Sally Nuamah, Youth Advocate & Philanthropist

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By Shana Trammell, Special to the AFRO

Mary McLeod Bethune once famously said, “We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.” Sally Nuamah, at the age of 29, is the embodiment of Madame McLeod Bethune’s sentiments.

After completing her Ph.D in Political Science at Northwestern University Sally went on to hold research fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Princeton. Currently Nuamah is an appointed tenure track professor at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy.

Sally Nuamah (Photo by Paul Ninson)

During college Sally had the opportunity to go abroad to Ghana, it was there in that moment she first realized what her purpose was. “I saw young people that looked like me. Seeing them believe that they would be able to surpass all these challenges that, although everything we know suggests otherwise, revitalized me. I met a young girl there, her perspective was eye-opening! She told me, ‘the opposite of fear is faith’..I took that with me.”

It was from that experience that the passion for advocacy grew within Nuamah. Sally went on to create HerStory: The TWII Foundation Girls Scholarship, a foundation that provides college scholarships for low-income young women. The book, How Girls Achieve, is Sally’s latest project. How Girls Achieve, closely examines the economic, social, and physical effects of educating girls. Previously the Obama administration created several initiatives such as Let Girls Learn, and Girls Rising that brought some of these important correlations to the forefront. With our current administration, however, these initiatives are no longer part of the story. With this change, Nuamah acknowledged the avid of grassroots organizations like Me Too, Times Up, and several other women’s movements. “My concern is that these great grassroots movements are more centered around adult women, and things such as sexual misconduct when we see that both women and girls experience this abuse in institutional settings such as school. My hope is that these organizations play more of an inclusive role that focuses on girls of color also.”

One of Forbes Magazine’s, 30 under 30, it is clear to see that Sally Nuamah is like an luminescent star that young girls look to as the shining beacon that illuminates the path to a brighter tomorrow.