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Generation Change with Leo Finelli

Generation Change with Leo Finelli

By Leo Finelli
Hi! I'm Leo. Across our world, young people are standing up for social justice and demanding change from those in power. On this podcast, I talk to inspiring Gen Zers about their work for change, and hope to inspire my listeners to make a change as well.


Leo Finelli is a Gen Z writer, songwriter, and social justice advocate. Leo is on the autism spectrum, and writes stories about topics such as racism, gun violence, and other social justice issues.
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Xander Martin
On this episode, Leo talks with Xander Martin, a teenage non-binary, theater obsessed queer rights activist. Xander's family started the Bowie Area Non-Binary & Transgender Gender Youth Alliance.
July 01, 2022
Isaac Hertenstein
On this month's episode, Leo talks with Isaac Hertenstein, the founder of Students Teaching Finance, a youth-led organization with the mission of increasing youth financial literacy and combating economic inequality. Isaac is a passionate advocate for financial literacy education nationwide and empowers other high school students to teach financial literacy in their communities, sparking changes against inequity. You can learn more about Students Teaching Finance and form a chapter on its website,, and by following on Instagram, @studentsteachingfinance
June 02, 2022
Sophia Huynh
On this episode, Leo talks with Sophia Huynh, currently a freshman from Columbia University. She loves to involve herself with Social Justice, educating, creating open spaces for discussion, fundraising, and planning events based upon race, class, gender, food insecurity, and many other topics. She is the Founder of Asian American Alliance and Co-leader of International club at the Paideia School, Sophia also served as a founding member of the DEI Committee and SDLI group (Student Diversity Leadership Initiative) which deals with the annual events of Race and Gender Day. In addition, Sophia worked on a podcast called JSAC STEMCast which is a non-profit organization aimed at helping youth become more interested in how STEM topics can be applied to our everyday lives.  On a different note, Sophia also enjoys listening to music (specifically Kpop), eating hotpot, and meeting people of different backgrounds. Instagram: @thesophiahuynh The JSAC Podcast Instagram: @jsacpodcast Slam Poem
May 01, 2022
Brianna Chandler
On this episode Leo talks with Brianna Chandler. Brianna is a college student who organizes in St. Louis, Missouri. Her areas of focus include abolition, climate justice, and more holistically Black liberation. She is a member of the River City Climate Collective and WashU Students for Black and Palestinian Liberation. IG: @_bri_chandler_ Twitter: @_bri_chandler_ Brianna Photo courtesy of Whitney Curtis for the New York Times
April 02, 2022
Molly Smith
On this episode Leo talks with Molly Smith, a 20 year old filmmaker from Orlando, FL. Her short film I Don't Know has screened at over 20 film festivals nationwide, winning 7 top awards. Her next film, Dear America has received over 600k views online, won a National Student Emmy in the PSA category and the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Film contest. Also an accomplished playwright, her dystopian political commentary play, God Bless America went on to win a Scholastic National Gold Medal and premiered on stage at the Be Original Theatre Festival in Orlando, FL, winning Molly the award for top playwright under age 24. Her writing was also recognized with a National Student Production Emmy in the writing craft category and a finalist nomination at NFFTY’s Story Starts Here competition. In 2020, she completed her documentary film Feminism: The Fifth Wave that went on to win the Jury Award at Her International Film Festival and will be screening at The American Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival in 2021. Molly’s goal is to use the medium of film and her passion as a writer to tell stories which spark conversations and change perspectives. In 2020, she was named a Cameron Impact Scholar for her work in social justice and impact filmmaking. She attends Yale University, studying film and writing. YT ▶:  mollywoodfilms Instagram: @mollywood.films Website🌐:
March 02, 2022
