From Kendrick Johnson to Renisha McBride, too many young black people made headlines this year in the United States for news directly related to a tragedy.
But there were some who did make headlines for good news. These young people made history, overcame obstacles to achieve major goals and worked to champion causes. As the year comes to a close we wanted to highlight some of the ones on our radar.
The University of Law
18-year-old Gabrielle Turnquest became the youngest person to pass the bar exam in the UK. The Florida native says she didn’t realize the full impact of her accomplishment because she was not aware of the average age. On average, a lawyer graduating from The University of Law’s Bar Professional Training Course is 27.
19-year-old James Ward created an online campaign called “Homeless To Howard” to raise money to attend his dream school. For the homeless teen, his financial reality made that dream seem impossible until the donations from strangers started rolling in.
He along with his mentor, who helped him with his campaign, have now created a non-profit organization to help other young people fund their college dreams.
15-year-old Jayden Bledsoe managed to turn his IT company into a $3.5 million global company. He started it when he was just 13 years old.
Mark Davis via Getty Images
18-year-old Denzel Thompson is the recipient of this year’s Teen Nick HALO Award for his work with Philadelphia Urban Creators. He co-founded the nonprofit that works to revitalize urban areas and create sustainable gardens that grow healthy foods. It started with an empty lot in his neighborhood and is completely youth led. Since starting the organization, Thompson lost 150 pounds by eating the food that he grows.
HARAMBEE INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
7-year-old, Zora Ball is the youngest person to create a mobile video game.
Ball developed the game using programming language Bootstrap, which is usually taught to students between the ages of 12 and 16, to help them learn concepts of algebra via video game development.
LOCAL 4 WDIV DETROIT
10-year-old Asia Newson is Detroit’s youngest entrepreneur. She runs a candle company with her dad called "Super Business Girl.” Newson also has ambitions to go on to become mayor of the city, and ultimately the president of the United States.
11-year-old Carson Huey-You is the youngest student ever to attend Texas Christian University. He plans to become a quantum physicist, and is taking classes including calculus, physics, history and religion.
10-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis made history this year. She’s the youngest ever Academy Award nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role. At the time of the nomination she was 9 years old and Wallis was only 5 years old when she auditioned for the part in the movie that earned her the nomination: "Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
The Dream Defenders, a group of Florida-based activists directed and organized by young people, protested and held the longest occupation of the Florida Capitol in recent history. They launched the sit-in following the announcement of the verdict from the Zimmerman trial. The group works to fight for social change through civil disobedience and they authored “Trayvon’s Law.” They're working for the law, which would repeal “Stand Your Ground,” ban racial profiling, and end the school to prison pipeline, to become enacted.
22-year-old Jeramey Anderson is the youngest person elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. He wants to focus on funding towards education and since he is still in college himself, he will complete his course work online.
Tell us about other young people you know who are doing amazing things in the comments!