June 25, 2018

‘Always be kind’: 5 lessons from a youth activist

Razia Hutchins started her movement I AM FOR PEACE in high school; now a senior in college, she offers tried and true advice for emerging leaders.

As a sophomore in high school, Razia Hutchins organized a movement for peace in her Chicago community. She’s now a senior at the University of Missouri and still active in community organizing.

While I was in high school, I started my own initiative called I AM FOR PEACE, which focused on curbing the gun violence in the city of Chicago. Throughout the movement, I’ve learned a lot about myself as a leader and a person. Although there were so many things to learn from, here are my top 5 lessons. Hopefully this will help the next great leader to take on any obstacle they want to tackle in their community.

1. Stay true to yourself

You are going to come across people who will tell you what you “need to be doing” or even take what you designed and try to turn it into their own. However, this is YOUR idea for a reason. Always be open to taking advice from others but know that this is still your movement and no one can take that away from you.

2. Keep your real friends close to you

A real friend will always support your dreams and ideas. Keep the friends who helped take your idea to reality. They believe in you the most and will want you to win at all costs. It takes more than one wheel to move a car, so know you cannot do anything alone. Make sure to keep positivity around you.

3. Always move forward while giving back

Wherever your movement takes you, never get big headed. Remember where you came from and always humble yourself. Even if your movement takes you to bigger places in life, remember to invest back in the community that invested in you. There are people still out there who can benefit from what you have to offer. Don’t turn your back. Go out and be actively involved.

4. Never forget why you started

Whatever you decide to do in life, you’re always going to have some naysayers. Don’t let those people get you off track. Remember why you started, your end goal, and the change your movement will bring to the world. No movement is perfect, but it’s up to you to see your own goals through. Never let anyone detour you from your original goal.

5. Be genuine in your actions

Don’t be a leader who does things for show. Whatever you do, make sure it comes from your heart. Do everything with love. Also, the more genuine you are, the more people gravitate to you. Always be kind and have a heart of gold.

Razia Hutchins

Razia Hutchins is a Senior at the University of Missouri majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication. She is the President of Mizzou’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, the social-action chair of the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a student-mentor of the Alé Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Back in high school, Razia started a movement called I AM FOR PEACE, which focuses on gun violence in Chicago. Razia, alongside her friend Maurice, led a peace march advocating for all of our peers to have a peaceful summer. They led over 3,000 students, teachers and volunteers down the streets of the south side of Chicago in order to speak out because they felt gun violence was becoming too much a part of our community. Currently, Razia has an internship in Chicago at one of the top 20 advertising agencies in the world.
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