Miles Ezeilo: Future Howard Bison

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 I got in. I got in I got in I got in I got in I GOT IN!!!!!!!

 

After five years of working towards my dream school, the light at the end of the tunnel is closer and brighter than it has ever been. I have been accepted into Howard University’s class of 2021. It’s a surreal feeling, to say the least. With every late-night study session, every volunteer hour and every extracurricular activity, despite my schedule being hectic, in the back of my head I always thought “Howard will make this all worth it”. Since eighth grade I’ve had this school in my sights, and now it’s only 7 months away from becoming a reality. Excitement is an understatement.

Especially with Donald Trump’s presidential election, being at Howard is even more important to me. While I will be down the street from him in D.C (yikes), I know that Howard will be just what I need during these next four years. No more hyper-conservative “All Lives/Blue Lives/ Not Black Lives Matter” people will I have to face. Instead I will be fed nothing but knowledge of the world around me, my people, and what I can do to change it for the better. It’s almost as if Howard, or any HBCU is the protective shield every young black American needs. Perfect timing, if you ask me.

I can’t thank enough people who got me to this place in my life. Mom and dad, you’ve been my motivation in more ways than one. Besides literally telling me I need to work on college essays and getting on me about my grades, your presence and success alone provided the example I needed to keep working hard. I love y’all. I also want to thank all my aunt’s and uncle’s and cousins and grandparents and friends of the family for helping me all of these years. Whether through example of your achievements, words of wisdom, or just positivity towards everyone around you, you have all been a huge part in how I’m here. Your help meant and still means so much to me and I’ll be sure to never let you guys down.

It feels weird sometimes, to be honest, when I think about the next chapter of my life. For four years I’ve been working on achieving this goal through school and my outside life. Now that the next step is moving closer and closer, it’s kind of strange to know that so much will change. My current routine, my habits and my norms will all be different, and I can’t lie it’s scary sometimes. However, I know that with a strong foundation behind me and a thirst to learn and grow, success and happiness is in the future. I just know it.

 

I just wanted to express how I’m feeling and give thanks the right way to all the people who’ve helped me get here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. I’ll make sure to keep you updated as I go through my journey.

 

HU !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

 

YOU KNOW!!!!!!!

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1 Year TDL

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 The date of February 14th, 2015 had a lot more meaning that I realized, for more reasons than one. The first reason was obviously this year’s Valentines Day. The second reason was  this year’s All-Star Saturday Night for the NBA (duh), in which three point and dunk contests filled my eyes with joy.  Both of these events/holidays are ones I enjoy, for not only do I enjoy basketball, but I thoroughly enjoy  being happy with the people I love. Needless to say, both of these events this year did not disappoint in making my February 14th a great one.

      But the last reason that February 14th, 2015 had so much meaning to me, is that it marks the 1-year anniversary of the start of The Darker Lens. Wow.

       It’s hard finding words on how much this blog has done to my life over the course of this year. For starters, I got to be on a panel for the White House on how to help black boys due to one of my first posts on Jordan Davis.  As well as this I also got to go to London due to the help of all of my family and friends through this blog (with the help of Go Fund Me), which ended up being one of the bests trips of my life. But in addition to this, I also gained something from this blog that no trip or opportunity can surmount. This blog gave me a voice.

       Hopefully this blog has, and will continue to succeed in its mission of informing as many people as possible of what goes on in a black teenage boy’s mind, for we have obviously been frequently misunderstood, which leads to decisions and actions that aren’t for the best. This is what I hope for the most, for in my opinion, if these politicians and judges and policemen had an inkling of our true thoughts and intentions, then maybe these tragedies that I see all the time will start to go away.  But even with that being said, this blog is more than just a microphone.

       This blog has given me a chance to truly express myself in ways that internal thoughts can’t. As soon as I see the ” Add New Post” prompt on my laptop, something lights up in the back of my head, and I get this feeling unlike anything I can describe. Maybe it’s the same when a painter looks at a canvas, or when an entertainer looks at a microphone and an audience, but it’s definitely a feeling I love. Whenever I bring myself back to the question of what my future career will be, all I need to see is that prompt and I remember all over again: I want to be a writer. Because of this blog I’ve had the chance to voice my opinions on topics like some of my favorite music, sports, TV, as well as many stories related to the topic of the moment. It’s calmed me down in times of anger and frustration, and it’s inspired me to think about things in a different light. All of this came from a simple idea my parents and I had one year ago.

