Sunday, June 3, 2012
“Be the Change You Want To See”
Often I found myself staring at the celling as I lay awake in bed thinking about ways I could make a difference in the world I live. I would hear about all the inequalities taking place around the world due to an individual’s social class and would feel terrible but always thought to myself: “There is not much I can do because I myself am from a low social class and have also missed out on so many opportunities, like a good education, which sets me apart from other scholars and visionaries.” I am glad to announce that is now a past thought, recently I realized regardless of your present situation you can “be the change you wish to see in the world,” all it takes is the following ingredients: A dose of passion, dedication, perseverance and determination.
Martin Luther King Jr. did not share a plan of action that included thousands or millions of dollars to change the world he lived in…he shared a dream that inspired and continues to inspire people across the world. Ghandi and Mother Theresa both were extremely poor but saw the world needed to change and started their mission helping one person at a time and currently both are world-renowned inspirational leaders. I guess living in the Bay area (located in Northern California) and working along the side of many startups and founders I now understand it’s all about having an idea and knowing how to pitch it to others in such a way, others too believe in your idea and feel inspired by your vision. Not every founder I met in the Bay area has had the privilege of being connected to wealthy friends who could help fund their idea, many of them did not start out with having thousands of dollars dedicated to invest in their idea or had the brand name of a prestigious educational institutional accrediting them and their resume but they did have passion, dedication and determination to help their vision persevere and with those traits many were very successful in starting and sustaining their businesses.
With that I will share with you my vision of closing the digital divide amongst the youth and women living in underprivileged communities not only across America, but across the world. They say “Teach a man and you teach an individual but teach a woman and you teach a nation,” this quote has inspired me to start my mission and share my dream of the changes I want to see in the world.
Coming from a poor and uneducated family living in one of the many ghettos of America (Badlands, Philadelphia), I was not giving a high quality education which (I feel) sets me apart from many individuals in my field. This does not mean I cannot reach the same accomplishments as others, it just means due to my learning curve I require to work harder and longer to get the job done. Nonetheless, I recall touching my first laptop as an 18-year-old and learning the basics of Math, Science, English and many other subjects by simply having access to Google, Ask.com and Youtube. I would search endlessly for formulas, lesson plans and tutorials on various topics I should have learned in school prior to my enrollment in college but missed the opportunity to learn these areas due to the limited access of quality education provided to low-income communities in America. I found that over time, sometimes as fast as watching 3-5 tutorials or reading 2-3 different lesson plans and practicing the material shown, I found a way to close my achievement gap. I went from being on academic probation during my freshman year of college to being a Dean’s List student who eventually graduated with high honors and received the Frederick Douglas award for being a high performing minority with one of the highest grade point averages in my field of study (SWAG!). Trust I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I believe if you give a child access to a laptop and internet, regardless of the education being provided to them, you can truly change their world.
My mission is clear: Help close the digital divide between poor and rich communities across the world, with a special emphasis on women. Today, with my very limited access to resources and very high amount of debt, I have courageously started my first pivotal step in my mission by volunteering as a project manager to the Computer Technology Program taking place this summer in a rural village in South India. As project manager I was able to raise $3,000 in fundraising to start a computer room for the school. I have also dedicated 3 weeks of my time traveling to India to train the teachers and students on the use of technology. In addition I have also volunteered to be the marketing manager of BlackGirlsCode, a non-profit organization dedicated in closing the digital divide among young girls of color living in the United States.
Again, regardless of your current situation you too can share your dream and take your first step in positively impacting your world and being the change you wish to see.
My words to you: Stay focus and good luck on your (long and difficult) journey. Remember nothing in this world is impossible, the word itself says: Im Possible!