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On April 27th seven other Youth Leaders, Ms. Regina, and I set off to New York City for a Southwest Airlines college tour. This trip was really fun; we went many places, seen many things, and met many different people. The point of this trip was not to just have unstoppable fun but to expand our horizons and know that they are many different ways of going through life. The way Ms. Regina did that is by taking to us to colleges and businesses. By doing all of the different activities I learned huge amount of information about things that I thought I knew and I did not know.
We arrived in New York Tuesday afternoon after many hours of traveling on Southwest Airlines. We got settled in our rooms and then we went and had dinner with an EOYDC Alumni Brittany Harris. We couldn’t stay too long because we had long day ahead of us. We woke up Wednesday at about five o’clock to get ready for Good Morning America. We walked over to the studio in Times Square, stood in the VIP line for about ten minutes. During the show Ms. Regina had me hold the Pathway to College sign, and I have to say that I did a good job getting into all of the camera shots. Then after the show we took a picture with some of the cast and took a tour of the studio.
At Good Morning America I learned a lesson from Ms. Regina, it was that you have to put the group and or team first. Because some people will try to squeeze in between you and mess up your flow, but you have to step up and stop them even if their feelings are hurt. This small lesson really hit home because I tend to be a little too passive about things. If I want to become a great leader I need to a little bit more forceful. No one is going to follow somebody who is getting walked on. Now I have to work on being aggressive yet civil to give another dimension to me as a leader.
The next lesson I learned was responsibility, and the person who taught me was EOYDC Alumni ,Lanikque Howard. She didn’t actually talk to me about it, she showed me how to be responsible. At New York University, the buildings a scattered throughout the city, to succeed at NYU you must be responsible to wake yourself up and push yourself to make it to class on time. Also living in Manhattan is tough there are a lot of distractions, and a part of being responsible is making sure you are always on track to hit your goals. Because in a big city like New York it is easy to get caught up and make bad choices. To be a true leader you must be able to lead yourself, you must be able push yourself to your limits and beyond.
One of the biggest lessons I learned while I visiting New York was, that we are all human and we all make mistakes. But a real leader knows when he or she has to change something in their life. I learned this at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center in Harlem. This center is a part of the auditorium theater in which Malcolm was murdered. Malcolm Little, joined the Nation of Islam in prison as a way to shorten his sentence. But what he did not know was how much this simple way of take the easy way out would change his life forever. This man educated himself while in prison, fell deeper and deeper into his new found religion. After he was released from prison he became one of the Nation of Islam’s more influential speakers. He spoke out against racism towards African Americans. For years Malcolm followed a man who was a hypocrite and felt that it was time for him to find his self. He set off to Mecca for his pilgrimage, where he seen different races of people coming and pray together without problems. This is when he realized that everybody no matter what ethnicity they can live together without any conflicts.
What I learned from his life was that it is never too late to fix mistakes. Because we are all human we are not perfect, we mess up but a real leader knows when it is time to change for the betterment of not only them self but the people around them also. The way I will install this into my life is if I am working and what every I am doing is not working, I would have to step back analyzes the problem and find a new way to fix the problem.
The main leadership lesson I learned from this trip was, that men and women of color need more leading roles. I feel if anybody should lead our people it should be us. While we were in New York we met with Scott Tuner, diplomat for the United Nations focused on Africa. He explained to us what his job is as a diplomat; it is good that he is doing that. But what caught my attention was that he was a minority. And I felt like, how could he help the people in Africa when he is not from the same ethnic group. That’s not just in Africa it is also happening here in America, the minorities have problems with the government but it is because we are not as represented like we should be. To fully help someone you have to first know where they have been and where they are now. It is like the Revolutionary War, the whole war fought over freedom from a man who did not know how they live and the dilemmas they dealt with. So, as a leader we must take care of our people even if nobody else will.
This trip was extremely inspiring, I learn so much and enjoyed myself. This trip also gave me many tools to make myself better. This was a complete honor, never in my wildest dreams would have thought I was going to go to New York. Thank you Ms. Regina and Southwest Airlines for taking me on the trip but most importantly bringing me back alive, thank you.