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Youth Spotlight: Hadassah Jackson

A. McNeil

Brimstone recently interviewed Hadassah Jackson, 13, an extraordinary teen from Mount Clair, NJ, demonstrating leadership in her community.

Brimstone: For our readers, could you introduce yourself for those who might not know you? Could you tell us your name, age, and your favorite thing you like to do?

Hadassah: My name is Hadassah Jackson. I’m thirteen-years-old, and I really enjoy cooking and baking.

Brimstone: That’s great! As you know, I’ve tasted your cooking and baking, and I really enjoy your cheesecake. I really love your cheesecake.

Hadassah: Thank you.

Brimstone You know, you are so talented. You play the trumpet, you dance, you play the piano, and you cook. One of the things I love about you, as I told you before, is that you are so fearless. Why do you think you’re so fearless?

Hadassah: Well, I think it’s like...well, my personality. Since Esther in the bible is my namesake, I don’t feel pressured, but I feel like I want to live up to her. What I feel are her personality traits. So, I feel like that’s why I’m fearless.

Brimstone: Okay. I agree, and I think Esther in the bible is a very good role model. So right now I really want to get into the meat of the interview. The reason why we are interviewing you which is because you did something very extraordinary at your school in regards to Rememberthe400. Could you first tell us what Rememberthe400 is and then what you did at your school?

New Jersey teen Hadassah Jackson gives a speech on leadership at the I AM MORE youth event.

Hadassah: Okay. So Rememberthe400 is an organization that is basically used to commemorate the 400 years of Africans coming to the Americas. So, what I did at my school was to bring more awareness to [the cause of]

Rememberthe400. I decided that I was going to ask the children at my school to participate in the Rememberthe400 Challenge.

Brimstone: Fantastic! And could you tell us what, exactly, is the Rememberthe400 Challenge?

Hadassah: Well, you choose an African- American from the past 400 hundred years who have contributed to society now or someone who has invented something that we use on a daily basis or someone who did something extraordinary for the development of America. And you state three or more facts about that person. So you start off with, I remember the 400... Then you say the three facts. And then [after stating the three facts] you say, I remember the 400.

Brimstone: That’s awesome! And could you tell us how it was received by your classmates, teachers, and principal? Did they understand? Were they on board?

Hadassah: Well, my teacher was really excited about it. And he was really onboard about the idea. And he was really like “This is great! I want to bring more awareness about these things in my classroom.” And I was excited when he said that. But when he talked about it to the entire class, the class was warier about it because he was having them do a homework assignment for it. But the class...they were as onboard as I hoped they were. But there were obviously a couple of people who wanted to do it.

Brimstone: Great! So for the majority of your class, what are the demographics? Is the majority African-American, white, Hispanic, or is it mixed?

Brimstone: Oh, wow! That is so amazing! Very good! You must have some great parents. You received a prestigious award for your leadership. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the award you received for starting this Rememberthe400 Challenge?

Hadassah: Yeah. So the award I received was the Elder Shadrock Award. And I had gotten it because I did the Rememberthe400 Challenge. And when I had gotten the award, I didn’t know it was going to happen. I didn’t know that I was going to get an award. I knew I was recognized in Canada, but I didn’t know I would get the award for what I did. And when they called my name, I was just... I was just overfilled with like emotions of like happiness and stuff. And it was just like, it was great.

Brimstone: It was great. And I happened to be at that event in which you received that award. And can you tell us a little bit about the Elder Shadrock Award?

Hadassah: The Elder Shadrock Award from my understanding is basically - it’s given to someone who portrays a leader and not a follower of what everyone else is doing. And they portray a soldier for the Israelite Nation. They portray – when you think of this person’s name, you think of basic excellence and just great work like that. So that’s what the Elder Shadrock Award is about.

Brimstone: Excellent. And I definitely think you are deserving in winning that award. And this will be my last question. You mentioned the word leadership. Leadership is such an important attribute to have, especially among youth and especially in a time when peer- pressure is so prevalent among our youth. Is there any advice you can impart to anyone who strives to be a leader such as yourself.

Hadassah: Hmmm... the majority of the people are white, but there are still ten to twelve black People in my class.

Brimstone: And your teacher, was he white or black?

Hadassah: My teacher is white.

Brimstone: Oh, wow! That is awesome! Well, I want to get your perspective in terms of your parents. Parental support is so very important. What kind of support did you receive from your parents?

Hadassah: So I came home from school one day, and my mom was actually on the phone with someone. And she had mentioned the Rememberthe400 [to the person she was talking to], and I was like, Oh I went to school today, and I told my teacher about Rememberthe400. And mom, when she found out, she was like, “What? That’s so cool! That’s so great! That’s amazing that you did that!” So I received a lot of support from my mom and my dad as well.

Hadassah: I mean really if you want to like... be a leader and stuff you got to just have to take the leap of faith. You got to just have to like go for things. When I had thought of doing the Rememberthe400 in my school, I thought of it just like a thought and that oh this could never happen. My teacher would never go through with this. He’ll never do anything in class regarding this. So when I finally like, built up the courage, I guess to finally go and ask him, there was just a great feeling to be like: Hey, this is what I want to do. This is what I want you to do for my class. You kinda just have to like go for it if you want to like be a leader. You just have to shoot for the stars.

Brimstone: Absolutely! And that you did. You probably don’t know this, but my youngest daughter was so inspired by you, she came home and said, “Dad, I want to start a Rememberthe400 at my school.” And she went to school in her Rememberthe400 t-shirt, and she had flyers, but they didn’t allow her to pass out the flyers. Maybe they didn’t understand, but the point is she is only six years old, and she was inspired by your deeds and awesome work, so you never know who’s watching and listening. So kudos to you, Hadassah

Hadassah: Thank you!

Brimstone: And thank you for your time and your commitment. You are a true Israelite soldier.

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