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Undergraduate Sociology Major Advocates for Youth at Empowerment Event

April 18, 2018

Kimberly Ramirez Gonzalez has been advocating for youth for four years and she is committed to dedicating the rest of her life to doing so.

The third-year UC Merced sociology student takes the stage April 19 alongside world-renowned entertainers and social activists such as Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston and Selena Gomez at WE Day California. The all-day event, held at The Forum in Inglewood, celebrates the power young people have to make a difference by giving them the tools and inspiration to take social action, empower others and transform lives — including their own. It began nine years ago and has turned into a series of 19 stadium-sized events held across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

Event organizers invited Ramirez Gonzalez to share her personal experiences that led her to create Girls United, a high school program focused on empowering at-risk young women. The program provides a space for freshmen and sophomore high school girls who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, drug abuse, depression, eating disorders or gang affiliation to feel heard and heal.

“I think it is important that people like me — a low-income, first-generation woman of color and immigrants’ daughter — be given a platform like this to spread the powerful message that ‘you can change the world, no matter where you come from,’” Ramirez Gonzalez said.