"Your destiny is in your hands! It isn't in what anyone else says about you, it's in what you believe about yourself!"
Romal Tune spoke from powerful personal experience when he made that statement to the 200-plus youth who attended the Seventh Annual Young African-American Male's Conference (YAAMC) last Saturday (September 22) at Pasadena City College. Overcoming the debilitating pressures of poverty, gang life, neglect by his drug-addicted single mother, and the violent deaths of family members and friends, Tune served in the US Army and graduated with honors from Howard University and the Duke University School of Divinity.
A nationally-recognized youth advocate, ordained minister and author of the inspiring memoir, God's Graffitti, Tune told the youth conference attendees that every individual has limitless potential and can achieve personal greatness through determination and a belief in self.
"The greatest battles you will ever have start in your mind," Tune told the rapt audience of middle school and high school students. "You were born with a destiny for greatness. So, embrace your power and embrace your purpose!"
Similar themes were underscored in conference workshops (led by a battalion of local professionals and community activists) on subjects including college and career choices, health, money management, test-taking skills, employment and positive decision-making.
(For more information, go to www.RomalTune.com.)
[Cover photo courtesy of Phil Maddon. Cover design by Brother Yusef.]