Mina Fedor and Maxwell Wong
Mina Fedor is the founder of AAPI Youth Rising. Mina is an 8th grader from Northern California. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, learning about all things neuro and spending time with her friends, family and many pets. Mina was recently named as a Top Five Time Kid of the Year for 2021. Maxwell Wong is a member of AAPI Youth Rising and a 9th-grade student from Northern California. Maxwell enjoys reading, debating, playing video games, and spending time with his family. About AAPI Youth Rising: AAPI Youth Rising is a youth-led non-profit organization whose mission is to take small actions to make positive change. In March 2021, AAPI Youth Rising organized a 1,200+ person AAPI Youth Rising Rally in Berkeley, CA to bring awareness to the increase in xenophobia against Asians in America. Afterwards, AAPI Youth Rising launched the ONE/180 pledge  asking schools and teachers across the country to teach at least one day of Asian American and Pacific Islander history and culture during the school year. Since then, the group has launched social media campaigns, phone banking efforts and art activist events including the Our Diverse Voices youth art showcase in support of ethnic studies. AAPI Youth Rising has also been selected as American Girl’s partner organization for the 2022 American Girl of the Year, the first Asian American Girl of the Year, Corinne Tam. “We as Youth have a chance to build our future, to raise our voices, and demand change…Today, my call to action is for each of you to take one lesson home. With that call to action, make your voices heard.” – Mina Fedor Instagram: @aapiyouthrising | @mina.fedor | @maxwellw_2025 #AAPIYouthRising 🌐
February 02, 2022
Bianca Jortner
On this episode, Leo talks with Bianca Jortner, a 17 year old high school senior from Connecticut. She is the founder and president of Youth Promise, a non-profit providing under-served youth with free, virtual educational services such as tutoring and classes. Her passions include medicine, writing, reading, photography, and activism. Instagram @biancajortner | @youth.promise 📖 Bianca's book - Dreaming of Hiraeth 
January 01, 2022
Claire Jantzen
Claire is a Los Angeles based artist, filmmaker and photographer. At 15, she joined Adolescent, a media company focused on the creation of original content by youth for youth. She developed and directed short form content, serialized content, and documentary work with a focus on youth empowerment and human equality. By 18, her client list included Hasbro, Nike, Target, Disney, American Girl, Netflix and Ad Council. In 2015, she was named one of SHOOT Magazine’s New Directors to watch. Claire has recently focused her studies on a more interdisciplinary approach. She is currently working on projects which fuse installation, design, and video to create physical and digital spaces that challenge traditional narrative practices. Instagram: @clairameli 🌐Website:
December 01, 2021
Desmond Napoles
Desmond Napoles is a multi-awarded LGBTQ advocate, outspoken gay teen, genderfluid editorial and runway model, motivational public speaker, drag performer, designer, actor, singer, LGBT influencer, and published author. They are currently working on developing a private social network for LGBTQ+ youth. They have walked the runways at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) for several designers including Gypsy Sport, The Blonds x Disney Villains, Nicopanda's MAC Cosmetics collaboration with Macy's, Daniel Chimowitz, Dope Tavio, PimComedy, Adrian Alicea, Rebirth Garments, and MRHUA MRSHUA. Additional collaborations include Brussels Airlines, Canon USA, Chimera Lashes, Claire's Stores, Converse, Daftboy Fans, Drag Queen Merch, Fluide, GLAAD, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, Luar x The Love Ball, Lush Cosmetics, Manic Panic NYC, Marc Jacobs, Mattel, NYC Pride, and The Phluid Project. They live in New York City with their parents (Mom and Dad) and their family pets that include cats and parrots. Hobbies including coding, scripting, and playing video games, 3D graphics modeling, experimenting with makeup, costuming, creating content to share with their fans, visiting amusement parks, and hiking. Desmond's favorite subject in school is math. In the future, they would like to pursue a career as a roller coaster engineer or video game designer.
