Cultural Leadership Selects Twelfth Class of Students to be Civil Rights Activists

Award Winning Program Trains Youth to Stand Up, Speak Out, and Take Action


ST. LOUIS, August 2016 — The award-winning Cultural Leadership program has announced the area high school students selected for their twelfth class. Cultural Leadership has received six community awards, most recently the 2015 Doing the Most Good Award from the Salvation Army. Cultural Leadership is a unique yearlong educational leadership program including classes, cultural activities, travel/study, public speaking, and conducting diversity workshops.  The goal is to teach teens about social injustice, racism and discrimination and inspire them to work toward change, promote mutual respect and dispel stereotypes.


The 2016 Cultural Leadership Class 12 is comprised of 24 students representing 14 high schools from throughout the St. Louis region both public and private, and is racially and culturally diverse with students from 13 different houses of worship, and the voices of 13 Black students, 8 Jewish students, and 3 allies. The program began in 2004 originally for African American and Jewish students and has since expanded to accept students of all ethnicities.


"In St. Louis, like so many other communities in our country, we have not overcome the separation that leads to so many social injustices" says Holly Ingraham, executive director of Cultural Leadership. "Cultural Leadership is about bringing together youth from different backgrounds and training them to break down the things in St. Louis that separate us."

Cultural Leadership was modeled after Operation Understanding DC,, a successful program in Washington, D.C. created 23 years ago. Both programs prepare students to become leaders in promoting interracial harmony and respect for diversity.


The students accepted into Cultural Leadership’s ninth year class are: Samuel Amacher, Parkway North, Bryce Berry, MICDS, Bryce Bolden, Chaminade, Camille Denton, Kirkwood, Mahogany Donaldson, Clayton, Tommy Epling, Kirkwood, Dani Gottlieb, Parkway Central, Josh Hagene, Clayton, Malone Hanis, Ladue, Amit Harir, Lafayette, Jordan Harris, Whitfield, David Jones, Vashon, Olivia Joseph, Clayton, Chenny Lee, Clayton, Elizabeth Mills, Clayton, Promise Mitchell, Central VPA, Amadi Morris, Homeschooled, Jeda Murphy, Maplewood Richmond Heights, Clara Grace O’ Connell, Metro, Leora Rauchman, Clayton, William Sherman, Bayless, Liam Simckes, Clayton, Eden Spiva, Central VPA, and Winston Waddell, Kirkwood.

Information about Cultural Leadership can be found online at The phone number is 314-725-3222. Cultural Leadership is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.