Marc Freedman Portrait



Student and author, Princeton University

“Throughout the history of our country, we have seen that the greatest change occurs when young people join hands with adult generations, whether in terms of gun violence prevention, climate justice, immigration justice or racial justice.”

Uma Menon is an author, human rights advocate and Princeton University student from Winter Park, Florida. Her acclaimed writing has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in over three dozen publications, including The Huffington Post, The Progressive, The Rumpus, and Orlando Sentinel. Her debut book, Hands for Language, was published by Mawenzi House in 2020, and her debut children’s book, My Mother’s Tongues, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press in 2023.

In 2019-2020, Uma served as the inaugural Youth Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF). She started and edited the 2020 Anthology of Youth Creativity on Human Rights and Social Justice, IHRAF’s first publication featuring youth voices across the world. Uma has also served as a student leader on the College Board’s Access to Education Youth Advisory Council and as an Action Fellow for the Alliance for Climate Education.

Uma was invited to the 2019 State of the Union by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy in recognition of her writing on youth activism, making her one of the youngest guests in the event’s history. She was also selected to the 2020 U.S. Senate Youth Program, where she serves as one of two Youth Senators from each state. She was named by Kudumbam Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Women of Malayali Origin in 2018.

Uma graduated from Winter Park High School as valedictorian with an International Baccalaureate diploma in 2020.