by Pearis Bellamy (age 17)
America is a wonderful place but our country like many has had its rough times and still has rough times. In a place where we were originally solely meant to be slaves, finding our identity and gaining respect from other races continues to be an issue. On Sunday, August 4, 2013, African-American youth responded to the Trayvon Martin murder/George Zimmerman verdict, the “N” word and much more.
On Sunday, August 4th, hundreds of New Brunswick students, mentors and community leaders took a stand at an ACT-SO New Jersey sponsored event called, “Teen Summit NJ”. The panel included ACT-SO alumni, ACT-SO students, community leaders and concerned students – each of whom discussed what is means to be an African American in these times. Each panelist added a unique perspective which made the conversations interesting and really sparked audience reaction throughout the program. The summit was moderated by Azusa Pacific Campus Pastor, and ACT-SO Alumnus, Khristi Adams, who guided the conversation but still allowed for some constructive tangents and other conversations to occur. The panel made intriguing points. The audience also really said some interesting things.
We talked about the George Zimmerman verdict and what that means for all of us. I know that I was particularly affected by the verdict because I have a younger brother and I could not imagine something like that happening to him. The point of views I saw and heard on social media and television after the verdict appalled me and I was shocked to hear how some people view African-Americans. The Teen Summit was a great reaction to those negative people. The comments and concerns brought up at the summit were very interesting and really seemed promising for a better future for all people and especially for African-Americans.
I loved the Teen Summit and was so happy to have been able to attend, photograph and witness such an awesome program. I am truly proud to be an ACT-SO member and ACT-SO really knows how to throw a summit! Mr. Shaun Adams, Teen Summit organizer, ACT-SO Alumnus and current ACT-SO chairperson, along with his team did an outstanding job! This summit was certainly a success and hopefully we will have many more and we can really make an impact in all our communities.