History in the Making: Ms. Kenya McKnight-Ahad
This month, YouthLink is celebrating Black History Month by showcasing some of the amazing women in our community.
I identify as: a Black Woman
What I do at YouthLink:
- I work with Black females on self-empowerment by exposing them to career opportunities in various industries.
- I expose the young ladies to dynamic Black women in the community, providing them access to new opportunities & relationships with people in the larger community.
- I listen to their ideas and thoughts about life and the world around them while offering support where and how I’m able.
- Ultimately, my goal is to help them see and believe in the beauty and potential inside of themselves that will inspire them to go out in the world to be and do whatever amazing work they envision doing.
What does being a woman of color/black woman mean to you?
Being a Black woman, for me, means that I inherited lots of strength, power, and responsibility in the world. We are very unique, resilient women who have survived and thrived through many challenges over the past 400 years in America. It’s amazing that we are still here—yet through it all Black women have been very important sources of strength and power that have helped the entire Black community survive. Truly, we’ve been the backbone of America.
We lead the world of women, even though we’re not always given the respect and acknowledgment we deserve. Black women have been inspirational and important to the women’s movement in America—and worldwide. We taught women how to stand up and fight and lead in all areas. Black people were the first people of the earth to ever exist, which means Black women were the first women of the earth.
Black women come in all shapes and shades of beauty! We invented so much and continue to set trends across the world; we’re very, very powerful—and very important to the future of the black community!
All of these things, and more, make us very exceptional women regardless to the challenges we face. I am very proud to be a Black woman—I would not want to be anyone else in the world!
Black History Month means to me:
Black history month is a time for us to learn about our people, our history, and our culture—and to remember the contributions we have made, and continue to make, in America and across the world.
We celebrate ourselves every day, but this month is especially important and brings us together more to focus on ourselves as a people. When we learn more about ourselves, we can be so inspired at the greatness that we come from—we are a great people! We have a good and strong legacy in America.
Our people built America and invented many of the everyday things we use today, such as:
- Automatic elevator doors,
- Potato chips,
- Traffic lights,
- Clothes dryers,
- Modern tricycles,
- And so much more!
We are MUCH greater than the news and world makes us feel, which is why celebrating Black History Month—and learning about our culture—is so very important.
During Black History Month, there are so many celebrations, discussions, and events; it’s a perfect time to study ourselves, learn more about our history, and work towards our future.
What I would like for my community to know is:
- Don’t base your life on the negative things people say about you or on how the media or the world makes you feel.
- Remember that you’re in control of your own life and that the Creator is your only superior! No one else is above you, regardless of what they may say.
- Love and respect your parents always—even if you have to do so from a distance (for sure, take care of yourself at all times).
- We are our greatest strength and our greatest resource, 2017 and beyond will be a very different time for many of us considering all of the changes that have already been made and those that will be made. Don’t panic; we will be just fine! This is a time to get even more focused on the future of our lives, and we must make critical decisions that will help us get to the next level.
- We also MUST learn to respect one another and work with one another a lot more than we have before—we will only be as successful as our ability to work together.
- It is time for us to embrace cooperative thinking again. We must collaborate with one another on almost everything; it will help us save and survive. For example: what would happen if 5 women each put $25 up towards buying Pampers? That would $125—and they would be able to buy a lot more Pampers with $125 than they would with $25. Those 5 women can split the Pampers between everyone and still have enough—and you can use this same model with milk and other things you use everyday. This is just a small example of the types of thing we will have to do. We must believe strongly in group economics for Black people and encourage everyone to think about how we can work better with one another to help each other be successful.
- Share the things you know with each other and help each other. That is the only way we will make it through these hard times.
- Most of all, I want you to know that I love you and believe in each of your abilities to be successful and courageous in the world.