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From The Housing Projects To Leaders Of The World: 5 People Of Color Who Prove Anything Is Possible

"Never judge someone’s value based on their appearance."

Housing projects shaped many of the most educated and talented people on earth. So, before you judge others, realize that you won’t be where you are today without their existence.

Although the projects shaped more entrepreneurs, community leaders and musicians than we’ll ever know, many world leaders were born and raised there. And since I was born in the Bronx, I must give a special shout out to these world leaders:

1. Sonya Sotomayor

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor is the first Hispanic and Latino Justice in history. She has served as a judge on the United States District Court and Court of Appeals. She was raised in Soundview Houses in the Bronx.

Soundview was also the home of Big Pun, Wesley Snipes, KRS One and many others.

2. Ursula Burns

CEO of VEON, Ursula currently serves as a board member for Uber, American Express, University of Rochester and Exxon Mobil. Ursula is the first Black women to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox. She has led, advised and consulted multiple billion-dollar businesses. Ursula was raised in Baruch Houses in Manhattan.

3. Andre Harrell

Vice-Chairman of Revolt, former CEO of Motown Records and founder of Uptown Records, Andre is well known for mentoring Diddy and moving the culture forward. Andre was born in Sotomayor Houses (named after Sonya Sotomayor), formerly known as Bronxdale Houses (also in the Bronx).

4. W.E.B Du Bois

Respected sociologist, historian and civil rights leader, Du Bois was on the founders of the NAACP. Du Bois also led the Niagara Movement. His collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, and the Talented Tenth concept has been studied and analyzed by millions of peoples. Du Bois was born Dunbar Apartments in Harlem.

Dunbar was also the home of Countee Cullen, Paul Robeson and A. Philip Randolph.

5. Jay-Z

How can we talk about world leaders from the projects and not acknowledge Jay-Z? If you don’t know who Jay is, then you probably shouldn’t even be reading this. The rapper was raise in the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, New York.

The morale of the story is this: Never judge someone’s value based on their appearance because they could be your next Supreme Court Justice, CEO or advocate. An investment in our community is an investment to the world.

#WorldChangers


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Jason Barnes earned a Bachelor of Accounting from Coppin State University. He has helped establish start-up companies in Baltimore, New York, and Washington D.C. Jason is committed to building and rebuilding lives through mentorship, stewardship, and fellowship. In his spare time, he facilitates a Christian education class for 9 – 10 graders in Baltimore, Maryland. Jason is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He enjoys playing basketball, traveling, and participating in community service activities. He contributes to non-profits and community organizations throughout the nation.