Though I have not lived long, nor have I done anything noteworthy enough to warrant an actual commencement speech, I accepted the challenge and forced myself to focus on one central message that I would, at this stage of my life, deliver to an [un]willing audience.
Without frightening them, I believe we need to educate our children about the larger global problems we face, as well as to empower them to do something about it. I want them to understand that even the smallest action can have profound repercussions.
We have all faced and will face different types of adversity during our lifetime, but we can learn from each other. In honor of International Women's Day, look to the women who have gotten us here and those who have continued on the fight for courage.
Our journey began in March 2013 with the creation of Project Impact, an arts-based leadership workshop for teen trafficking survivors. We spent three months working with the 15-18 year-old residents of JCCA's Gateways
Through a special project documenting the stories and experiences of 25 of our alumni who now range in age from 19 - 43, I am hearing of the profound impact of our collective work at Global Kids over the years.
During a time of technological change, youth unemployment, rising university costs and civil conflict, we recognized the need for GCE, not only as a method of teaching in the classroom, but also as a mindset.
Remember there is nothing wrong with your child. They are wonderfully them! They are not going to break -- in fact they are going to get stronger with your love. They are not broken -- society is broken. But we can fix it.
When our children discover that millions of other children around the world lack the basic right to a free education, they start to critically question the effectiveness of their own schooling, and start to advocate for an education that is relevant to today's world.
Reams have been written about the issue with lots of concerned citizen comments. While all that concern is great, nothing seriously tangible is being done, further underscored by the fact the numbers in my city just increased by 2000 more children.
One can certainly say that throughout history it's been individuals who have turned the tide against evil and entropy. What's changed in this age of social media is the extent to which -- and the speed with which -- warriors for good can be assembled.
We enter social justice work as survivors. As black gay men particularly, but by no means exclusively, we learn to endure and inevitably resist racism and homophobia. What's less clear is how we survive each other.
We can do this. We can rise from these ashes and rally together, knowing that the pending global shift will end in inspired triumph. We have the tools. We have the drive. We have the passion, and our time is now.
Working toward eliminating poverty is necessary toward the social, psychological and economic wellbeing of the United States. We need to strategically approach inclusive strategies that will allow for all Americans to thrive -- particularly those living in poverty.