A couple of months ago I was asked to give a speech honoring someone who has an impact on my life and the lives of others. I chose my daughter. When I began thinking about how best to describe her “superhero” came to mind.  Most people think of superheroes as individuals with extraordinary superhuman abilities. Yet, after the year she has faced, I realized that being a superhero is so much more. Courageous, Vulnerable, Resilient, Noble. Those are just a few words I used to describe a little vivacious powerhouse named DeAnna. As I reflect, I cannot help but think about all the other youth who exhibited superhero strengthen over the last 12 months. These young people have gone through a time in history like none other.

Zahria Liggans, Teen HYPE President, Board of Directors Member, and 2021 Graduate of Cass Tech H.S.

Makai Taylor, Teen HYPE Vice President, Board of Directors Member, 2021 Graduate of CMA

DeAnna Smith, Founder of DeAnna & Co, content creator, dancer, artist, and 2021 Kindergarten Graduate










Darius Brantley Jr. ( Kid Djay) Actor/Model with The IGROUP, Youth Ambassador B.L.C.A., Recipient of the Detroit City Council Spotlight Award

They experienced constant change, social isolation, extensive losses, the removal of the veil of our systematic inequities, fear of a virus taking the lives of those around them, the trepidation of countless unknowns; yet they endured. Youth may not stop trains, wear a cape, or fly in the skies above; but like superheroes they deserve honor, accolades, and so much more. They deserve for federal, state, and local policymakers to put aside political motivations to secure an equitable future. They should never have to question if they are seen, heard, and valued as thought partners in their tomorrow. They are more than worthy of opportunities and tools to innovate and thrive. Honestly, there are not enough words to express the depth of what we must do to ensure these young people are ready for the world. So, I choose to use my last blog in Challenge Detroit to do exactly what we have been challenged to do throughout this fellowship experience… Bring truth to light. Speak truth to power. Use my skills, voice, and platform to challenge everyone who reads this to invoke social actions not simply desired but needed to build a better world for generations to come.  If youth truly matter then prove it.