On October 22, 2020, Queens Defenders joined more than 8,000 organizations across the country to celebrate ‘Lights On Afterschool,’ an annual initiative by the Afterschool Alliance to highlight the importance of afterschool programs throughout the nation. According to the Afterschool Alliance, 11.3 million children are alone and unsupervised after school. Queens Defenders is committed to decreasing that number by keeping our “lights on afterschool.” 


For the event, our Young Adult Leaders hosted a virtual discussion with Chief of Staff, Manuel Silva, to talk about the importance of activism and community involvement. Structured as a Q&A session, the youth took turns asking Mr. Silva questions about his experiences with activism and politics. Mr. Silva gave advice on how to fight for change within the community, how to get involved in politics, and how to persevere in the face of adversity. 


In his closing remarks, Mr. Silva urged young people to not give up, and to advocate for change. He emphasized the importance of getting involved in community affairs and building people power in Far Rockaway. His message to the young leaders of tomorrow is – “reach out to organizations and politicians to get involved. If they don’t answer, reach out again. Don’t stop until someone responds.” 


Thank you to Manuel Silva for joining our event and speaking to the young leaders of tomorrow. Queens Defenders is grateful to our partners that create meaningful programs for our youth after school. We will always keep our #LightsOnAfterschool.