Young adults take charge as next generation of African-American leaders

Cleveland State students giving their views on the state of Black America
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 1:54 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - During Black History Month, 19 News is celebrating Black excellence in the Cleveland community.

We’ve spoken to individuals representing, not just their greatness, but laying the foundation for future generations.

Black students at Cleveland State University are a part of the next wave of leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs and teachers that will help shape the black existence.

They are fierce. They are loud and they are unapologetic.

But is their message being understood? Is it being recognized?

It’s a disconnect that has spanned generations within the black community.

Cameron Anderson is a senior and promotional communications major. He’s also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.

“In this generation, we’re kind of forced to grow up a lot quicker. We might know a little bit more at our age than our parents and grandparents did at their age.”

Anthonie Jackson is a junior business major and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.

He says, “That’s where that trust comes in because we have to trust the older generations judgement and they have to trust ours. They have to trust that we have these plans and they will work.”

Mignon Moore is a senior health science major and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

“They hear us. They hear what we say. They just don’t understand or support what we’re saying, or they feel that something has to be done a certain way.”

One approach this generation has brought to the forefront is mental health. What was once taboo within the Black community, has now been amplified by young adults.

Senior psychology major Robert Bruce-Bey II is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.

He says, “I think trauma is one of the biggest things that we overlook, overlook in our households.”

Jovonni Childress is a junior psychology major and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated.

“As a community, we’ve always been taught that what’s in the home, stays in the home. So a lot of things are swept under the rug.”

“I’ve been more brave about, as Black men we have a problem with expressing how we feel sometimes, which can be a big problem, because that ultimately leads to something worse.” says Anthonie Jackson.

Each of these students are National Pan-Hellenic Council, or NPHC, a group of nine, African-American fraternities and sororities. These organizations do their share of community events, but can more be done?

Nariah Swails is a sophomore nursing major and member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated.

She says, “Giving back selflessly. It’s more than going out and passing out gloves and hats in the winter time. It’s also about going to those schools, especially at CMSD. Going to those schools and talking to those children and give them someone to look up to.”

“Just keep being consistent. I feel like when we hear community service, we think, ‘OK, we’re going to pass these clothes out, we’re going to do this and go back home.’ I feel like we need to start doing more things where we’re actually getting to know these people in our community.” says Anderson.

“Start our own thing and then use that example and then go into inner cities, the outer cities and suburbs and show kids that this is what we did and this is what you can build.” says Robert Bruce-Bey II.

The future, is right now. Their voices are powerful. And their promise for the future of Black America, is hopeful.

Childress says, “I see how great we are and I want the world to know how great we are. We know how great we are, but there’s constantly the doubt. And I don’t want that anymore. I want to eventually live in a world where black people are known.”

“We should dream big. Our thoughts should be big, our minds should be big, our goals should be big.” says Moore.

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