Throughout my life, growing up in the 8th ward of Washington, D.C., a lot of events could have broken me--coping with drug use in my home and losing my mother, who was my strongest supporter, at the age of 14.
The challenge for any minority faith is the ability to participate on both levels - creating awareness of one's faith and energizing members in the values of the faith to, in turn, express those values through projects which can benefit the world around them.
It is crucial that we communicate, engage, and empower youth through a medium they not only understand, but also have almost universal access to, so that they can truly transform their own lives and the lives of those around them.
In Selma Alabama, at the 50th year anniversary of Bloody Sunday, people from all over the world gathered at the Edmund Pettus Bridge for a symbolic march to the other side. But there were no leaders to lead, no plan to make it over and back. Where were the traditional leaders?
Engagement is one of the most powerful determinants of success for people of any age. It has been an ingredient that has helped the academically weaker students in strong high schools graduate on time; yet its absence allowed the stronger students to fall behind.
For some time it has been fashionable to trash Millennials for a lack of engagement with the world. Compared to the spirit and intention of activists of the 1960s, are today's students and youth truly disengaged?
Friends and acquaintances across the Middle East/North Africa region often ask for advice on matters related to journalism, media in general, ethics, and how to prepare young people for this very exciting and ever-changing field.
As a generation that has grown up working with computers and regularly connecting online with people around the world, young people in particular have the potential to provide a unique contribution within this space.
Indeed, as 'Africa rising' becomes a cliché, it can obscure a certain reality - that might be changing ahead of us, but in our midst and to paraphrase a popular US election gaffe, the fundamentals of our despair remain strong.
Before I was invited to develop curriculum at the Academy of Art's (AAU) Multimedia Department and the University of San Francisco, I too believed that many young folks were apathetic, entitled and not in touch with reality. Boy, was I wrong.
On a rainy morning in Moscow this May, I sat at a table listening to Russia's best students articulate, in perfect English, their concerns with the United States' anti-ballistic missile system and explain their hope for the future of Russia.
This weekend I was in New York for a State Department Panel entitled, "Youth Driving Change: Global Youth and Civic Engagement." The event itself was just as amazing as the story behind it -- one that is still developing.