Monument Valley, Utah, working to enhance policies for Navajo families living on the reservation. This includes broadband access, housing, water, electricity and addressing the issues rural families are facing. In her second year she helped lead COVID-19 relief efforts in her community with an organization serving over 500,000 households by delivering food, potable water, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar, a Udall Scholar, a Chief Manuelito Scholar, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

Jasmine Mattear
Jasmine is a recent graduate from Stetson University College of Law where she obtained a Certificate of Concentration in Social Justice Advocacy. She served as a Legal Fellow with Community Law Program where she worked on Felon Voter Rights Restoration, Driver’s License Suspensions, and  Sealing & Expunction of Criminal Records. She served as a Legal Fellow for the Florida Law School Consortium for Racial Justice working on various projects, like a legislation grading scale. Jasmine also served as a Legislative Aide for the Florida State House of Representatives and is passionate about voting rights, government and policy. While at Stetson, Jasmine was the President of the Black Law Students Association (Organization of the Year ‘21), she was the Stetson Law 2021 Student Leader of The Year and Jasmine was honored to receive the 2021 Dean’s Excellence Award. She is interested in pursuing a career in criminal law.