When I met Kenyatta Parker over 25 years ago, I thought he was one of the most charming, kind and respectful young men I’d encountered in a long time. Balancing athletics and academics with limitless finesse, he’d already started paving the way for a lifetime of service. What garnered my attention nearly three decades later was his acute awareness of a subject that is near and dear to my heart – sensing – and responding – to the pain of others.
As an African-American male, Kenyatta saw and experienced numerous injustices in communities of color, and questioned the rationale, repercussions and reconciliation of situations that were clearly inhumane. Aware of the option to lash out, he instead channeled his efforts into positive interventions, mentoring, open dialogue and later, a non-profit organization that bolstered his efforts towards alleviating pain.
I am duly proud of this April Dreamcatcher because his love for his family resonates as greatly as his love for others. Kenyatta consistently endeavors to build bridges, awareness and relationships that support the underserved and strengthen communities at large. On so many ocassions, particularly when conversations challenge our perceptions, we may shy away from the uncomfortable at the expense of all involved.
I am proud of my brother and friend who has chosen to dedicate his life to demonstrating love in the many places where it may be felt least often. Please help me celebrate Kenyatta Parker, and read below to hear how he catches his dreams in his own words against the odds and with success in mind.
1. What do you feel are your personal and/or professional callings? How did you know?
I feel my personal and professional calling is simply to be of service to people. Especially my people, Black/African. Although professionally I am still searching for the specific vehicle to live out my calling, it is definitely still rooted in service.
Teaching our (black) less fortunate how to empower themselves and cultivate skills to help them change their current circumstances is definitely a joy and a calling. I discovered this while mentoring young adults with my non-profit org and teaching in middle school. The joy I got from seeing the light bulbs go off in the minds of the people I poured into was all I needed to see and feel. I knew then!
2. What was the defining moment that compelled you to choose this direction? What cemented your passion?
There is not one defining moment that compelled me to think the way I do and live life going in this direction. In my opinion, this path is a product of the family I was raised in. I have a family of activists, Pan Africans, and scholars that I watched and grew up around. I saw how they manifested their passion for our people by teaching, founding community centers and being life-long activists for people of color. This inspired and molded me.
If I had to pick a moment when I knew this was also MY passion, it would have to be my first trip to the continent of Africa. My travels to Africa taught me something. It taught me that growing up in the U.S. naturally makes us over-consumers, selfish and in a sense ungrateful. We lose, in my opinion, the essence of what life is truly about. Being there was the first time in my life that I saw African/Black people as the majority, and it was BEAUTIFUL! It changed me forever.
Being there also allowed me to see that all anyone NEEDS is spirituality, food, shelter, and family. Everything else is superficial and a desire, not a need. Believe it or not, on this trip I actually wrote a manifesto for myself that proclaimed what my purpose in life was. When I find it, I’ll share it with you! In conclusion, my family and my pilgrimage to Africa helped cement my passion.
3. What would people be surprised to know about you?
I think people would be surprised at how much I read for self-improvement; how sensitive of a person I am and can be, and how as a child, I used to literally pray for the type of family I wanted to have as an adult.
4. If you had a catchphrase, what would it be?
“We all we got!”
5. When people see what you’re striving for, what would you want them to keep in mind? What can they do to help support this cause?
I want them to see what I am striving for to spark curiosity to learn more about themselves, our true history and ways to take action to improve our community. They can help this cause by loving themselves enough, to love people that look like them enough, to help. Simple.
Thank You, Kenyatta Parker for catching your dreams…you’re changing lives along the way.
#dreamcatcher #kenyatta #onelove #showloveforothers #thehumanrace #kindness #communitiesofcolor #roomforeveryone #unit