Meet the Six Change-Makers at the NowThis Presidential Forum
President Joe Biden sat down with six young people focused on finding solutions to some of the most critical issues facing their generation.
Natalie Barden lost her brother Daniel at Sandy Hook Elementary 10 years ago, a loss that she still feels every day. Now a student in college, she often says it's hard for her to feel safe. An advocate for meaningful gun legislation, she's hopeful for a future where no family will have to experience a loss like hers.
Joshika Kumaran, a junior at George Washington University, comes from a low-income immigrant family background. Her parents were laid off from their jobs during the pandemic, and her brother is currently suffering from a malignant brain tumor. While she has to take out an increasing amount of loans, she plans to avail herself of the student loan relief program in the hopes that it will help ease her family’s financial burden.
Dylan Mulvaney began documenting her gender transition on TikTok on the day she came out to her friends and family. After more than 200 days posting positive experiences and things she's been through to her now 8 million followers, she's learned a lot about a community that faces extreme backlash in the current political climate.
Dr. Danielle Mathisen
Dr. Danielle Mathisen is a Hawaii-based first-year medical resident pursuing a career in obstetrics and gynecology. She began her career as a med student at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas, where there was virtually zero abortion training in her OB/GYN rotation. Danielle is regularly confronted with the realities of the limited scope of her Texas-based education and conflicted about how to best provide well-rounded health care to patients in her home state, where she believes harsh restrictions do a great disservice to medical professionals and the larger community.
Criminal Legal Reform
Jon-Adrian "JJ" Velazquez
The son of a police officer, JJ Velazquez grew up believing in the system. But when he was 22 years old, he says he was misidentified, arrested, and charged with the murder of a retired police officer. JJ was convicted based on tampered evidence, a bribed eyewitness, and poor detective work — but he maintained his innocence and refused to stop fighting for his freedom. Thanks to the work of lawyers at the Innocence Project, as well as media outlets bringing attention to his story, JJ was granted clemency in 2021 and now works to reform the system from the outside.
Mari Copeny, better known as “Little Miss Flint,” put an international spotlight on Flint, Michigan, when she was only 9 years old by making videos about the problems with drinking water in her community. Now at 15, Mari wants to make sure no child ever has to go through what she went through — and hopes to turn the nation's attention to ensuring there’s clean water in every community.
For more on the intimate conversations between Biden and young change-makers focused on finding solutions to some of the most critical issues facing their generation, head to the NowThis Presidential Forum homepage.