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Salute to Youth Leadership

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
~Anne Frank


The Tavis Smiley Foundation’s annual Salute to Youth Leadership Benefit honors the achievements of young leaders and youth advocates while raising funds to operate programs. The 2010 program was held in August. This year’s event will be held Oct. 28 in Los Angeles. Registration and ticket information will be available in April.

Meet the 2010 Salute to Youth Honorees


Taylor Harvey leads her community by creating change through humanities and the arts. After noticing a lack of opportunities for creative expression at Marlborough High School in Los Angeles, CA, she created the first-ever spoken word poetry jam assembly. She continued the tradition for three years, and she successfully made the eclectic art form acceptable at Marlborough. After an overwhelming response from the assembly, she founded and managed the school’s first poetry club. She is currently a freshman at Columbia University.




Ezekiel Anthony Phillips is a native of Los Angeles, CA. This student, leader, entrepreneur, and film producer is the son of Cornell and Marcella Phillips, who from a young age knew that his creativity would be the catalyst to deliver his gifts to the world. In 2005 Ezekiel escaped the streets and the juvenile court system to embark on his new life with a new vision.  He realized that his potential and purpose needed to be channeled constructively, contrary to the gang violence that he was exposed to as a young man.  He is a senior at Morehouse College.

Breana Jackson is a native of Los Angeles and a freshman at Manhattanville College in New York. She is a 2010 graduate of is a graduate of Crossroads High School in Santa Monica, CA and has received numerous scholarships from Manhattanville; including the President’s Scholarship, which is one of the school’s highest honors. As president of Crossroad’s Diversity Club and the Human Rights Club, she spearheaded a fundraiser for Haiti.

DaMar Smith is manager of diversity development for News Corporation one of the largest multi-media companies in the world.  After spending two years working in Diversity at Fox Entertainment Group in Los Angeles, CA, DaMar created a Fox sponsored mentoring program called Journey to Excellence. This initiative was born out of the need to address the staggering dropout rates, educational and social needs of at-risk, inner city high school students by creating a learning environment outside of the classroom that focuses primarily on academic programs, career awareness, college and SAT preparation, personal development and life skills training.