Launch is about providing resources, and encouraging ambitious young adults to reach their potential, earn a living doing what they love, and creating work that matters. So, for this first week of November (2014), I am highlighting some young people who are doing just that. Each day this week I will be posting about a person, group, or family who has studied their craft, worked hard, and achieved merits and/or is using their platform to realize their dreams, make a positive impact, or to lend their voice to a cause.
I’ve always been a sports fan. I much preferred sports over makeup, and because I come from such a large, athletic family, I always felt comfortable being a female athlete. My mom enrolled me in the Philadelphia School for Dance Arts (Philadanco) at age 5 and that was the beginning of my love for creative expression, dance arts, and sports. My room and notebooks were covered with pictures of female athletes like Nancy Kerrigan, Gabrielle Reece, Dawn Staley, and Steffi Graf (googlem).
We all know how important it is and how much of an impact it has when, as a young child, you have role models and people to look up to. We also know that it isn’t easy to put in hours of work to get better at something, and that it takes a crazy amount of discipline to do well in school and in athletics. I chose the four young women pictured above because not only have they shown us what is possible with hard work and determination, but they have done so with so much grace, class, and style, that they deserve to highlighted.
I chose female athletes because athletics and sports is a male-dominated industry and the balance of celebrating male and female athletes has yet to be realized. I chose three African-American young ladies for the same reason, and because they are three people who would have certainly earned space on my wall, as a child.
Mo’ne is a 13-year old honor roll student, athlete, and Philadelphia native. Mo’ne became well-known this past summer as the first female to pitch a shutout in little league baseball and the first girl to win in little league baseball history. She is the first little league player to have be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Mo’ne is also a point guard for her basketball team, and she continues to prove that ‘throwing like a girl’ is something to aspire to. Hear more about Mo’ne in this short documentary.
Misty Copeland started dancing at age 13, and her journey to being a soloist in the American Ballet Theater wasn’t easy. From being told she doesn’t have the ‘right body type’ to dance ballet, to the racism she often experiences, Misty continues to persevere. In her new ad, rejection letters that Misty received, are read as she dances; showing her strength, as well as displaying what is possible if you don’t allow anyone to deter you from reaching your goals. You can check out the commercial, below.
Gabrielle is a world champion & Olympic gold medal gymnast. At an early age she began winning competitions and made a difficult move away from her family for training. Gabrielle is the first African-American woman to win the all-around event in an Olympics and the first American to win gold in her individual and team events. Gabrielle hasn’t let racism, or the absence of her father slow her down or keep her from realizing her dreams. She’s glad to be able to use her platform to inspire others.