The future is happening right now. Young change-makers in Detroit are leading the way in 2023 as a new year rolls around. Their bravado reflects the black leaders who have paved the way before them. Black power & leadership has historically carried us through generations of revolutionary movements. Black Lives Matter echoes the frustrations of the past Civil Rights Movement, as well as the array of protests in between. Meet a Teen Court Attorney, an 8-year-old author and “President,” and other creative individuals in between.
Detroitisit rounded up an inspiring list of young change-makers in Detroit that amplify the voices of Black youth, which ultimately motivates others to realize that change doesn’t have to be gradual.
First up on this list of young changemakers in Detroit is a “16-year-old spearhead”, Founder of The Trespass Project, and Teen Court Defense Attorney. Cayden Brown is a student at the Walled Lake Consolidated School District in Detroit. The Oakland County Teen Court Program was just a catalyst for where Brown is now. His demeanor and dedication to transforming rigid legal systems is intended to give back a voice to the Black community, specifically Black youth. Cayden’s unwavering commitment has the potential to create more opportunities for Black attorneys to rise in law, an arena where diversity is extremely lacking.
According to The Skillman Foundation, at age Keyaira, 15, has already made an impact on the Detroit community and nearby. Keyaira has worked with the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and St. Cecilia Girl Scout Troop for the last 10 years. Incredible work pays off! She has won awards such as the Urban League of Detroit’s ‘Do the Right Thing Award’ and the Detroit City Council Award. She also addressed issues of homelessness with her Girl Scouts Silver Award project. Find Keyaira helping work with Gleaners, Free Press Marathon, Ronald McDonald House, and local resource pantries.
Detroit is not yet synonymous with fashion & luxury, but the creative force behind an increasing number of individuals/inventive Detroit clothing brands is enough to soon get Detroit on the fashion map. This list of young changemakers in Detroit wouldn’t be complete without highlighting the future of fashion. Creativity & art has been an outlet for young kids growing up in Detroit. Take a look at 18-year-old Youth Designer, Skullxer, A.K.A Shawn Woodward. He’s turned his passionate art skills into signature, handmade clothing designs. From being featured on Local 4 News to presenting at NYFW ’23, Skullxer is on his way. Click HERE to view Shawn’s “Skullxer Studios” on his website.
Next up on this list of changemakers in Detroit making history right now is Jasmin Smith. At 18, this rising multimedia artist in the Detroit art scene has been featured most recently in the Gucci ChangeMakers exhibition. Smith’s talent reaches beyond her own journey. Jasmin continues to lead her community, serving alongside the Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit (MOCAD) and the College for Creative Studies (CCS). From community service to supporting causes like Make-A-Wish and suicide prevention programs, Jasmin uplifts the people around her as she grows.
GEORGE LATHAM IV
The cool thing about showcasing young changemakers in Detroit is the age range! Meet 8-year-old George “Mr. President” Latham IV, a title he’s held since Kindergarten. A natural-born leader, George is also a published author. Pick up his books, “I Can Be” and his latest second release, “I Can Be” (Sports Edition). He was also inducted as an honorary Detroit police officer in 2021. Currently, he’s the 2023 Spirt of Detroit recipient. Click HERE to view George’s website.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Youth Choir. Young changemakers in Detroit can be a literal collective voice. Led by Anthony White, this inspirational group of young local talent is no stranger to sharing their voice and love for Detroit,
especially the youth talent. Support and encouragement are crucial for young minds, from emotional “Golden Buzzers” on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” to being finalists on the show. Check out their few albums and Season One of their recently filmed Disney+ reality series, Choir.
Also, check out the young man behind the DYC Instagram page, William Gregory. The Detroit neighborhoods are greener because of him. William served three terms under AmeriCorps and Eco-Works Detroit in the Youth Energy Squad program. William has reached college age and has helped coach others through the college application process as well. He’s also helped mentor Detroit children.
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