Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” When he unknowingly signed onto the fight for civil rights for “Negroes,” he had no idea the hope he brought to those who’d been down trodden so long they didn’t know where to find “up.” Without the bells and whistles, the prizes and accolades, the parades and most recently, the Memorial in his honor, a young Martin Luther King, new to the pastorate, allowed his life to count for something. When asked to stand up, he did. When asked to speak out, he did. When asked to push against the establishment, he did. While we’re sure he’d be grateful for the admiration his name and legacy currently receive, we’re equally sure he’d advise us to look around for signs of hope in our own community, young people who make us proud.

They may not even know yet what their contribution will be. They may not be aware of the offering they bring to the table. But the community at large has a responsibility to urge them on and give them the support they need to accomplish their goals. We asked our writers and some others outside the AFRO family to tell us what young people, 30 and under, give them hope for a qualitative future.