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By: Lyntoria Newton
Carver School of the Arts
Atlanta, GA

"There is... one difference between our ancestors and ourselves; they used to examine
dreams in order to predict the future, while it is the past that intrigues us." These wise
words come from Elie Wiesel's book entitled, Jews. Myth, and Modern Life. Everyone
has dreams and aspirations. However the leaders of tomorrow will probably reflect on the
outstanding deeds that the leaders of their past performed. In the past, there was never a
paved path ready for leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to follow. As a result, they
looked only at what hope and faith left them: courage.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. achieved many things in his life, but he stands out because he
always held a strong sense of courage on behalf of human rights. At an early age Martin
was very intuitive in regards to what his purpose in life was. He became an ordained
minister at the tender age of eighteen.1 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized that he
needed to rally up more supporters of the movement in order to become a stronger force.
Before he reached thirty years of age he joined the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).2 Later in 1957 he joined the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference otherwise known as SCLC.3 As a result, he found that
he earned more political power by uniting with other organizations that shared similar if
not the same beliefs as his own.

One skill that many leaders of today lack is the ability to unite for a worthy cause. In
today's society there are many grassroots and national social justice organizations that
isolate themselves from one another based on social status. When this happens, it is a
clear indication that people have lost sight of the initial mission of the organization: to
bring unity. Being apart of a political organization has helped me to attain a view of the
internal issues that cause separation in organizations. Usually these organizations were
initially started on the same foundations and values. My hope for tomorrow's leaders is
that they will have the unity that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. promoted. Since the death of
Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders, many people have lost sight of the
fact that equality is a continual battle. Hopefully, tomorrows leaders will understand that
as Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his letter from Birmingham Jail that, "Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."4

I aspire to become a leader of today and tomorrow. I am saddened by the derogatory
images of women that are depicted on television, in magazines, music, and every other
source of entertainment that is geared toward youth. Why do I have to look on television
and see women that look like me being overly sexualized? When I go to school each day
I see girls my age and younger trying to fit the prototype of a 'video vixen.' When I see
this it angers me deeply because it shows that these girls believe that this is desirable and
acceptable. However, what they don't understand is that everything has the possibility of
being acceptable and desirable. On the other hand, does that make it right? My female
peers are starting to become more and more jaded. In the process they are forgetting how
hard civil rights leaders and women's rights leaders worked to give women a name that
meant more than being domesticated and constantly exploited. It doesn't make any sense
for one to exploit themselves when one could present themselves with a scholarly
confidence. The more I observe my surroundings, the more my anger turns into passion.
As a result, I want to restore what I feel is on the verge of being lost: women's honor.

Ultimately, I aspired to help create in women the ability to reach inside themselves and
discover God's purpose and plan for their individual lives and how their lives will benefit

I am a natural born feminist; however, I plan to gear my advocacy to focus on restoring
women views of themselves. I mainly would like to focus on women who have been
involved in sex trafficking. One of the long-term goals I have for my life is to establish a
safe-haven for ex-prostitutes. I would like this safe-haven to have a full staff of
empathetic women. I plan to create a positive space for these women through
empowerment workshops and rehabilitative care. I will build my refuge house for
women on the foundation of the Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change that Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. created. The workshops will infuse the themes of the 'Six Steps for
Nonviolent Social Change: Information Garnering, Education, Personal Commitment,
Negotiations, Nonviolent Direct Action, and Reconciliation.'5 My staff and I will conduct
workshops that will restore these women back to the leaders they were born to be. I
intend to build a region of unity that cannot be broken well after the women leave my
wellness center. I want to encourage these women to use their struggles as a testament to
women aspiring to be great worldwide.

I know that this dream is possible. My refuge will cause my communities violence and
sex trafficking rates to decrease dramatically. I plan to eventually open the refuge house
in cities across the nation that have a high history of prostitution. However, in order for
me to be the best leader I can be, I know that it is essential that during my college
experience I major in women and gender studies. I also want to unite with other
organizations that share the same vision for these women that I have. In the words of
Andrew Carnegie an American industrialist and philanthropist, "Teamwork is the ability
to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual
accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common
people to attain uncommon results."6




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