Youth Speakers


Shali Holliday

Shali Holliday is a senior at John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science. She is an active member of the The PUSH-UP Coalition from Boston, MA. Shali also serves in The Mayor's Youth Council which is a model of youth inclusion in government and civic engagement. She leads opportunities that create a peer-led community at the O’Bryant School, dedicated to engaging in substance use prevention education, advocacy among youth, promoting positive behavior change and healthy lifestyle choices.

She receives mentorship and guidance from the Director of the PUSH-UP Coalition, Mr. John Daley, to develop initiatives and campaigns to bring awareness to substance use prevention for the Boston youth community. Shali was selected as a part of the 2020 CADCA Youth Leadership’s Training of Trainers Cohort. She is elated and can’t wait to continue her journey of promoting drug prevention with CADCA. After graduating high school, Shali will pursue her dreams of advancing human progress by studying at Howard University in Washington D.C.


Carson Ezell

Carson Ezell is a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, where he spent four years as a member of the youth sector of Stand Strong Coalition. Carson spent his first two years in Stand Strong advocating against the commercialization of cannabis in the state of Illinois. His work included collaborating with other youth coalition members and Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) to create a cost study analyzing the public health impacts of commercial cannabis, speaking at a press conference in the State Capitol, and delivering presentations to numerous community stakeholders.

As a junior, Carson was the Director of the Cannabis Legislation committee where he led a group of students advocating for local municipalities to opt-out of allowing recreational cannabis dispensaries. He shifted the group’s priorities from the state to local level, spoke before several village boards, and saw many opt-out ordinances and moratoriums on recreational cannabis sales be passed in local Illinois communities. As a senior, Carson serves as the President of his youth prevention organization where he aims to ensure that the organization maintains its membership, activism and dedication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Carson helped organize a virtual youth flavored tobacco policy summit alongside the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) which had attendees from coalitions across the country. Outside of prevention work, Carson is an avid participant in Model United Nations. He is also a linguist who speaks Spanish, French and Arabic. This fall, Carson will be attending Harvard University as a freshman where he will study economics, and he continues to serve as a Youth Trainer with CADCA.