On Wednesday December 15, HCN Ma’at Youth Leadership Coordinator De’Janay Mathews hosted a Black Professionals Career Panel to enrich, support, and inspire the youth participants in the program.
The participants of the event are members of the Ma'at Youth Leadership Program at HCN. This program brings in African/African-American/Black identifying transitional age youth from all over the city to receive one-on-one mentorship in academic, employment, and life skills. Youth receive mentorship to help them set and achieve life goals.
The career panel welcomed panelists from various career fields to showcase Black excellence in different professional settings.
The 6 career speakers included:
Bianca Aaron, a Licensed Marriage and Therapist/ Associate Professional Clinical Counselor.
Trejon Adams, a software engineer.
Lawrenzo Howell, a high school humanities teacher.
De’Von Walker, a regional coordinator for Umoja Community.
Vanessa Williams, an environmental education program manager.
Nathifa Rose, a flight attendant and PhD student in Strategic Media.
HCN host De’Janay explained in a heartfelt moment that, “Many youths in our community do not attend college or work to further their career simply because they believe that they do not have the tools to become successful in higher education. I want to make education and success a topic that is frequent in our program and in our community.” Each member on the panel came from different circumstances and wanted to shed light on the endless possibility of success for Black youth.
When representation is present, the youth feel empowered to reach beyond their imagination. De’Janay also highlighted the importance of having Black leaders from diverse fields to show the Black youth that you can be in different career paths.
One Ma’at participant emphasized the importance of representation saying, “These conversations were beneficial to me because it was coming from the mouths of Black people! I’ve been to other panels where there were only white people, and there were no Black folks.” The Ma’at youth participants were actively listening and gaining insight from these speakers who provided a safe space for the students.
A panelist, Nathifa Rosa, was inspired to share her experience with the youth. Nathifa explained, “It’s important to plant a message of success in them at a young age. I hope they start manifesting and mapping out their goals and aspirations from the conversations we had. “My advice to the youth would be that success is failure turned inside out and to live for you not society.” These beautiful words were echoed and embraced throughout the event.
Events like these are not only important, but necessary for the Black youth to envision success. When they see and hear successful Black leaders who look like them, it will only create more successful stories.