Faisal Khan of Carolina Peace Center was invited on Sunday to speak to members of the African American community in Manteo about how as a community they can work on overcoming challenges dealing with poverty and the effects of it on black youth in terms of schooling and higher education.
The black population in Dare County is approximately 3,200. Poverty is high and so is the drug abuse in both the white and black communities. Discussion included the teens who drop out of high school to assist in supporting their families. Of those who do graduate, most end up staying close to home. Khan’s objective was to come up with realistic, tangible solutions that can uplift this lovely community.
He spoke to how important it is for youth to be proud of their black identity. Hard work with integrity is required for these youth to be successful in life. There needs to be a conversation between faith leaders and parents about allowing their children to be creative, to give them the liberty to follow their passions rather than be persuaded to become athletes. Khan also shed light on other, related issues; such as how too many youth are led to believe they have extraordinary limitations when, in fact, they should be reminded that they have the potential, like anyone else, to achieve their goals, and a community behind them to support them on their journeys.
Khan suggested opening a small youth center with access to computers and books for the local youth. Needed volunteers will include community members who have academic and vocational training to serve as mentors and life coaches. The center will offer training for various life skills, such as managing finances and the college application process. He will coordinate with faith leaders and parents to help make this idea a reality for Dare County’s teens.
It was truly an honor for him to meet and engage in conversation with the wonderful, strong women who are serving as leaders in their community.