Emerging Young Leader Award

Sarah Clements


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.


Sarah Clements headshot Name: Sarah Clements
Age: 17
From: Newtown, Connecticut
Claim to fame: Gun violence most affects youth. We must be the change.

Why is Sarah an Emerging Young Leader?

About Sarah: Sarah Clements is a senior at Newtown High School. Her mother is a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School and a survivor of the shooting in December 2012. Sarah uses activism to transform her painful experience into positive action. She founded and leads the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, the student branch of the Newtown Action Alliance, a grassroots organization that formed after 12/14 looking to make legislative and cultural change. She looks forward to continuing her work in gun violence prevention by working with young people around the country, in urban and suburban areas, to help solve this problem which affects her generation so disproportionately.

Why Sarah is an Emerging Young Leader:  I went to Sandy Hook Elementary School when I was younger, and my mother survived the shooting that occurred there a little over a year ago. Soon after the tragedy, I made a promise to myself, to my town, and to kids younger than me who I’ve seen struggle, that I would fight for a safer America to help end this epidemic of gun violence we face.

I started the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, and for the last year, we have dedicated our efforts to making positive legislative and cultural change on the issue. Young people are the most disproportionately affected by gun violence in America. Yet at the same time, we as a generation are able to see clearly to the path of justice without being blinded by repetitive rhetoric and political gains. Young people are rarely told that their stories and their visions of a safer nation matter. But they do, perhaps more than anything else in this conversation.

So, I’m dedicated to showing other Millennials that they can redirect this movement’s action to fix our mental health system, gun policy, and inner-city violence. We will also continue to build bridges between urban and suburban communities to fight together for safer communities. Gun violence doesn’t discriminate. Even though we experience different types of gun violence, we all want to honor those we lost with positive change.

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