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Tess Kelly, 18

Tess Kelly is an eighteen-year-old activist, performance poet, and writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She considers herself an unreasonable optimist who believes in the power of young people to execute change in her city, her country, and her world. Kelly is passionate about the beauty and vibrancy of her beloved city of Cleveland and intends to dedicate herself to the betterment of the CLE.

Kelly loves being a part of the local music and arts scene, attending open mics, poetry slams, and supporting local artists however she can. Aside from passion for her city and for the written word, Kelly also loves Hip Hop and exploring the intersection between music and poetry. She is a dedicated reform Jew and the daughter of Lorain County’s first female rabbi. What she loves about Judaism is the commitment to social justice and community that it promotes. In the Mishnah Sanhedrin, a part of the Talmud, it is written, “One who saves a single life has saved the entire world,” and this principle has guided much of her work. She believes in the sanctity of every human life and the beauty of every person’s reality, and strives to be compassionate and open-minded. She will not abide injustice and will forever stand for her brothers and sisters of color and for those less privileged than she. Kelly is honored to be joining the International Congress and hopes to bring her passions to a global stage, taking what she learns back to her local community.