There are so many instances I wish I could shut my DMs off on Twitter. Seriously, you have no idea. I even wrote a blog post about how fed up I am with ridiculous DMs --> Kill The Auto-DM, Please And Thank You. However, there are certain miraculous DMs that come through every now and than that absolutely make my day. One of those DMs happened to be a lovely, personal message from a Miss Meg V. Jones asking if I would get behind a project she coordinated called "#NotAStatistic". The hashtag alone had me at hello. The project focuses on youth and Millennials who are easily stereotyped into cookie cutter roles, and encouraging them that they can break free of the statistics everyone is throwing at them and get to their goals and dreams by taking less popular routes. For example, not everyone is meant to go to four years of college and then get a job in a city. Some are meant to go to trade schools, head to LA with $50 in their pocket to start a new life, etc.
One very important part of Meg's story and mission is breaking the belief that because someone has gone through incredibly tragic, traumatic events in their life they cannot be as successful as someone who has spent their entire life working towards their goal without those obstacles. Little did I know that by accepting more info about the project, I was meeting someone who is basically me. Here was another Millennial, wearing her heart on her sleeve by telling her very personal, raw story to the world in order to change people's perceptions of stereotypes and the norm. It was instant love.
Instead of joining in with a simple Tweet with the hashtag, I thought it would be a much better idea to feature Meg's story on my Millennials Kicking Ass series, since she obviously is kicking major ass with this campaign.
So, in Meg's own words, here's her incredible story and a project I am sure we all can get behind.
In a paragraph, describe your #NotAStatistic campaign:
The #NotAStatistic campaign is a movement put in place to help change the world; to give a voice to those too scared to chase the dreams that they were born to live out. We live in a society that desperately calls out for a change, yet silences the voices of those who could bring the change that we need. We live in a society where people allow those around them to tell them that their dreams are unrealistic or impossible due to where they came from, the money the have, their skin color, or their gender. This movement is here to show them that none of those things matter, that they can be an actor, a doctor, a singer, or a rocket scientist no matter where they come from; that they are not a number on a paper or something that can be silenced. We are humans, with dreams, voices, and the power to change the world. Let's go change it.
What provoked you to start the #NotAStatistic campaign?
Starting the #NotAStatistic campaign really came from one of those “I’m at the end of my rope, I’m giving up on everything” type of days – ironic now, because everything it stands for is ‘not giving up.’ I have had my share of extreme difficulties in my life, but I have always tried to see the bright side and the optimism. However, when no one else seems to want to be on the same page, it weighs you down – no matter how strong you are.
In that moment, I thought of all the physical, mental, and sexual abuse I had gone through. I thought of when I was homeless, the nights I was hungry, the days I spent terrified. Then, I thought of the bullying and harassment I dealt with later in life. I thought of the how through every bit of it, due to all of it, no one had ever believed in me. No one supported me. No one thought I was capable of anything.
So, I had a moment. A really big moment of feeling sorry for myself (which I don’t like doing.) Then I stopped. If I felt this way, even after surviving the entire trauma, then imagine how the people felt who had lived through the same thing? Imagine how the people felt who didn’t get out of those situations? I had always wanted to make the world a better place. I wanted them to know that it was possible.
You want to be a doctor but you grew up without money? Let’s make it possible. You want to be an actor or singer and everyone keeps telling you that’s crazy? Let’s help you find your voice. You spent your entire life homeless and abused? Let’s show you that you have a family. You want to change the world? Let’s do it together.
Why is it important that you do it?
There are hundreds and thousands of people out there with dreams that could change the world, but they never open their mouths because they’re convinced their words aren’t worth hearing. The sad thing, it’s society convincing them that they’re not worth hearing – the same society that so desperately wants and needs a change.
The #NotAStatistic campaign is here to help them find that voice that keeps being silenced. It is a campaign/future organization that wants to empower the future of our world. All of those kids with crazy dreams? They ARE the future of our world. We are the future of our world.
I want to educate society so that they will stop suffocating beautiful dreams and beautiful voices and beautiful lives. I want society to see the potential that lies in the creativity our generation possesses – instead of the uneducated, judgmental, racist, sexist, dream crushing labels they’ve burnt onto everyone’s forehead who wants to be a little different. We need more beauty in this world and there is untapped beauty out there being muffled by misused statistics, misplaced stereotypes, and misguided fear.
We are not abused, broken, lost, confused, or ridiculous. We are not a number on a paper determined to fail because they took our past situations and made them into a mathematical equation. We are entrepreneurs, builders, actors and actresses, pop stars, doctors, motivators, innovators and world changers. We are the future, #NotAStatistic. They need to know that and I’m going to make sure that they do.
What’s your advice for fellow Millennials?
Our generation needs to know that just because they got dealt a bad hand, doesn’t mean they lost the game. The day you give up is the first and only day you lose. So keep smiling and show them you came here to win.
Every revolution starts somewhere. Every change starts with the people brave enough to take a stand; people brave enough to break the mold. So let’s take a stand. The outcasts, the losers, the minorities, drop outs, heck, the graduates and the doctors. We’re all dreamers, with dreams that are very much worth being heard, no matter where we come from or what we’ve been through.
Don’t let your past or your fear from the future frighten you away from your dreams and potential. It doesn’t matter if your family doesn’t agree, or your friends think you’re crazy, or people think you don’t have what it takes. You do. You are not a number. Not a victim of your past. You are #NotAStatistic. Go out there and show them that.
This is part of a series showcasing Millennials that are kicking ass in life, breaking the stereotypes. It was inspired by this article –> How Exponential Missed The Mark On Stereotyping Millennials. If you know of a Millennial kicking ass, contact me.