Episode #5: Still Processing My Life: Social Justice and Activism (Rayyah Sempala)

Are You a Parent of a Youth Activist?

If it seems many youths today are putting their words into action, you are correct. In the past two decades, we witnessed youth-led activism from Malala Yousafzai’s advocating for girls’ education. 18-year-old Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist, challenges world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. How about 24 years old Larissa Crawford? A Métis and Jamaican woman from Calgary began her humanitarian journey at 16 when she launched a fundraiser to start a library at Let Us Shine Academy in Ghana. These young people are both willing and effective.

 

The Dandy Lion Youth of the Month is no different. Rayyah Sempala grew up in Uganda, a country where the President has been in power since 1986. It was and still is an environment heavily impacted by activism. Growing up, Rayyah saw activists capture public attention with some remarkable actions. Actions that many in the western culture could never relate to. She saw the emerging activism driven more by dedication to specific causes and not necessarily aligned with what the government desired or prioritized.

 

As a little girl watching leaders stand in crowds and advocate for what they believed in, Rayyah started to understand how important it was and is to fight for what you believe. She saw leaders lose some battles and win some. It was clear that a person could not stand up for everything dear to their heart. Perhaps at a young age, Rayyah subconsciously might have wondered why they were picking and choosing some causes and not others.

Rayyah was driven and wanted to represent and work on all causes that she identified as being important. With time, she realized that she could not let all the world tragedies into her heart. It would be exhausting, and if she did, it would drown her. She now knows that the key is to focus on a few of the social justice problems. And make them count. This strategy has helped Rayyah manage her time wisely with all the volunteer work and school commitments that demand her time. She concentrates on the big problems first. That is the essence of time management.

 “EAT A LIVE FROG FIRST THING IN THE MORNING AND NOTHING WORSE WILL HAPPEN TO YOU THE REST OF THE DAY.” MARK TWAIN

Rayyah lives by Mark Twain’s quote; focus on the significant challenges first. She believes that no matter what is on your outcome list, concentrate on one goal that will have the most significant impact.

This is an important point and let us pause for a moment. My readers, please do this exercise: on a piece of paper, write down ten visions you see for yourself – and do them in the First-person present tense.

 For example, “I am making $5,000 a month.”

“I am impacting 30 people a month.”

 Rayyah could not let all the tragedies into her heart. In the same context, you cannot work on all ten. Therefore, pick one out of those ten visions as your Key goal.

  Ask yourself which of those ten will have the most positive impact. Then take that goal and focus on it.

I will share two steps you can start using today. Details of the process are in the Empowered Me Signature Program. 

  1. Have clarity about what your goal is. It should be simple enough that if you tell it to a seven-year-old, they understand it enough to say it to another seven-year-old. 
  2. The next thing in working towards your goal is to have a checklist. If you have ever flown and paid attention to the pilot, you will often hear them say, “Check.” The Pilots always have a checklist. You may have heard them also say, “Flight attendants, prepare for take-off please.” Another checklist.

A pre-flight checklist is a list of tasks that they perform, so everything goes as planned. It is to improve flight safety by ensuring that no essential duties are forgotten. 

Question for you: Now that you have identified the vision you wish to strive for, do you have a checklist for what steps you need to achieve this goal?

THE FIRST SECRET OF GETTING WHAT YOU WANT IS KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT.

ARTHUR D. HLAVATY

One of the things that Rayyah talked about on my podcast, “The Authenticity Series: The Dandy Lion Perspective,” was that she always knew what she wanted to do as far as careers go.  Rayyah is 21 and enrolled at MacEwan University for sociology with a specialization in criminology. The commitment aligns perfectly with her vision of wanting to make a difference to those less fortunate. She is interested in things happening within her community. She looks for opportunities to volunteer on projects. 

THE UNTOLD STORIES

One Saturday afternoon, she read on social media that Diversity TV Plus was looking for a Newscast TV host for Edmonton and surrounding areas. She felt that this would be a way to impact a larger audience. The Diversity TV focus and message are in line with her philosophy. Without the formal training or experience, but with drive and determination, Rayyah auditioned for the position, and they offered her the role! Some of you who follow me may be aware that I co-host the TV Show with her. With over 100,000 weekly views nationally and internationally, Rayyah has played an essential role in bringing in the local news of untold stories not shared on the mainstream media. The world of journalism has good intentions. Not all news that should make headlines gets reported. Rayyah is in her glory when hosting these untold stories. She puts her actions into words and stands up for social justice. 

I asked Rayyah:

“What does it mean to you to be authentic?”

“Being authentic is putting your best foot forward and being true to yourself.”

She will continue to volunteer and make a difference in the community as she focuses on Law School.  Rayyah is a youth who will not let negative internal chatter stop her from achieving her goals. Like Malala, Greta and Larissa, Rayyah knows that it requires action to achieve and make a meaningful difference.  

Podcast with Rayyah Sempala

Connect with Rayyah:
 
Email: rayyahsempala@gmail.com
Follow her on Instagram: rayyah_amber_@instagram
Link with her on: LinkedIn Rayyah Sempala
Watch her on on Diversity TV: Diversitypluss.ca
Rayyah Sempala, Diversity TV Host