Youth Changemaker: Jamira Burley

Votes: no votes so far

Why I think it is important for Kansas government officials to operate in the light of day, rather than in secret, behind closed doors: 

"Jamira does not settle in her activism -- she aims high with a clear vision and pushes forward to create meaningful discussion on complex societal issues."


- The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council

Jamira Burley, 24, is currently the youngest agency executive director for the City of Philadelphia, where she oversees the Philadelphia Youth Commission. The Commission comprises young people between the ages of 12-23 years old who advise the mayor, city council and other key decision-makers about the issues and concerns of the more than 600, 000 young people in Philadelphia.

Jamira also is a member of the United Nations Youth Advocacy Group, which has 16 young people from all over the world, from 16 different countries, who are fighting for education for every young person by 2015. She works directly with Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown to bring attention to the millions of young people who can't or wont speak for themselves.

As she shared in a blog post, Jamira became a gun control advocate after her brother was killed with an illegal handgun in 2005. She has campaigned, met with Members of Congress and pushed for changes to federal and state policies to make it harder for people with criminal records to obtain weapons.

Jamira also serves as a Board member of Student Voice, a youth-led organization working to activating the student voice through building community and opportunity and social media.

Says nominator Jessica Wright, "I am an old classmate of Jamira's and I have worked with her on a number of projects over the years. Today when she forward the email requesting that we recommend anyone that we know, I knew I had to nominate her because she wouldn't expect it, even if she deserves it. From watching her career exploded over the last two years, I think she represents what this recognition is all about." 

"Last but not least, I nominate Jamira because of her passion to stop youth violence, her advocacy for gun control, her ability to demand authentic civic engagement and willingness to use her experiences to change her reality and the world around her," says Wright.

Jamira's passion for the youth voice is strong. "The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council will allow for young people in a meaningful way to always be at the table when decision about us are being made. Youth voices are needed in every stage of government, if we are going to create a world that is not only productive but also inclusive. 

"Humbled and honored are two words I will use. In doing this work you don't look for recognition, you look for change,  this shows me that people are not only watching but believe in the change that I'm trying to make," she says.

For more information on Jamira's work, and for videos, visit her blog.

This profile is one of the Top 24 Under 24 Youth Changemakers, a series hosted by SparkAction and the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council to recognize young changemakers influencing policy and practice at the local, state and national levels.

The members of the youth-led Campaign chose the 24 youth who are featured in this series, from entries submitted by peers and mentors. Read about the selection process.

We’re always looking for more profiles of young people making a difference, so submit one of your own!