A first-year student at Hamilton, Amari Leigh brings vitality to all of her pursuits. Her work as Student Assistant in the Levitt Public Affairs Center speaks to her commitment to social justice and public service. She organizes programs related to transformational leadership and engaged citizenship, participates on the social innovation team, and in leadership training programs.
In high school, she combined her passions for activism and acting - specifically addressing sexual assault and violence education. In performances about sexual violence, across the US, she gave voice to the voiceless. Amari presented the TEDx talk: Lend Me Your Ears: Embracing the Power of Theatre for Social Change. As student ambassador at the Model UN national conference, she was the spokesperson for the film SOLD and the campaign #TaughtNotTrafficked.
During a gap year in Brazil, she taught English and was introduced to the health and safety benefits of community gardens. At Hamilton, Amari applied her skills and commitments by tutoring English to refugees. She has initiated the revival of the once thriving Hamilton community garden. Committed to human rights in the developing world, it's Amari's long-term dream to create community gardens as safe havens for young girls and women.
Growing up in a diverse environment, I was often challenged to analyze societal problems in both a local and global context. As a seven-year member of an all-girls acting ensemble, I combined my passions of theatre and activism and toured the country speaking to teens, educators, and legislators about how rape culture and the hypersexualization of girls impacts individuals and communities. This process of collaboration also played an integral role during my gap year in Brazil where I launched an initiative, galvanizing the support of children and adults to create a community mural. During this journey, I witnessed multiple social disparities firsthand and learned how some social engagement projects fail because they ignore the voices of those in the affected community. Since arriving at Hamilton, through my work with the Levitt Center, I addressed environmental justice issues by spearheading the initiative to re-establish Hamilton's community garden and empowering my peers to improve our community's relationship with our environment. Through these experiences, I learned the importance of setting realistic goals, adapting to changing circumstances, and the necessity of collaboration-the foundation of my leadership style. I believe that I am equipped with a unique perspective to creatively examine varying social issues.