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Civil and Human Rights Fellows Tackle Generational Differences

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Solomon Burt-Murray, 16, Paideia School

If I had the microphone to share the thoughts and opinions about today’s generation, I would tell the story of my past basketball season. In the beginning of the season in June, there was a meeting for all the basketball players in the school to talk about about next season. After the meeting, I went to see my coach and he told me that he didn’t want any freshmen or sophomores on the Varsity team this year. He told me it would take a lot for him to change his mind. I decided that I would prove to him that not only did I belong on the team but that he needed me on the team.

So during the month of June, we practiced and went to team camps and I made sure to excel in practice and at camp so that I could show my coach that he needs me. When October came around, I was at every workout even though it was optional and I showed him how dedicated I was to the team. Ultimately, when the season began, not only was I on Varsity, but I also started many games and was in the game during crunch time every game. At the end of the year, my team had an awards banquet and I received Rookie of the Year because I was the best first year varsity athlete out of the five on the team. Next year, I will be the starting point guard on a team THAT WILL MAKE STATE.

Amadou Diallo, 16, Therrell High School

It’s the start of a new generation and we’re leading it. By we, I mean today’s teens. Football players, basketball players and other types of sports players are from this generation. There is a change or should I say a revolution coming and the ones leading it are today’s teens/ We come from all races but when we get together, that’s when we show our talents, that’s when we start taking over. We are the best generation because we have experienced change.

I myself have experienced change, moving from one country to another, looking at different cultures and gaining the physical understanding of what this world is actually made of. We are always told by the scared people that we can’t do anything, we’re not mature and the one I hate most — we will never be successful. We’ve proved them wrong because I’m right here in this room in this program about being a leader, writing this speech.

I have friends who have created apps that are benefiting the world. I have friends who are more mature than some adults. At the end of the day, we are coming and there’s nothing anybody can do to stop us because we are the best generation and we will not back down from a challenge.

Glenn Tolbert Jr., 16, Morgan County High School

Treat others the way you want to be treated. I’ve heard it over a thousand times, from my mom, my dad, teachers and almost every other adult. So I live my life like that. I cuss sometimes, I make fun of people when they are doing stupid things and tell people the truth. But when an adult sees me doing this, they say, “Stop! That’s not how you would want to be treated. You don’t want other people saying or doing those things to you.”

The truth is, I do want people to cuss around me (it relieves stress). I do want people to make fun of me when I do stupid things (it helps me learn not to take everything so seriously). I do want people to tell me the truth (lying hurts both me and the other person). So I’m going to keep living my life cussing, laughing and speaking my mind. That’s the way I want to be treated.

TaNica Holmes, 16, Benjamin E. Mays High School

Today’s teens have expertise to talk about technology such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. Many teens today are always in their phones taking selfies, playing games or texting. We often stop using our actual minds and go search things on the internet. We also tend to stop having real-life face-to-face conversations because of Facetime, Snapchat and all other social media. Technology has made our generation the laziest but the strongest. It has made us lazy because we are less active by not going outside. Technology has made us stronger because our lives are continuing to change everyday. Before we know it, we will have flying cars and phones the size of a tablet or iPad.

Amari Tann-Wilson, 15, The SAE School

With sports, school, drugs and other things, teens of this generation are both exposed and threatened. Some teens talk about doing drugs and being exposed to other things, things that will ruin their future. Some hang with the wrong crowd. Other teens hang with the people they know are on the right path to a bright future. Some teens get this way because they’re exposed to certain music, TV shows and role models. They decide what to do and how it can impact their lives. But not all teens are this way. There are those who fight for others, help their friends out of those situations and lead them back on the right path. That’s why our generation is the best by far.

Naitian Ulysse, 15, The Westminster Schools

On thing I don’t like about this generation is social media. When you really think about it, social media is just a competition to see who has the best life. Think about why you post photos on Facebook or Instagram. It’s not because you don’t have enough memory on your phone so you require it to be somewhere when you delete your photos. You don’t do it because you genuinely enjoy posting photos even if you get one “like”. No, you do it to show off how good your life is or rather, how you want people to see your life. Instagram and Facebook are a big competition when you really think about it.

Don’t get me wrong. Some people use social media for a good reason, like trying to promote a business, something they love or a nonprofit. But most people are just doing it to show off. They post photos that look nothing like them because they’ve edited them so much, just trying to get girls/boys. I’m sorry but people on those social media apps are thirsty as f. Like most of them either don’t really have a great social life so whenever they get invited  somewhere, they post about it. Why do you need to post about every little thing that you do, like if you didn’t it never happened? I don’t like the whole idea behind social media. We are the greatest generation. We have to use our resources for a good reason, not just to show off.


Claudine Niyonsenga, 18, Clarkston High

When I came here a few years ago, I didn’t know anything about education. I went to school and students talked, didn’t listen to the teachers. At the time, I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Because I was new and didn’t speak English. As I began to learn and speak English, I realized how important education is. It plays a huge role in my life. Our generation doesn’t take anything seriously. We just seem to want to get pregnant, smoke, take drugs and all other kinds of nonsense. We may think we’re having fun but we don’t realize that we are actually hurting ourselves.

Sooner or later when it’s too late, we’re going to start regretting this. But if we start acting now there is a possible chance that we can survive.

Without education, we won’t become anything. We can’t always depend on mom and dad. Someday we will be left in this world alone with not one to help us but ourselves.

We all need to change and it needs to start now. Before it’s too late.

Julian Mason, 15, The Westminster Schools

Come Together. It ain’t all about the hate.


Look someone in the eye and tell them, “You’re great.”

All the take and irrelevant s— isn’t worth it.

Go to school, get educated and get successful.

I just can’t wrap my head around why everyone can’t be real.

Stay true to yourself is what I tell you.

While you’re out here trying to make drug deals.

Forget the haters and maybe

Start listening to the motivators.

The activists, the ones who want to see you succeed.

But first it all starts with one word.

And that’s Believe!

Believe that greatness is just a step away.

THe doubts, the negativity

All of that has to move out of your way.

They ain’t ready.

Hell, none of ‘em are ready.

For how bad your success is gonna make them pay.


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