“I’m really focused on unseating Governor DeSantis, who has failed Floridians,” Jack says. That’s why he’s recently begun as the policy director at Gen-Z for Change, a nonprofit run by young people leveraging social media to educate and mobilize their peers. For now, Jack is concentrating on the 2022 midterms. “We’re seeing DeSantis trying to disenfranchise people of color by drawing his own congressional maps, and getting rid of predominantly Black… districts. I think that this is really reflective of his failed leadership and that he embraces hate in his decision making.”

Jack is determined not to let politicians in his state continue to wield their powers for harm. He emphasizes that Florida clearly has influence over the rest of America, given that since early 2022, morre than a dozen “Don’t Say Gay” copycat bills have been proposed across the country, including in Arizona, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, and most recently in North Carolina. Meanwhile, a national report from the Trevor Project found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. Significantly, more than half of young transgender and nonbinary people surveyed had seriously considered suicide — but trans and nonbinary youth whose pronouns were respected and were otherwise supported attempted suicide at half the rate as those who did not get the same support.

The soon-to-be high school senior has no plans to stop organizing against statewide and nationwide causes, but Jack is deeply committed to his own community. In 2020, after he witnessed a local school board member “recklessly Tweeting Covid misinformation” when his whole family had just been sick with the virus, enough was enough. The then-15-year-old showed up to a school board hearing, and later rallied other concerned students to start the student-run organization Recall Flagler County School Board (Recall FCSB).

Over the last two years, he’s spoken out and demanded the board change practices and regulations that harm students, including the banning of LGBTQ+ books and more. He’s held meetings and worked on infographics to alert people of what’s going on — using social media to organize with other students who seek positive change. Jack says he realized “these people in positions of power aren’t here to hear students, they aren’t here to serve us, they’re here in their interests,” after a school board member filed a criminal report because libaries in her school district had copies of a queer memoir. In response, he organized a protest outside of the school board meeting, where he encouraged students to make their voices heard. He also started an online campaign to have 300 of the books — George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue — donated to the district so they could distribute them.

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