Being African in America ( Panel + Event Re-cap)
Hi Smart Cookies!
Hope your week is off to a great start! Last weekend, I had the honor in participating in an awesome panel discussion about Being African In America. The 2 hour panel featured four millennial Africans and two experienced generation panelists (the American equivalent of Baby Boomers).
The panel discussion started with a request from the moderator, Jennifer Osunbor-Parr. Mrs. Parr asked each panelist to state how they identify themselves ( As an American, African, African-American etc). The first interesting insight I observed is though many of us had similar backgrounds & experiences, we each identified ourselves differently. Some identified as American, while others identified as their respective country or a hybrid of both countries.
The event served as a great conversation starter on the generational differences that exist between millennial Africans based in the US and the experienced generation. For most African millennials, their parents have always emphasized that education is a pivotal part of success. Even if an individual acquires personal wealth, many African parents believe that true success cannot happen without the pursuit of education. It is for these reasons that many parents encouraged their children to become Doctors, Scientist and Lawyers instead of pursuing creative careers such as art and music.
During the panel conversation, many millennials talked about the importance of being able to follow their dreams and how they resented the societal pressures of being pigeon holed into a few career choices. However, they empathized and understood the perspectives of the experienced generation.
From the perspective of the experienced generation, during the days they were young, Doctors, Scientist and Lawyers represented the careers that could create jobs that commanded respect and financial security. However, the experience generation did acknowledge that African Millenials have done a great job creating new lanes and metrics for success. They expressed their excitement about the cultural career shift which by acknowledging various Africans who have achieved success in fields such as sports & entertainment among others.
There were some great takeaways that any first generation millennial living in the US can ponder on/ keep in mind:
1) How are you using your current skills/ talent to help improve your country?
2) Every generation will have a different mindset/ outlook on life. That is natural, but it is important to continue these dialogues in an effort to educate each other and bring about positive change.
3) We are all one. Separating yourself by color, birthplace, experience is divisive (Summary: Promote Unity in The Community!)
Here are a few more fun pics from the event 🙂
Pictured: Me, Ms. Nabou ( Jollof Pot Radio) and Michelle Parker ( Cultured Dallas)
Pictured: Me & Stella Osondu ( Event Attendee)
Pictured: Me & Kemi ( Event Panelist)
Pictured: Me & Jennifer Osunbor-Parr ( Cultured Dallas)
Until next time time,stay smart cookies!