Youth In Action
There may be times in a child's life where they feel invisible to the world around them. Students everyday across the United States roll through the motions of being told what to do, what to be, and how to act. Teachers often encourage creativity and ideas, but have the last say to every lesson plan as well as incorporating their own ideas. In school, I was encouraged to share my ideas and my viewpoints. However, I was never encouraged to fully lead the class.
Mellody Hobson, investment expert, speaks of what it means to be "Color blind or color brave?" in her TED talk. Many may question what it means to be color blind or color brave. The truth is, we witness color blindness and color bravery everyday. Color blindness and color bravery is derived from who we are and how we see the world around us. Racial inequality still exists around us, as well as the efforts to end color inequality. Hobson speaks of attending a national press dinner and being mistaken for the wait staff due to the color of her skin. She speaks of how it takes courage to stand up to racial inequality and encourage diversity in the work place. As an adult, she sees the problems that still exist, has lived through color inequality her whole life, and wants to break down the walls that still stand.
Hobson opens the doors to seeing visibility in new ways. Hobson states that, "“Race in America makes people completely uncomfortable." Growing up, I lived in a very white neighborhood. My elementary school had less than 10 students of a minority. My junior high and high school was much more diverse. I hung out with people of all backgrounds and have always considered myself color brave. I don't think it was until I started dating my boyfriend that I realized how much racial inequality still exists. My boyfriend is mulatto. When we talk about our experiences rolling through life, the stories are always much different. My boyfriend, who went to private school and is very well educated, has been stopped by police thinking he is up to trouble, questioned about how he can afford the things he has, and has been asked if he is a drug dealer because he has a nice car. Because of his color, he becomes invisible to people or is only seen as being black-- not an intelligent man.
Youth in Action, YIA, is a great antidote to invisibility. Youth in Action is "a place where youth share their stories, practice leadership, and create change in their communities." In this setting, youth are the leaders. They are encouraged to find solutions to every day problems and are given the tools to be the leaders. With the efforts at YIA, students find their voices and are able to make changes in their own communities. Youth in Action turns color blindness into color bravery.