    So even though I’m technically a day late, today I want to thank everyone who has ever read my blog, all of my friends and family, and the people who have inspired me and pushed me to do this. I love you all for it,  I’m thankful, and I hope for many more anniversaries of The Darker Lens in the future.  

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My Experience: The African American Excellence Summit

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In this day and age, especially as a teenager, I get the constant feeling that my opinion doesn’t matter. Whether it’s dealing with issues concerning my family, or suggesting ideas in the classroom, I always feel like my ideas are…dismissed. And this statement is especially true most of the time, sadly, due to the color of my skin. Not with my family, but at times I feel like teachers and people I encounter that aren’t black, act like I’m incapable of making my own thoughts or expressing myself. Not only does this anger me, but it makes me a little scared to think that there are people who think this way, when we currently have an African-American president. I could go on for a while about this, but I’ll save it for another post. Anyway, imagine my excitement  when I get an email that I have been asked to take part in a panel on African American Educational Excellence at Morehouse College on behalf of the White House! The panel I was on was literally made to see how Black boys and young men felt on issues concerning them, and how adults can help us on the problems we face. It was so fitting to some of the problems I face,  that I thought it was actually a joke. “Yeah right, so I’m probably going to ride on Air Force One to meet with the President for lunch afterwards, right?” But then, I asked my parents about it, and sure enough, it was happening.

        My first reaction was excitement, but the more I thought about how important this was, my emotions quickly turned into nervousness. The Summit was postponed briefly due to weather problems, but that didn’t stop me from constantly thinking about what I have to say and all the things that can go wrong. What if I start to sweat a lot on stage? What if I can’t answer any of the questions? What if I look stupid!  All of this was swimming through my head as the days leading up to the summit were ticking away. But as I sat on my couch on the night before the summit, my dad gave my the best advice I could have gotten. He said:

“This entire panel is about people like you. You don’t have to make things up or memorize things. Just speak from the heart. That’s what they want.”

And with that, I felt ready to take part in this experience.

        And after all the anticipation, and the weeks and weeks of wondering what’s going to happen, I’m glad to say that it went very well. I felt the energy in the room, as the panelists and I answered all the questions we were asked with fluidity and relaxation. We were asked questions like “how do stereotypes affect the way you live”, all the way to “what is the one thing that adults can do to support black males”. To be honest, it didn’t even feel like a “panel”. It simply felt like a conversation between the panelists and the moderator, Nick Chiles (I liked him… a lot) . The audience wasn’t intimidating at all, and their questions in the Q&A were thought-provoking.  And one of the bests parts, was that I even got to plug  thedarkerlens! I felt like I could be up there all day, but there was a different panel after us. And it was during that panel, that I learned one of the most important messages of the entire day.

        The next panel was about how Black men can have success in college. It was an electric and exciting panel to watch, and I learned a lot of statistics and opinions that can really benefit me down the road. But what I got the most from that panel, was the importance to go to a Historically Black College. All these panelists, mainly men, were all alumni of an HBCU. What was great about that, was the fact that all of them were SO SMART. Like, it was overwhelming how smart these people were. From professors, to  graduated seniors of HBCU’s, all of these people were incredibly intelligent. And honestly, it was refreshing to see. Too many times in the media and on the news, I see the stereotypical depiction of a black man who is either barely literate, or a convict. This panel was a great reminder that there are still brilliant black males in the world, and that it is possible to be around them through HBCU’s. And that’s, to me, why it is so important to go to a HBCU. Whether it’s Morehouse, Howard, Hampton, or any other college, it needs to be a place where I can be around and learn from smart black men. And hopefully, I can become one in the future.

 

 

Me (on the far left chair) at the Summit.

Me (on the far left chair) at the Summit.

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