Speakers inspire students to lead
The Future Leader Conference, held at Bakersfield College on April 28, featured speakers such as activist Dolores Huerta, Mayor Harvey Hall and Shannon Grove staff member Javier Reyes.
The campus chapter of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) put on the conference, with the help of the local Chamber of Commerce. A member of SIFE, and organizer of the conference, Will Chandler, had clear goals in mind for the conference.
“The purpose of this conference was to expose the youth in the community to the opportunities that are available for them to get involved,” he said. “It was really focused on leadership skill sets, providing the students with different points of view from different political aspects of leadership and just to motivate them to get involved.”
Huerta, a lifelong activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, spoke at the conference. She wants her speeches to encourage students to be more civil minded.
“I think, in this county, we have a lot of potential that we haven’t met yet,” she said. “When I speak at other campuses, people have [more] enthusiasm than they do here. The only thing I want to encourage is civic engagement. The main thing is to get engaged.”
Enrique Martinez, a student at BC and the vice president of Movimiento Estudiantil de Aztlan (MECHA), was inspired by Huerta and other speakers.
“She is a really inspiring woman,” he said. “I like what she does; she opened my eyes to trying to do other things in the community as well. The thing that inspires me is that nobody can teach you that. You have to go out there and learn it yourself.”
Chandler also got something out of the speeches he heard.
“I especially enjoyed Morgan Clayton and Javier Reyes,” he said. “I think they painted an excellent picture of what Bakersfield is, and what it can become, and they also gave words of encouragement to people who are young and may not know what direction they might want to go in.
“I thought it was insightful; I thought it was meaningful and was needed,” he said.
Chandler also appreciated the input of the rest of the speakers, such as Hall and Jack Hernandez.