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Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program

About Stephen Tyrone Johns

Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died on June 10, 2009, while protecting Museum visitors and staff from an avowed racist and antisemite. This tragic loss is a stark reminder that the ideals for which he sacrificed his life are far from being realized, and confronting hatred remains an urgent and ongoing challenge.

Participants in the Summer Youth Leadership Program take the following pledge to help lead us toward a better future:

The Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program provides 50 outstanding high school students from the Washington, DC, area with an intensive educational internship at the Museum each summer. More than 850 students from 120 Washington, DC, area schools have participated since the program was established in 2010.

Established in memory of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, who died heroically protecting the Museum from a brutal attacker, the program is designed to help young people develop the skills they need to be leaders in their communities who will stand up against hatred.

About the Program

The program runs for seven weeks during the summer and is held at the Museum. Participants study the lessons of the Holocaust and share them with their peers and others by:

  • Leading tours of the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition

  • Providing educational programming to other young people before and after their Museum visit

  • Hosting the Museum’s National Youth Leadership Seminar

  • Working closely with peers around the country to create a network of young people reaching out to others and promoting human dignity

How to Participate

High school students must complete the Museum’s Bringing the Lessons Home Program before applying for the Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program. Applications for the summer program are accepted in the spring.

Flowers for Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns on the tenth anniversary of his killing. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum

“The legacy of Officer Johns occupies a permanent place in our hearts. His courage inspires us to strive toward a future without hatred and bigotry. In his honor, we, the Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Ambassadors, pledge to embrace the ideals Officer Johns sacrificed his life to protect. We are committed to actively engage in our communities, to reach out to others, to promote human dignity, and to confront hatred and bigotry wherever we are in the world and for as long as we live. Together, we stand hand in hand. In the name of Stephen Tyrone Johns, we are a community in action. ”

What Participants Say

“In the last couple of days, something has unleashed inside of me; this something is called ‘hope.’ I can say that I have truly found myself on this summer journey. I have broken barriers to let in new information and abilities and then to carry them out to my peers. I have hope that I can educate others. I have hope that I can be more than what I know, but above all, I have hope that I can accomplish so much more to my highest point.”

—Inaugural Class Member

“So how can we as teenagers take action against hatred, a sentiment so much bigger than ourselves? It’s a problem that we’ve all faced in our respective high schools and communities... We found out that not all schools have organizations that promote awareness and cooperation. So we all came up with a variety of other creative solutions—running for office, lobbying, voting, educating, raising awareness, writing a letter, protesting, donating to an organization, etc.”

—Inaugural Class Member