We are all aware of the seriousness surrounding the 2012 Presidential election. We are at a crucial point within society and the betterment of our economy is counting on our vote.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and our President, Barack Obama share the message of dreams and hope. Dr. King was passionate about his movement for change and President Obama follows in those footsteps knowing the continued tough fight ahead.
Dr. King took his stance boldly while inheriting hate and violence. President Obama inherited a failing economy and a society filled with chaos and debt. Neither pavement has been crafted easy.
So, yes, it is imperative that we all make our voices heard by voting on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
Since 2008 young adults have been actively getting involved with spreading the importance of Election Day and practicing their right to vote. We are a generation taking activism to creative heights.
In 2007, as a separate entity of the Young & Powerful Group, Young & Powerful for Obama was formed. This group is one of emerging professionals who serve as role models and leaders in local, national, and global communities. Their innovative spirits created campaigns on behalf of then Senator Barack Obama as fundraiser events that raised awareness and spread the message in Atlanta, L.A., Detroit, Madison, WI, Philadelphia, New York City, and Chicago.
On October 4, 2012, the group, with members; age ranging from 21-40, held another presidential fundraiser along with the presentation of their Rising Star Awards at the Society Art Gallery located near Chicago’s West Side.
The Loft space always offers a socially elegant aura with art works adorning the walls. Walking into the event, we were greeted with smiles from Y&P volunteers. Your ears embraced and enjoyed the jazz instrumentals from the Ken Davis Project band. Feet were tapping and if you were familiar with the tune, voices were singing along in between bites catered by Loquacious catering.
Tables were set up and we wore name tags which made it easier to mingle amongst event supporters – some who may have come together and others meeting and socializing for the first time. The atmosphere was peace.
The presentation ceremony kicked off a little after 8 p.m. with hosts comedian Damon Williams and WVON radio host Thaisa Gee.
Recipients of the Rising Star Award are those who have demonstrated the ideals and admirable qualities of a leader and person of action. These qualities include having vision, civic-mindedness, pragmatism and the tenacity to identify public challenges along with navigating an active plan to address these issues. These characteristics also serve as traits of the Young & Powerful.
Among the recipients this year were, Pastor Corey Brooks, New Beginnings Church of Chicago. Through Skype technology, Pastor Brooks shared his journey and continues to walk in his purpose to raise funds for the South Side community center. He’s currently in California where he and his foot army will continue their walk through Watts and Compton next week. His return to Chicago is marked for October 14, 2012.
Kids off The Block founder, Diane Latiker was also an award recipient, and was honored to be amongst a group that aspired change and making a difference. She shared along with her Thank you’s; “My passion and dedication is young people.” Damon Williams, adding his comedic flair to the event, congratulated Latiker and joked “…took those young people in your house – she’s a brave one! I have young relatives that I don’t let in my house and they’re blood.” His commented razzled a few chuckles from attendees.
Tim King, Founder and CEO of Urban Prep Academies accepted his award with a message encouraging all to get involved: “Be mindful to do everything we can to keep African American men, especially young boys out of jail and in school.” He also added that, “we don’t lack resources; we lack creativity and courage to do it.”
After struggling with his weight, the height of it being over 300 pounds, and then losing over 135 pounds, Rising Star Award recipient, Chef Judson Todd Allen is healthy and feeling good. His struggles led him to become a Healthy Living Advocate and a Food Network Star Finalist.
With the motto, “think locally and impact globally,” Artist and Curator Faheem Majeed accepted his award for his contributions to the community and also celebrated his son’s birthday! As the former executive director for the South Side Community Art Center, Majeed’s mark in artistic creation and community is endless and admirable.
When Amy DuBois Barnett joined the legacy of Johnson Publications as the Editor-In-Chief of Ebony Magazine, the glossy pages delivered in edgy and vibrant. Mrs. Barnett brings a fresh face, engaging point of view and a knack for media branding. For that reason, among many others, she is a Rising Star.
Other award recipients of the evening included, Chicago Bulls Player Nazr Mohammed who is also the Co-founder of The Nazr Mohammed Foundation, which is committed to being a charitable community by supporting various organizations with the goal to fulfill civic responsibility and being active members of our communities. Kari Steele, Formulating Chemist for L’Oreal accepted her Rising Star award and left attendees with the challenge to “step up and make a change.”
For more about the Young & Powerful organization and ways to get involved, visit www.youngandpowerful.org.