I have numerous vivid and wonderful memories from this summer. Here are some of the special moments I shared in summer ’09.
This summer I graduated from my two summer leadership program for African American male college students, The Institute for Responsible Citizenship in Washington, D.C.. Through the program, I received a unique opportunity to participate in hour long round table discussions with General Colin Powell, Congressman Arthur Davis, crisis management consultant Eric Denzehall, Republican Party National Chairman Michael Steele, the Vice-President of the College Board, renowned surgeon Dr. Ben Carson and many more. The highlight of this summer, as it was last summer, would be the significant amount of time I spent becoming further acquainted with the other talented students in the program. We were housed on the campus of American University for two months together. There we often burned the midnight oil, having conversations on social issues as well as engaging in all sorts of silly conversations on life. In the end, I know that the brothers in the program will do great things. In the future, I know we will work together as prophetic voices of peace, love, and justice.
2009 Institute Scholars
I conducted a research internship with the Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Community Museum in Southeast D.C.. I joined a team of student researchers in a community mapping project that traced the history of Houses of Worship in southeast D.C.. It involved collecting comprehensive surveys and all sorts of data collection of HOWs in southeast D.C.. This research complemented my current academic studies because I have considerable interest in preserving African American history. The project I worked on made an attempt to make the southeast D.C. community (predominately African American neighborhood) aware of their history through a community documentation center. It also empowered me on how to best collect archival information. I most especially learned how to utilize archives. I would like to extend a warm thanks to Smithsonian Institution Office of Fellowships and Minority Awards for making this research internship possible.
Summer 2009 Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Community Museum Interns
Furthermore, I became the President of Philadelphia’s Youth Action Team. Youth Action, is a youth led community based non-profit organization that I co-founded when I was 14 years of age at the Tavis Smiley Foundation National Youth to Leaders conference in Washington D.C.. Our organization works to empower young African Americans to become socially, economically, and civically aware. We believe that when young people are acutely aware of problems in their communities, they will be encouraged to better themselves and their communities. But the best part of Youth Action is that, the organization is solely led by high school and college aged youth. This year, as President, I will focus my attention on helping the team build the administrative end of our non-profit, while continuing to elevate our community service to the city of Philadelphia. I know that I will be taking on a large responsibility this year, yet I’m prepared for it.
Youth Action Executive Board with Tavis Smiley at their 2009 Charity Gala
Lastly, I devoted much consideration and time to preparing for either graduate school or the professional world after Bates. For years, I have told people that I have this intense desire to receive a PhD in African American Studies. Therefore, I’m reviewing masters and PhD programs for the degree. In addition, I’m also thinking about possible career opportunities that I can do once I graduate from Bates in May. We shall see what happens. I’m hoping for the best. However, I do know that Plan A is to enter a graduate program in African American Studies.
As you can see, my summer has been quite fruitful, eventful and very busy. But I’m pleased with how I spent and managed my time this summer.
I will be back at Bates in a week! Time for Senior Year!
Yours in the struggle, I am