November 01, 2021
Nandita Kumar
Nandita Kumar is a 17-year-old community organizer from Dallas. Passionate about public health and human rights, Nandita works towards sustainably advancing health equity through policy, education, and advocacy. Her interest in global public health stems from the staunch disparities in health outcomes in marginalized communities. She is currently working as a Diversity & Inclusion Captain for March for our Lives Texas, Executive Organizer for LISD Students for Educational Equity, and Club Leader for Hebron GirlUp. When she's not organizing in her community, you can find her reading, making art, or spending time with her family and friends! Nandita Kumar Instagram @nandita.kumar4 | @hebrongirlup | @mfoltx
October 01, 2021
Krissy Oliver-Mays
Krissy Oliver-Mays is a youth activist and advocate from Charlotte, North Carolina. Krissy was formally one of the co-coordinators of Extinction Rebellion Youth Charlotte alongside her best friend Ollie who she also founded a non-profit with that educates youth on how to create change within their communities. Krissy is currently a sophomore at American University where she is studying environmental science in the collective effort of working toward a more sustainable future. Krissy Oliver-Mays Instagram @k.rystalynn | @xr_youth Twitter @XRYouth
September 01, 2021
Kezia Rice
Kezia Rice On this episode, Leo talks with Kezia Rice, founder of imprint magazine, an online community which promotes sustainability and activism. Imprint publishes articles that encourage readers to make small eco changes in their own lives. Read Imprint magazine and follow Kezia. Kezia Rice Instagram @kezrice | @imprintmag_ Twitter @RiceKezia | @imprintmag_  Facebook imprintmagzine Imprint Mag -
August 01, 2021
Thanasi Dilos
This month, Leo talks with Thanasi Dilos, co-founder of Civics Unplugged, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social enterprise whose mission is to empower the leaders of Generation Z to build the future of democracy. He is also one of National Geographic's Young Explorers, working to create platforms for youth-led work around the globe. Thanasi Dilos Instagram @thuhhnasi | @civicsunplugged | @natgeo Twitter @thuhhnasi | @civicsunplugged | @natgeo Civics Unplugged - National Geographic Young Explorer -
July 01, 2021
Isabel Hope
On this episode, Leo talks with Isabel Hope about autism, voting, mental health, and more. Isabel is a writer, musician, activist, and founder of Meddling Kids Movement (an international non-profit dedicated to amplifying the voices of youth activists around the world)  Isabel Hope Twitter @isabamahope Instagram @isabama Meddling Kids Movement website -
June 01, 2021
Jasmine Lunia
On this episode, Leo talks with Jasmine Lunia. Jasmine is a writer who works for social change and justice, with a particular interest in diversity and mental health. She writes on her blog and the moon speaks again and her work has also been published on iFeminist, the Lilac Blog, and Teen Ink. Jasmine also serves as the student rights director at Meddling Kids Movement. Jasmine Lunia 🌐and the moon speaks again blog Instagram - @cosmic_athena AND @jasminelwriting 
May 01, 2021
Shiden Tekle
Leo talks with Shiden Tekle. Shiden is an anti-racism campaigner from South London and co-founder of Legally Black, which fights to dismantle the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of black people. He is also a part of a new campaign called The Halo Collective, which aims to fight harmful hair discrimination practices in schools and workplaces. Shiden Tekle  Twitter - @shidenteklee Halo Collective - Instagram | Twitter Legally Black - Instagram | Twitter
April 01, 2021
Chessy Prout
On this episode, Leo talks with Chessy Prout, an author, advocate, and high school sexual assault survivor. In 2018 she published her memoir I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope, and co-founded the national non-profit called I Have The Right To with the goal to support survivors of sexual violence all over the world. Chessy Prout Twitter - 🌐 I Have the Right To website ( Facebook - Instagram - 📖Book -
March 01, 2021
Michael Platt
On this episode, Leo talks with Michael Platt, a food justice advocate, baker, and social entrepreneur. He has a non-profit food access initiative called PLLATE (Power, Love, Learning and, Access, to Everyone). Please check out and support Michael's work. Michaels Desserts (and PLLATE) - Instagram | Twitter | Facebook See him on Operation Awesome - BYUtv (March 2021)
February 01, 2021
Cole Middleton
On the first episode of 2021, Leo talks with Cole Middleton, a social and racial justice advocate and activist. Please check out Cole and the organizations he supports. Cole Middleton Twitter | Instagram Be the Bridge website National Center for Civil and Human Rights website
January 01, 2021
Kayleigh Webb-Sanchez
On this episode, Leo talks with young gun violence prevention activist Kayleigh Webb-Sanchez.  Please check out and support Kayleigh's work. Kayleigh Webb-Sanchez Twitter | Instagram | March for Our Lives "Generation Lockdown" PSA | You Know the Drill (PBS Short Film Festival 2020)
December 01, 2020
Ella Fields
On this inaugural episode of the podcast, Leo talks with teen filmmaker, photographer, and artist Ella Fields. Please check out and support Ella's work. Ella Fields Website | YouTube | Instagram 
November 01, 2020
Trailer: Generation Change with Leo Finelli
Generation Change with Leo Finelli will be launching soon! Across our country, Generation Z is standing up for justice and amplifying concerns about our future. This podcast will highlight Gen Z activists and creatives about their work for change.  Leo Finelli (he/him/his) is an amateur screenwriter and songwriter who explores and speaks on social justice topics through his art, on his podcast Generation Change with Leo Finelli, and through other endeavors. Leo has autism and a unique and deep appreciation for the importance and power of human connection. #genchangewithLF
October 31, 2020