Ashley Hayes

From generation to generation, each has offered their own contribution to the world that shapes my generation's environment today.One thing I believe my generation does better than any other generation is acting on aspirations based on prior knowledge and history. My father always told me that he wants nothing more than for me to live a better life than he did; my grandmother has shared countless stories with me about how she could not get the education she wanted because she had to take care of her family; my mother always goes the extra mile when it comes to her family, losing sleep and time for herself day in and day out. I want to live a life where I can provide for myself and my family, and show them that their lives had a great influence on my drive for success.

We as a generation can look back at what our previous generations have done for us in numerous aspects of our lives, and their work inspires us to build upon it and do greater things. Frederick Douglas, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and countless others made a great impact on the modern lives of African-Americans. Not only have they paved a way for my generation, but they inspire many of us, including myself, to do great things. I always admired Martin Luther King Jr. for his outspoken willingness to say what must be said and do what needed to be done to fight for the civil rights of Black people. They both inspired me to be an advocate for social justice, civil rights and equality for all races. I had the privilege of speaking at a Black Lives Matter protest in Southfield, MI, which was the first time I publicly spoke about uplifting one another in order to move forward from and eliminate the tragedies that inflict our race. The works of previous generations motivated myself and many others to form rallies, peace walks, organizations and much more to contribute to the furtherance of the African-American race; this effort grows stronger from generation to generation and will continue to expand if my generation passes down our knowledge to inspire our children to do even greater things.