(The Root) — At The Root, we believe that Black History Month is not just a time to reflect on the past; it's also a time to look forward. There's no better way to honor our ancestors than to highlight the success their hard work has wrought — embodied in the accomplishments of our young people.
That's why every year, The Root embarks on a nationwide search for 25 of the brightest African-American innovators between the ages of 16 and 22 for our annual Young Futurists list. We look for students and recent graduates who are making waves in the fields of business, green innovation, social activism, science and the arts and who use their talents to make the world a better place.
"We're helping to shape a change in culture about what young people can and cannot do," explains Charles Orgbon, a 16-year-old futurist from Dacula, Ga., who founded the environmental organization Greening Forward. "With the right support, young people can do anything."
The young men and women who make up the 2013 class represent the true promise of our country's future. There's Michael Tubbs, a 22-year-old Stanford University graduate who ran for his hometown of Stockton, Calif.'s City Council — and won — after seeing his cousin fall victim to youth violence. And Trinity Russell, a high schooler from Long Island, N.Y., who discovered key behavioral differences between laboratory-raised and wild fruit flies; her findings have major implications for researchers who use the insects in their experiments. Or Thekia Cheeseborough, a Spelman College student from Jacksonville, Fla., who, inspired by the struggles of her own young parents, created a program that connects teen moms to academic and career resources.
Every day in February, we will highlight a different futurist. Check The Root's home page daily to learn more, and click here to see the full list of 2013 Young Futurists.
Watch the video below to see a few of our futurists describe their accomplishments in their own words.