There comes a time in a person’s life when they’ve paid some dues, worked under the guidance of the experienced and realized their potentials in learning environments. Jay-Z practiced working a large crowd by performing songs between Big Daddy Kane’s concert sets. Shonda Rhimes sharpened her on-set skills interning at Denzel Washington’s production company. President Obama made his first political speech as a student at Occidental College where he called for the Board of Trustees to divest from South Africa during its Apartheid days
The list goes on, but what all of these successful people have in common is that they eventually took a chance on themselves and their ideas. Once they built enough muscle under practice, they were confident to step out and present quality. Of course, they didn’t become household names overnight, but their boldness led them to where they are today. Recently, I took my first step toward a greater purpose inside me calling for more and I left my job of three years to travel for four months. During my time as a nomad, I wanted my travels to have some meaning beyond me posting photos of myself at tourist destinations. I wanted to use my gifts of writing and reporting to give back. I am doing this through my multi-media identity series “The Questions 100.” In my previous job, I spent countless hours writing articles about police brutality and Black Twitter’s lashings on mainstream media outlets’ cultural insensitivity. I also wrote some positive stories about individuals changing the world in their own way. Many of them were millennials who I felt didn’t get the shine they deserved. And I often read articles about millennials and how lazy and unprepared they were for the world because of their instant gratification syndrome and their constant need to be validated on social media. Although I do know people like this, this narrative of all millennials living this highly-entitled carefree life is not real. Many of them are pushing to survive and shifting norms for the better as we speakMillennials of color in particular still face a unique set of challenges beyond not being able to pay student loan bills. Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland were black millennials whose lives were interrupted and stolen in racially-charged incidents. Every year there are dozens of black transgender women who are killed and their stories go unreported. Muslim students are facing Islamophobia on their campuses and have to deal with presidential candidates that stir up this prejudice even further. Afro-Latinos are looking to expand the conversation surrounding their identity that is often very limited. Asian millennials are not seeing themselves represented in the mass media although their cultures continue to be appropriated. And Native Americans are given almost no spaces to share their voices whatsoever.