If someone offered you $100,000 and two years to think deeply about how to solve a big problem, what problem would you tackle? As a recipient of the 2018 Stanton Fellowship, I have just that opportunity. For me, that big question is how we create a youth development system that gives our kids a chance to lead productive lives, and to be the brothers, the fathers, the friends, the leaders they were meant to be.
On Thursday, October 6, more than 250 community and youth leaders gathered at the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition (BSS Coalition) community forum for dialogue about the release of the Vision 2020 Youth Policy Platform (Vision 2020).
I remember vividly the very first protest I participated in at UCLA. It was fall 2006. I was a freshman, and it was the first day of class. “What’s all the commotion about?” I wondered. I walked by the protest and saw members of the Afrikan Student Union (ASU) yelling something on bullhorns. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but I felt their passion and conviction and was impressed by the hundreds of students they had organized.
This was my first glimpse at successful organizing, which would eventually serve me well—both as a UCLA Afrikan Student Union leader and later as a program assistant/intern at Liberty Hill.