Sometimes life is the greatest teacher. No one knows that better than Dorshanay Williams, the co-founder of Love Out Loud, a Chicago non-profit organization that aims to empower and educate youth to stop the violence in their communities. An impressive and passionate young lady who is using her past to propel her future and build up her community, Dorshanay is definitely one to keep an eye in 2013. With an unwavering faith that her home – the leading city in the homicide rates – can and will be saved, her mission will empower you to fight for your life’s purpose – out loud.
Introduction and Interview by Melissa Kimble
What inspires you to create?
My past motivates me and reminds me that there are people the same age as me that share common experiences. There are even some that have experiences worse than mine. Still living in the midst of a hostile environment, where you are awaken by gun shots in the middle of the night. That over a period of 3 years you have lost more than 10 people either due to gun violence or jail, or that it’s normal to see police taping off a section because of a homicide…My life, and my environment inspires me to create.
Everything that I’ve been through has had an influence on the person I am today. It has prepared me because I can relate to the outbreak of violent crimes among the youth. I’ve experienced gang violence first hand. Just knowing that there are people out there that say my generation is lost and that there is no hope for us motivates me more to become a voice for the youth.
Chicago, right now, is known for its violence. What is your org doing to combat that epidemic?
At this moment Love Out Loud launched a Stop The Violence Pledge Campaign on November 12th 2012. Our goal is to educate all people about violence, especially teenagers. We are committed to creating change and promoting growth. Inspiring a heart to love allows individuals to have a heart to hope.
What have you learned about yourself personally and professionally since starting the org?
Personally I have learned that I am at a point in my life where I am more humble than I have ever been. My passion for people is so deeply entwined with my own personal feelings that sometimes I find it very hard to accept negative feedback or responses about the youth in my generation. Being passionate to other people’s situations is a really good trait, but professionally, sometimes I let that get in the way and I have to remind myself that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I’m learning, and I’m getting there. I have never interned with an organization before, so everything is a new experience for me. I’m learning new skills, how to network and develop myself as a more professional person. Personally and professionally I’m learning things about myself that I did not know I was capable of.
There are tons of great organizations out there with significant causes and most people pick their causes based off of whatever best relates to their own life experiences. Even if you cannot relate to it, you have to be passionate about it. And you have to believe in it. Something deep within has to be the motivation that drives you to stand up and fight for that cause.
For More on Dorshanay:
STOP THE VIOLENCE PLEDGE: