In the midst of violence in Chicago, they do not conform. They rock! While some are standing on the street corners, pants down to their thighs, smoking weed, popping mollys, drinking lean; in total self-destruction mode, They rock! Drinking, drugging, killing, stealing and abusing life. But, not this select group - They rock!
Lacking respect for oneself, family, and community. Misrepresenting the image and character of their peers with selfish, degrading acts of foolishness! But, not this group - They rock!
Some reside in Club I.D.O.C., living at 26 and California, Dixon Correctional Center, Vienna Correctional Facility, Juvenile Detention Center - just to name a few. But, not this group! In the midst of it all, they have sustained themselves. They rock!
And the nominees/winners are.....Avion S.-C., Malachi T.G., and Elijah P.D. These young men represent part one of a series of articles to come, as well as a future Chicago land event honoring young brothers who rock. They were asked several questions about why they rock. Enjoy reading their stories.
Avion S.-C. : Avion is 19 years of age. He is a hard worker, extremely confident, and refuses to let obstacles and negativity hinder him from the path he has set for himself. Avion is an Energy Consultant for International Marketing Concepts. During his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching his favorite movies, Grease and Warrior; playing basketball, engaging in a game of chess, and spending quality time with his daughter. Avion states: 'My daughter is my greatest inspiration. She motivates me; and I work hard to make life better for her.' His older brother, Davion, is his role model because they share the same dreams; and he is currently doing things he aspires to do, such as studying Criminal Justice.
Avion's vision of a perfect society is one that has a positive atmosphere with people making healthy choices. He states: 'This society would have programs to motivate youth and story telling by elders to inspire youth.' When asked what super hero powers would he want to possess, He stated: 'the power to self-heal and not be destroyed by anyone nor anything - like an adamantine skeleton (wolverine).' Additionally, if he could meet anyone dead or alive, he states it would be Tracy McGrady. He states: 'I like his style, attitude, and aggressiveness. He is my favorite basketball player.'
Lastly, Avion was asked about his plans within the next three to five years. He reports that he plans to attend the police academy, become a police officer, live on his own with his daughter; and take her to Disney World.
Mr. Avion S.-C., you rock!
Malachi T.G.: Malachi is a 16 year old Junior at Whitney Young H.S. He holds a 4.06 grade point average and is a recent track team member. He is ambitious and extremely confident. He states: 'You can put me in the jungle with wild animals, and mean it for bad; But, I'm coming out with a chinchilla coat!' (inspired by P. Diddy's character in Notorious Big movie). Malachi enjoys browsing the internet for readings on health and wellness, dieting, body building, and things that he aspires to have in the future - cars, houses, expensive clothing, etc. When asked who inspires and motivates him, he stated: 'My mom - She's a single mother who is so supportive of me. She has attended all my games and activities. It is because of her that I don't feel as much of a void with the loss of my father.'
When asked about his idea of a perfect society, he states: 'Society can't be perfect. There will always be flaws, even if everyone is naive to it.' Additionally, Examiner asked Malachi what super hero powers he would want to have if given the opportunity to do so. Malachi said he would want the power of 'infinite knowledge.'
If Malachi could meet anyone, dead or alive, he states it would be his late father. He tells Examiner that he would ask him why he didn't fight harder for his life, during surgery, after being a victim of gun violence. As the interview concluded, Examiner wanted to know what he would say to peers who have lost their way and are traveling a road of destruction. Malachi states: 'You only have one life to live; but your legacy will live on forever. How do you want to be remembered?'
In the next three to five years, Malachi envisions himself in college with an internship at an elite corporation such as Nike, Disney, McDonald's Corporation, etc.
Mr. Malachi T.G., you rock!
Elijah P.D. : Elijah is a 16 year old Sophomore at Urban Prep High School, and ranks number eight out of a class of 104 Sophomores. He plays basketball; and stands over six feet tall. Elijah is a strong leader and is not afraid to step outside the box. On his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, hanging out with friends, and writing. When asked who inspires or motivates him, he states: 'My dad because I admire the fact that he started his own clothing line called BlackI Peas.' Elijah went on to say that his late father is the person he would want to converse with if given one more opportunity to do so. He states: 'I would let him know that I plan to keep his legacy alive.'
When asked about his idea of a perfect society, Elijah says it would be a society where there are no murders, sexism, nor prejudice. He goes on to say that if he could have the powers of a super hero, he would have the power to 'environmentally adapt no matter where life takes him.' In concluding the interview, Examiner asked what he would say to his peers who are on the wrong track. He states: 'You don't have to do wrong because you witness it from others. Purely acting on curiosity can lead you to a road of destruction.'
In the next three to five years, Elijah envisions himself in college, on the dean's list, and in the college basketball program.
Mr. Elijah P.D., you rock!
If you would like a young man to be featured in future series of this article, email his contact information to email@example.com. Please include 200 - 250 words about why he rocks. He must be between the ages of 14 - 25. This article series is committed to acknowledging young men who are living a positive life style and defeating the odds.