soledad-obrien-cc-fc.jpgPEMBROKE PINES — Former CNN anchor and award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien is scheduled as the keynote speaker for the #IamCHANGE Youth Townhall on Friday, May 17th from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Broward College Judson A. Samuels Campus, 7200 Pines Blvd. in Pembroke Pines.

The event, A Candid Conversation on Education and Youth Violence in South Florida, is free and open to the public and being presented by L.E.A.D. Nation (Leaders By Empowerment, Activists By Development), in partnership with Broward College and WEDR 99 Jamz. For information call 786-417-1298 or email

The town hall-style precursor to the annual South Florida Youth Summit coming this fall is designed as a think tank style platform to help youths organize and discuss issues that plague their communities, to help to set the stage for a progressive agenda, and inspire students to create real solutions to real issues.

Radio personalities Miss Kimmy and Shelby Rushin from 99 Jamz will emcee the evening.

Among concerns likely to be raised by students is the recent departure from CNN of O’Brien, who is black and Latina, and that of her fellow African-American journalist and pundit Roland Martin, which has garnered the network criticism including from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

L.E.A.D Nation events are held in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties for students in grades 6-12. The second annual South Florida Youth Summit is scheduled to take place Oct. 16-19.

Organizers say the primary objective of the series is to empower Generation Y to create solutions that directly address South Florida’s epidemic of youth violence, education challenges, and increased childhood obesity.

The stated mission of L.E.A.D Nation is to provide experiential learning opportunities to middle and high school students centered on themes of leadership and community activism that empowers them to challenge current standards while charting new paths to greatness.