BOSTON – “No organization does more to train and uplift the youth than the National Urban League,” NUL president Marc Morial proudly proclaimed on the eve of the annual conference in New England’s flagship city.
The evidence supported Morial’s statement. There is the highly successful Young Professionals organization. And, in Boston, approximately a third of the NUL conference at the Boston Convention Center was devoted to providing young people sufficient tools to insulate them against an adverse, hostile world while they seek to cement their generation’s legacy.
In addition to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who spoke to 300 NUL youth on the campus of Northeastern University, actor Lamman Rucker (“Meet the Browns”) and actor-author Brian White (I Can Do Bad All by Myself) headlined a Youth Leadership Summit to impart invaluable nuggets to an eager audience of teens and tweens.
“A truly successful person can build a solid foundation by the bricks that other people throw at you. How you do that is by education,” White said to applause. White, an Ivy-League graduate and former Wall Street operator has appropriated considerable resources and time to uplifting young people. “Education will allow you to, like an architect, so see that goal and build your future. Everybody goes through hard times — everybody. It’s how you respond. That’s what matters. You can train yourself how to respond better.”
Rucker, who has survived multiple personal and familial trauma, had some words of advice for those who have gone through similar circumstances.
“I’ve lost a lot of people that I love to violence, to drug addiction, to alcoholism, to murder. My brother was murdered on the streets of D.C. And to be honest with you, I got sick and tired,” he said. “And instead of being sick and tired and saying the glass is half empty and allowing to happen [to me] what happened to everybody else, I made a conscious decision to say that my glass is half full. I started to believe that I was destined for great things. I’m tied to the greatness that came before me. And it was up to me to actualize my potential and manifest my destiny. If you buy into that, then you write your movie. And I’m writing my movie,” Rucker added to thunderous applause.
Moderated by one of Atlanta’s most popular radio personalities, Frank Ski, the celebrity panel delivered a number of powerful messages to the excitable audience, such as “Faith is fear in reverse. Martin Luther King Jr. was 24 when he started the Civil Rights Movement.” Therefore, children and teens and young adults should not be apprehensive about wanting to change lives and be great at an early age.
Patrick also reiterated the value of education while speaking at the 2011 National Urban League’s Youth Leadership Summit at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, saying “it is the single most high-impact investment government can make for a stronger society.”