At the U.N.: ‘As a Young Global Leader; I am Servant of My People’

By Isaac Bayoh, 2019 Luce 24 Under 24 Award Recipient

“The future belongs to those who believe
in the beauty of their dreams” – Roosevelt

 

New York, N.Y. Mirrors exist to show our outer appearance but nothing beyond that. Only our actions, words, and ideas could represent the personal qualities that matter. The real worth of a person is revealed in those glimpses of light in the midst of adversity and darkness.- ‘This’ is the power of a young global leader!

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Some say leaders are born. Others say leaders are modeled. Throughout history, leaders have forged new paths for others to follow. As a young global leader; I am a servant of my people. Growing up, I overcame a series of hardships and on the way accepted that life is not a straight path bedded with roses. I looked at the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat as it was a microscope to view the galaxies of determination and success that existed on the pinpoint of my mind.

I don’t just see poverty; I see possibility! And growing up in Sierra Leone has taught me to look beyond the mundane and see the power of “What’s Possible.”

Behind a healthy newborn in the poorest areas of Sierra Leone is ‘promoting safer childbirth.’ Behind a lucrative crop harvest in Mali is ‘pioneering research in sustainable farming.’ For every worker in the global south is ‘mass transit that reduces pollution.’

For every girl that graduates college in Sierra Leone is ‘paving the path on reduced inequality and amping-up awareness in gender equality.’ For every mouth fed in a remote village is an ‘exploring step toward achieving Zero-Hunger.’ And for every city on earth that celebrates LGBTQ pride, is a boy and girl who was brave enough to stand up for their truth and love a little louder.

This is the power Young Global Leadership brings to our pale blue dot.

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Amidst the problems we face, so overwhelming, so complicated, so pressing; and no simple answers. We worry. But I have hope. Hope in people and hope that we will bind together in faith and heart during times of crisis to swiftly meet the needs of those in distress. That our governments will be more responsive; more effective.

I have hope because Young Global Leaders have transformative ideas, the ability to act, and a long track record of development impact to lift low-income countries and their people out of poverty. As one of the many young people who are at the center of their nation’s programs and policies, I honestly believe that investment in Young Global Leadership development is key to national development in every nation.

Young Global Leadership is critical because we are best poised to advocate for our needs; First, we have the desire and willingness to be uncomfortable. The only way to be impactful is to be uncomfortable. We are willing to put ourselves out there, have tough conversations and call out politicians who receive funding from the NRA. We are looking at a country that is more divided than we’ve ever remembered. We’re realizing we have to have these hard, uncomfortable positions if we want to make an impact and move the needle forward on any issue.

Second, we see intersectionality as a key to change. Intersectionality recognizes the idea that class, race, gender, sexual orientation and disability do not exist separate from one another. Instead, they are deeply interwoven and even intersect for some marginalized groups of people. Young leaders understand that it’s not just about school safety. It’s about protecting everyone who’s threatened by gun violence, including women, transgender individuals and People of Color.

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Third, we know the difference between being an ally and an accomplice. Don’t know the difference? Then there’s one big one: action. An ally may believe showing their support on Twitter or showing up to a few marches accounts for activism. As accomplices we sit at the table with changemakers, and when we recognize key people who are affected aren’t sitting there, too, we invite them. Even if it means giving up our privilege to give another person a voice.

Fourth, we recognize the daily opportunity to make change. Impacting the world is a big job to take on, and as a result, some older generations (who may have lived through stagnant and depressive times) see it as complex and beyond their control. Young leaders don’t make it complicated, and we recognize the daily opportunity to share our voice and spread change instead.

Leaders like Zyahna Bryant, who started her activism career by posting homemade signs that read, “Justice for Trayvon,” in her front yard. She had no idea this small gesture would eventually lead her to successfully petitioning the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville; And this is how we can all make a difference in our day-to-day interactions: When you go home and sit at dinner and you have people in your family who are bias, discriminatory and racist, you must challenge them. Don’t just sit in silence and feel uncomfortable. That’s not helping us.

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And Fifth, we own our title as “the future.” Young people are the future, and our generation of teens and in-betweens aren’t afraid to own that. We know it’s only a short amount of time before our vote (and not just our voice) will be heard. According to Times, “The 2020 election is projected to mark the first time in more than 40 years that baby boomers aren’t the largest generation of eligible voters.”

That’s right: we millennials have a chance to control the polls. “Increasingly, you’re going to see black and brown voices elevated in almost every industry. As it relates to women, you’re going to see more young women stepping up, and you’re going to see a lot more women of color taking reigns in local office, statewide office and in congress speaking boldly and unapologetically—like Congresswoman Maxine Waters says, ‘Reclaiming their time.’

As a leader, I have fallen countless times, but I grow from my experiences and become stronger through the grace of God. To me, challenges aren’t roadblocks, they are opportunities. I don’t make excuses, I take ownership and I am not limited by my actions. My performance of leadership is measured by the people who look up to me, how I inspire them and how I engage them. So Watch out world!

There’s an entire generation of leaders who are ready to be uncomfortable, recognize intersectionality, act as accomplices, make daily change and own our title as “the future”—all while taking a killer selfie. Hopefully you will be there to embrace us and foster the best we have to offer.

Isaac Bayoh
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Isaac, a Permanent Youth Representative at the United Nations, is a passionately articulate young leader. Isaac believes every girl has the right to go to school, stay safe from violence, access health services, and fully participate in her community. He also believes that every girl has the right to be in charge of her future and her fate. Isaac is not only committed to empowering women and girls but also committed to empowering others who are suppressed, including those whose sexual and gender orientation is not accepted by the cultural majority.

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Ticket Reservations
Ticket(s) in advance are available at $48 each, tax-deductible and may be paid online via: http://tiny.cc/SummerSoiree2019 (or TEXT “Luce24” to 91999). Checks payable to The J. Luce Foundation may be sent to 540 Main St. #418, New York, N.Y. 10044. If you are unable to attend, please consider donating a ticket to sponsor one of our Young Global Leaders.

About The J. Luce Foundation
The Mission of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, Inc. (www.LuceFoundation.org) is to support young global leadership impacting positive social change, particularly in the fields of the Arts, Education and Orphan Care. Related charities include Orphans International Worldwide (OIW) and The New York Global Leaders Lions Club, both founded by Jim Luce, born July 24, 1959. 

See:
 July 24th, J. Luce Foundations 20th Annual Summer Soirée (7/19)
‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Summer Soirée Set for July 24 at the China Institute (6/19)
J. Luce Foundation Announces First ‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Awards (5/19)
J. Luce Leadership Team Lauded by Forbes, Gates, Ford Foundation (9/18)

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The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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