Emerging Young Leader Award

Jamira Burley


From November 2013 through January 15th, 2014, we asked: Are you a young woman who dreams of leading in politics? Or do you know one? After receiving almost 300 nominations of young women with demonstrated leadership ability and a passion to change the world, we’ve carefully chosen the 10 most outstanding nominees to be our semifinalists. Now it’s their turn. These 10 young women have a chance to get everyone voting so that they can become one of the 5 finalists. Our 5 finalists will be great role models for their peers, tireless advocates for the causes they care about, and leaders in all areas of their lives. Running Start will feature the finalists at our 8th Annual Women to Watch Awards in Washington, DC on April 2, 2014. The Finalists will share the stage with four high-powered women leaders who Running Start will also honor. The winner will be announced at the Awards ceremony.


Jamira Burley headshot Name: Jamira Burley
Age: 25
From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Claim to fame: Speaking at the UN this past summer on Global Education.

Why is Jamira an Emerging Young Leader?

About Jamira: Drive, perseverance, and passion, are just a few characteristics that this Philadelphia native is built with.  A graduate of Temple University, with dual degrees in International Business and Legal Studies, Jamira currently works as the Executive Director for the City of Philadelphia Youth Commission.

Jamira is an advocate for authentic youth civic engagement, global citizenship, education reform, black male achievement and violence prevention. She is also a member of the United Nations Global Education First Initiative, Youth Advocacy Group, and is the creative producer/co-host for GenYNot, a web based show, in partnership with the League of Young Voters.

Why Jamira is an Emerging Young Leader:  We live in a world that constantly tells young people that “we” are the future, and in doing so, we forget about the contribution that youth can make right now, but young people can’t make that immediate or eventual difference if there are endless barriers to their success. Since the murder of my brother Andre (20 year old) in 2005, I have worked to prevent other young people from experiencing the same adversities that I did. Whether that means training the next generation of city leaders, though my job at the Philadelphia Youth Commission, or meeting with members of Congress regarding comprehensive gun reform.

My whole life, I was surrounded by people who couldn’t see beyond their own zip code, people who didn’t know how to be more because no one in their family ever was. So when asked what makes me an Emerging Young Leader, I say my ability and passion to go against the grain and against low expectations people had of me. So though I may be from the west side of Philadelphia, with a dream to live for something bigger than myself, by example, I AM A LEADER. I stand for every young person who thought they were confined by their circumstances or defined by their zip code.

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