Monday, July 7, Central Park Five member Kharey Wise joined the National Action Network’s Youth Move for a moment of self-reflection. Founded by Ashley Sharpton, the weekly “Huddle” program asked its youth to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves, “Who is the real you?”
Monday night’s Huddle, held at the House of Justice in Harlem at 106 W. 145th St., focused heavily on self-image and deepening the understanding that Harlem’s youth have of themselves. The young Huddlers were asked to define the terms introvert and extrovert and to place themselves in a category they believe characterized their personalities.
What began as a simple conversation quickly morphed into a much more intimate discussion as Huddle member Nathaniel Sinckler pointed out, “If you’re too much of an extrovert and you’re not enough of an introvert, then you’re not spending enough alone time to take a look at yourself.”
“We’re going to pause for the cause,” said Huddle moderator Patrice Perry, as Kharey Wise took center stage.
“No justice!” Wise chanted into the microphone.
“No peace!” responded the Huddle.
“And when do we want it?” Wise asked.
“Now!” the Huddle answered.
“That’s right, you want to know who you are now,” said Wise. He explained that a large part of justice and peace was staying true to yourself. “Knowledge is knowing who you are, and you don’t let anybody take that away from you.”
The Huddlers were reminded that changing elements of who you are, whether as a means of survival or a longing to fit in, would ultimately lead to a “loss of self.”
“If you want to be kind, then be kind,” said Wise. “Don’t switch up. Be who you’re going to be.”
The Huddle, held every Monday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., creates an energetic and comfortable atmosphere that allows youth to meaningfully interact with tomorrow’s leaders, fellow community members, parents, mentors and teachers. While available via live stream weekly on nationalactionnetwork.net, the Youth Move encourages Harlem to come and join the action. Food and refreshments are provided for Huddle attendees.
“Be your own leader,” says Wise. “Be a good leader. Be a priceless leader.”