Why the world needs Youth Day and it’s Youth Leaders
(New Haven, Connecticut – January 14, 2012) In 2006, the City of New Haven re-joined a growing dilemma in American inner cities – Urban Gun Violence. At the time, community leaders, elected officials and law enforcement were caught off-guard as incidents involving gun crimes and
young Black males grew at steady rates. In the mists of these tragic events and crisis, Sabir Abdussabur then 12 years-old, was already in training as a Junior Instructor for CTRIBAT Institute for Social Development Inc. Sabir has been known as a “boots on the ground” youth advocate. However, his skills have far exceed lobbying.
Sabir got his start in media and film production though the CTRIBAT’s Gateway to National Prominence a media youth program that was partnered by City of New Haven, The New Haven Public Library, The New Haven Police Department, Yale University, Sea TV, and SCSU. As a youth apprentice for Sea TV, Sabir received direct instruction from Executive Producer Chip Croft and volunteer college students from SCSU. The activities of GNP as it is known, included partnering with the City of New Haven Office of Cultural Affairs in 2007 which afforded GNP students to tour the live film set of Indiana Jones, shot on Yale’s Campus.
It was clear from the first day that Sabir was an “all or nothing person.” His roots begin with his home schooling until the eighth grade where his personality and thirst for achievement transformed the youth culture of Amistad Middle. During his first year at the school, he founded Total Youth Revolution-TYR, an in school mentoring program that encouraged scholarship through arts and media. Upon arrival to Amistad High School, when many freshman were contemplating following “the crowd,” Sabir was fast at work in his “TYR Lab” writing positive rap and written curriculum.
I watched hims as he struggled to recruit students into this new way of youth thinking and often had to remind him that sometimes it is hard to sell your vision to others even if it is their only future. Sabir never stopped pushing forward. Community leaders have coined him “a head of his time.”
He has felt the personal impact of the city’s gun violence though the lost of friends he made through CTRIBAT Summer Leadership Retreats. In 2009, Sabir made his first music publication when the New Haven Register featured his rap song called “Dystopia” about an 8 year-old girl who was shot in the city.
In January of 2010, Sabir set a new high in the city. He band together with childhood “big brother” Ibrahim Qawiyy to found a new endeavor known as “Youth Day.” The event drew 300 plus at the New Haven Public Main Library on a chilly Saturday afternoon. His impeccable networking skills drew community leaders, elected officials, police, social developer, educators and of course a host of youth. In the same year he seal his legacy at Amistad High School by creating and designing a school curriculum based on the objectives of TYR. He played an instrumental role in recommending two staff instructors to teach the classes in school. Sabir began a full-scale campaign to assemble youth based on their common love for arts and humanities. His ‘no non-scene” approach to the arts maintains a productive environment for his youth movement.
During the end of 2010 and part of 2011 he was forced to put more energy into his junior year in preparing his grades for college. In the summer of 2011, Sabir began to plan Youth Day 2012. He insisted that this Youth Day be even better and bigger than the first. His mother and I told him to plan ahead and apply to colleges before December so that he could get early acceptance replies. He listened to us and by December he had began to receive acceptance letters to colleges he applied to even his #2 choice. He continued to work hard on Youth Day 2012 and had now formed an army of arts and media youth. This year his 15 year-old brother Ismail Abdussabur signed on as an organizer. The significant of this youth movement is that they are college bound. This past week I met some of the administrators of Youth Day who have applied to Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Youth Leaders in the making!
The uniqueness of Youth Day is that it is a youth driven program with a solid infrastructure unlike another. With the Youth Day countdown having begun in December, it is now Youth Day Eve. The atmosphere is one of excitement and joy. Youth all over the city are rehearsing their lines, picking out their clothes, getting on the best “shine” for the lights-camera-action!
Now get up and join these youth today at Youth Day 2012. Come to the Main Library at 133 Elm Street, New Haven. The event begins at 11:00am and will run until 6:00pm. Make sure you Tweet about it and get it out in FB.