Friday, June 02, 2006

"Spark the mind that will change the world."

By: Nasir Al-Amin

"I may not be able to change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the mind that will change the world." (Tupac)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a panelist at Millennium High School’s career day fair. I was pleasantly surprised as I arrived at Millennium, situated in Wall Street, I noticed some students were having a canned food drive. Engaging youth in acts of social welfare is vital to nurturing the seeds of civic responsibility. This was the aim of my presentation, to convey a message that regardless of the profession they choose, they should look to see how their career, skills, talents and creativity could be used to affect change in the world.

During one segment I inquired if any of students could guess the number of children engaged in child labor globally? I received a number of figures, with the highest being 2 hundred million. They were shocked when I informed them that there are approximately 246 million children engaged in child labor. Ultimately, any time I’m afforded the opportunity to speak, it’s really an opportunity to raise awareness about the plight of orphans and vulnerable children. In the words of Tupac:
"I may not be able to change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the mind that will change the world."

Below are EXCERPTS from the speech I delivered:

By Nasir Al-Amin
I’m honored to have the opportunity to speak to you today.

I am here today because:
AIDS has rendered an estimated 13 million children orphans. By 2010, approximately 25 million children will have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS.

I am here today because:
Globally an estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labor, and each year approximately 1.2 million children are trafficked, and annually“over a million children enter the sex trade.”

I am here today because:
Half a million children in Ethiopia die each year from malnutrition and disease

So my purpose is to awaken in all of you the spirit to dream, create and persevere. To encourage you all to choose a path in life that will affect change in the world. Whether it’s a domestic or international issue such as HIV/AIDS, Child Labor, Child prostitution, parity in education and the health care system, or issues of racism and discrimination, choose an issue, saturate your mind and heart with information about those adversely affected by that particular issue and strive to affect change.

This brief outline is in essence, is the blueprint to my life: a life that enjoys both ease and hardship, but respects the necessity of both. A life that is a success, as I define success—not as popular media or the norms of this society defines success. Which leads me to my second point that I want to leave you with: Define for yourself what a successful life is, and constantly reflect and redefine your definition. The point is to remain the author, the definer.

So the two salient points I want to leave you with are the following:
1. First, educate yourself about an issue you have a passion for. Then dream, create and persevere.
2. Define for yourself what a successful life looks like.

For myself, my passion is aiding orphans and vulnerable children, specifically in Ethiopia. Additionally, I define a successful life as merely the culmination of successful days and a successful day is one in which I’ve made efforts at alleviating the suffering of others.

In closing, as future agents of change, I pray that you all are successful in your endeavors and that the world will benefit from your dreams, creativity and perseverance.


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