Barack Obama and Marcus Rashford have come together to encourage young people to shape their own destinies and the societies in which they live. The former US president and Manchester United and England forward met at a Zoom meeting hosted by Penguin Books, and posted on YouTube on Friday, to discuss the motivations behind your own activism and your enthusiasm for inspiring others to create change.
“What I want young people to see is that even at the highest levels of power, where I’m sitting with world leaders and we’re trying to design a program to tackle climate change or end a war or tackle a major world economic crisis, they are still only human, “Obama said. “It’s still just people. Very often, for many young people, particularly young people who are poor or do not come from well-connected families or young people of color or women or people of different sexual orientation, we often feel like outsiders, not sure we belong on the drinking table. those decisions.
“But the fact is, the people who make the decisions are not smarter than you. They are not endowed in any way with some special gifts. They may have had opportunities and been exposed to things that you didn’t have, but you can get them. I wanted young people to see my journey to understand that they belong to those rooms and to those tables where decisions are also made ”.
Obama, 59, said Rashford is “ahead of where I was at 23,” and praised the footballer for being smart enough to ask “how can I give back?” Rashford led a campaign to tackle child poverty in the UK last year, successfully lobbying the government to back down on its refusal to provide free school meals to the most vulnerable. Next month she will launch a book club to encourage children to explore through reading.
“I really feel like if you give someone a hand at a young age, they’ll continue to do things that even they didn’t think were achievable,” Rashford said. “For me, it’s just putting them in the right direction and allowing them to go and do bigger things than anyone could ever imagine.”
“Nobody is destined to be president, nobody is destined to have an impact,” Obama said. “It’s a matter of you taking the risk, taking the chance that maybe you can make a difference.”
“What I’m telling young people is that whatever profession they choose to have, they still have the ability to give back and make a difference,” Obama continued. “If you want to be a journalist, there is journalism that is designed to excite and make people passive and ignorant, or there is journalism that focuses people on issues that are important and gives them information and empowers them. If you go into a business, you have decisions to make: is your business one that treats workers fairly and is environmentally conscious and does the right thing for the community you are in? Or is it exploitative? If you decide to enter public service, you can do so in government, but you can also do so through non-profit organizations.
“It’s the accumulation of people doing little positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism