Black Millennials: We Need Your Presence, Not Just Your Success

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Black MillenialsI feel like everyday I am clicking through articles that offer some really compelling analytics about where Millennials, including black and brown ones, are moving after college and graduate school. Cities like New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco seem to always be rivaling one another to be the mecca of the young and educated. While I am less concerned about where White Millennials are moving, I am in fact consumed by where Black Millennials are moving after their educations.

Today, we have more educated Black folks then ever, so it’s important for us to pay attention to where our most gifted and talented are laying roots. Understandably living in these newly gentrified, coffee shop-lined, yoga-in the-park cities like Brooklyn and Boston represent a physical ascendance to the urban middle-class for many young Blacks. My concern however, is that as young, successful, and educated Black Millennials we never forget how impactful our presence is. Many of us can identify as being labeled as the ones “who made it out.” While those distant stories of success may prove as a source of inspiration for some young people sitting in classrooms across urban America, your actual presence in these communities dwarfs that inspiration as living proof.

I am not asking Black Millennials across the country to flock to the most violent, poor, and disadvantaged neighborhoods, but I am asking you to be conscious of where you decide to sign a lease, lay roots, and ultimately where you decide to have your presence. These gentrified zones that we tend to migrate to as an “escape” don’t need us as much as they need the incomes associated with us.

However, there are cities and neighborhoods across this country that are desperate for the presence of strong and successful men and women of color. Don’t underestimate the impact you can have on a Black boy or girl watching you go to work everyday, carrying yourself with dignity, and unconsciously exuding a sense of Black Excellence. These cities like Detroit, and neighborhoods like Roxbury in Boston may not be the most glamorous, but they will be the most appreciative.

Read more at the Huffington Post.