Today the world’s largest youth empowerment event WE Day, returns to Illinois in celebration of young people committed to making a difference. Over 15,000 students and educators from across the state will join together at The Allstate Arena for a life-changing experience featuring renowned speakers, innovative thought leaders and celebrity performers including Rasheda Ali, Ally Brooke, Lonnie Chavis, Monique Coleman, GRAMMY award-winner Daya, Jordan Fisher, Chris Gardner, Former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, Anthony Gonzalez, Jack & Jack, Skai Jackson, Jason Mayden, Johnny Orlando, Jenna Ortega, Esera Tuaolo, Cleo Wade and more. Joined by international activists and WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger, this day of empowerment is made possible by partners.
A catalyst to support the movement of young people leading change, WE Day is a series of 19 stadium-sized events held across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Caribbean. This past year, more than 200,000 students from over 10,000 schools attended WE Day events, alongside thousands who watched online and millions more who viewed two national North American TV broadcasts.
“WE Day is proof of what happens when young people believe in their power to make a difference,” said Tom Wilson, Allstate Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “It’s about helping young people connect to a world larger than themselves and take action on issues. They can and they will change the world for the better.”
More than a one-day event, WE Day is connected to the free, yearlong educational program WE Schools. The program provides schools and community groups with curriculum, educational resources and action campaigns designed to enhance a school’s existing social initiatives or spark new ones. WE Schools encourage students to further their curricular learning and develop life skills for success beyond the classroom.
During the 2016/2017 school year, more than 650 schools and groups across Illinois improved their communities through WE Schools, volunteering more than 509,000 hours and raising over $1.2 million in support of 265 local and global causes such as hunger, homelessness, bullying, education and literacy. Furthermore, 83 percent of Illinois educators participating in WE Schools felt they were better equipped to teach about social justice issues through service-based learning opportunities for their students. In addition, 82 percent of educators said their students felt a greater connection to their local community and 75 percent of educators said the program engaged previously disengaged youth.
“Today we celebrate remarkable students who are part of the WE generation—young leaders from across Illinois who have committed to creating change at home and around the world,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE. “With the support of their incredible educators, these students joined together to help local and global organizations, affecting countless lives just this year alone. WE Day Illinois celebrates their world-changing achievements and inspires another year of working together towards positive impact.”
Speakers and performers at WE Day Illinois will energize the crowd through a day full of powerful educational speeches, inspirational moments and empowering performances. A few must-see highlights include:
- Singer, songwriter and member of Fifth Harmony, Ally Brooke, will open the show with a performance of her of her breakout hit, and GRAMMY Award winning multi-platinum singer, songwriter and recording artist, Daya, closes the show
- Author, entrepreneur and international speaker, Chris Gardner, will deliver a keynote speech sharing the importance of leading with purpose and breaking through barriers.
“I want all the young people at WE Day Illinois to know that even if they feel uncertain about their next day, month or year, when faced with what seems to be an impossible hurdle, the key is not to quit,” said Chris Gardner. “When you lead with passion there is no limit to what you can achieve—every single young person that has earned their way to WE Day is a shining example of this.”
WE Day Illinois speakers, presenters, and performers, in alphabetical order, include:
Speakers and Presenters: Rasheda Ali, Rachel Belkov, Ian Brock, Ally Brooke, Celebrity Marauders, Lonnie Chavis, Miriam Ngai Lun Cing, Monique Coleman, Daya, Jordan Fisher, Chris Gardner, Former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, Anthony Gonzalez, Jack & Jack, Skai Jackson, Khadjiah Johnson, Kenyan Boys Choir, Marc and Craig Kielburger, Jason Mayden, Mya Middleton, Garrett Miller, Johnny Orlando, Jenna Ortega, Ava Santos-Volpe, Becky Savage, Founder 525 Foundation, Myreanna Smith, Robert Smith, Michael Strautmanis, Margaret Trudeau, Esera Tuaolo, Cleo Wade, Spencer West and Tom Wilson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Allstate.
WE Day provides youth with a platform to learn about some of today’s most pressing issues while celebrating this generation’s shift toward acting with intention, leading with compassion and believing in the power of community. With more than half of the attendees coming from Chicago Public Schools, WE Day will celebrate the local organizations youth serve and elevate causes that young people across the region care about.
WE Day is free of charge to students and educators across the U.S. thanks to the generous support of partners led by National Co-Title Sponsor The Allstate Foundation. Through its Good Starts Young® initiative, The Allstate Foundation empowers youth with the strength, confidence and skills to step up as leaders and achieve success in their lives.
WE Day is supported in Illinois by Co-Chairs Tom Wilson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Allstate; Alex Gourlay, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Walgreens; Arne Duncan, Managing Partner, Emerson Collective and Former U.S. Secretary of Education; and Linda Imonti, National Partner in Charge, Advisory Office Leaders and Chicago Advisory Office Leader, KPMG LLP. In the U.S., WE Day is supported by Tom Wilson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Allstate; Jane Francisco, Editorial Director of Hearst Lifestyle Group and Editor-in-Chief of Good Housekeeping; Brett Tollman, CEO, The Travel Corporation; and Steve Robinson, CEO and Founder, Zilliance and Janet Crown, CEO, Burn 60 Studios.