"Get it right dawg, we ain't ever left. We just, moved in silence and rep to the death (yeah)It's official, I survived what I been through. Ya'll like drama. "The Saga Continues."
~ P. Diddy, Howard University Family #RevoltNation
As a young Black male whose family comes from the Englewood District on the Southside of Chicago, I was always viewed as the golden child since I had the opportunity to go to school out in the suburbs while my father worked his good government job at the United States Postal Service. Although my dad graduated from college that wasn't the norm. I grew up watching my cousins get shot and go in and out of jail. My dad however had bigger plans for me. He wanted me to go to a Blue Ribbon school named Homewood-Flossmoor (HF) High School since that's where he wanted to go but didn't have the chance.
After doing research, I found out that as a National Achievement Scholar I qualified for a full scholarship as a Laureate Scholar. After that I was pretty much sold, then In Spring of 2008, I attended Weekend at the Mecca. That was one of the most transformative weekends of my life. I remember dancing to "Oh I think they like me" in the basement of Drew Hall with the Campus pals. I also remember seeing Jewel Burke who later went on to become founder of Partpic & a Google Evangelist, and being like "Lord, this school is eveything" hahaha. I didn't even know that many Black people went to school and although the girls at my high school were pretty stellar, I had never seen so many young, intelligent, ambitious Black queens in one space as I did at Howard. They inspired my first indie hit song #Maat. I also saw my first probate at Weekend at the Mecca. Ironically it was Omega Psi Phi with the Purple and Gold which is also the colors of my ministry. ShoutOWT to the Bruhz. I never pledged for them, but many of them have acted as my bros and mentors. After Weekend at the Mecca I was hooked. I enrolled in Howard University on a full scholarship in the Fall of 2008.
Howard gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams in a way I don't believe any other university could have. It's The Mecca of Black Thought, located in the capitol of the most powerful city in the world, Washington, DC. In the 7 years since I came to DC I have worked with several DC Public Schools and community organizations, danced on several stages (including Yardfest at Homecoming with Vizion) and at a lot of parties, as well as advocated for the local residents of the District with some major victories such as an increase in the minimum wage and the decriminalization of marijuana.
My junior year at Howard in 2011, I was also able to launch Authentic Reflection LLC which was recently commissioned by both the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans and the Federal Communications Commissions. Now at just the age of 25, Klout.com ranks me as the top 1% most influential people on the internet in the fields of Faith, Activism, Charities and Nonprofits. I credit a large portion of my success to Howard University. Here I learned the art of networking and through this art I have been able to impact the world in ways I could have never imagined. I'm so proud of my HBCU and it gave me great pride to represent us in a recent meeting for the President's Advisory Board for Historically Black Colleges and Universities as we advocated for adequate federal funding for HBCUs and received a verbal agreement. Check out this article I wrote a couple of years ago titled "HU! You Know! Why HBCUs are Relevant." We are Howard & I love my HBCU. Happy Homecoming! I'll be tweeting and promoting select events. Hope to see you soon! HU! You Know!
See you. Be you. Do more.
John Harris III