A Massapequa High School student with a passion for animals is striving to get others involved locally in the animal rights movement.
Daniel Balsamo, a senior, is the founder of the grassroots animal-rights organization Liberation NYC, which he started last year. He is also involved with Anonymous for the Voiceless, a nonprofit that educates the public on animal exploitation and fosters activism groups worldwide.
Balsamo's Liberation NYC was slated to host up to 400 people at its inaugural Animal Liberation New York City Conference from April 9 to 13, but the event has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The five-day conference would have featured dozens of guest speakers and educational workshops.
"We believe animal rights are not in the mainstream as much as they should be," said Balsamo, 17, who is particularly concerned about the treatment of animals within the agricultural system. "People think they know things, but I implore them to look at videos online."
Balsamo was recently honored for his activism efforts with a state-level President's Volunteer Service Award through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The awards program, now in its 25th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Balsamo is also a member of his school's science research program, with a concentration on superconductors.
— MICHAEL R. EBERT