They hail from Oxnard, Calif., to Portland, Maine, and several spots in between. They are scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and agents of social change. The Root's 2012 Young Futurists are our future.
After a nationwide search, The Root's staff selected these 25 African-American innovators, ages 16 to 22, for its second annual list. This year's Young Futurists are working in their own unique ways to make our world a better place in the fields of green innovation, science and technology, arts and culture, social activism and business enterprise.
Many of them meld their concern for their communities or the world at large with their own academic or professional interests — whether it's Ariel Harden, a science major from Spelman College who was inspired, after seeing her mom struggle with cancer, to find a way to make treatments less harrowing. Or Brandon Turner, a 2012 Rhodes scholar who wants to use his research to stamp out diseases that disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities. Through her jewelry company, Shomari Patterson donates jewelry-making kits to a shelter for women rescued from the sex trade.
Black History Month is a time to celebrate our past and look to our future. There is no better moment than now to highlight the accomplishments of these extraordinary young people. We will feature one 2012 Young Futurist every day in February.
Click here to see the entire list of finalists, and watch the video below to hear a few of them talk about their accomplishments in their own words. We hope you'll spread the word about them by sharing the profiles using the Twitter, Facebook and Google+ buttons on each one.