Crime has consistently been a major challenge for decades in New York City and other urban communities around the world, with young men of color being disproportionate victims as well as offenders. Reports prevail of young black men being more likely to be at the wrong end of a homicide than their white counterparts, especially during a time where substantial educational and employment resources have become less and less accessible.
A shooting in 2007 brought two young women together for a common goal. Touched by the unfortunate happenings in their own Harlem neighborhood, Tiffany Bender and Alize Beal decided to be agents of change, and in 2008, founded Y.U.N.G Harlem, a non-profit organization that provides advocacy and leadership resources for the city’s youth.
The women, now 23-year-old media and marketing professionals, respectively, said enough is enough, and have dedicated their lives to empowering urban youth through interactive events, mentorship, and education. Honored as brilliant leaders by BET’s 3rd annual “Black Girls Rock” awards, best friends Bender and Beal strive to continue to provide a positive alternative for youth in urban communities to succeed.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the two power women to talk about how they turned tragedy into a movement and how other young professionals can use their skills and professional positions to spark movements of their own.
image credit: BET