Activist Spotlight: Leroy Hardaway

Leroy Hardaway hails from Youngstown, Ohio. He is a college graduate and activist in a sense when it comes to the community. He is a sel-employed freelance barber, a father of four beautiful kids and an advocate to those who uplift themselves out of poverty. With that being said, Hardaway addresses a variety of social issues to his followers on social media, espcially for the ones who are not informed.

“I’m a self-taught individual who educates through my post on Instagram,” Leroy explains. “I grew up in a single-parent home with several brothers and sisters I consider myself a critical thinker even as a youth. I always wondered how can I make a difference in my neighborhood and my community.”

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Leroy Hardaway. Check it out below:

Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations?

I always looked up to my grandfather and my brother. Growing up my grandfather was a Reverend and a mechanic body shop owner. My brother was always the innovator to me and my family, plus he was older. I looked up to him for a lot of life’s experiences. As a kid he taught me strength and to look at life with an open mind and not to let life stagnate me in anyway. He taught me to think outside the box. My grandfather taught morals and standards and to have a strong spiritual connection to God.

Some of my other Inspirations I have is Muhammad Ali, Damian Dash, Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver and author of (Soul on Ice). I saw true inspiration in these men, either from a business aspect or social issues, as they took that step forward to fight and stand up for change. I saw justice in those strong Black men and in my eyes they stood for the truth.

What do you do as a career choice?

I studied and majored in an electrical technician linesman course and another part of my career is being a self-employed barber.

What influenced you to wake up and be a activist in a sense?

I always knew what was in my heart and knowing that you have to be conscious to find who you are and where you are headed as a Black man in this country, so what influenced me was the conditions of my community and my living environment around this so-called the “land of the free” and the “home of the brave” country. I felt like we’ve been mistreated and oppressed in so many different ways from a political and economic standpoint. I feel I have to represent and somehow speak my mind to the people. The system and the government, I feel never gave us a fair chance.

Your social media outlets are ones that puth the conversation forward are those your intentions? What message, feeling and perception are you trying to give?

Of course the message that I want to give to my followers is to never give up or give in. We must stay driven and eventually with ambition, faith and unity, we will have a positive outcome as people of color. We need to stand up and let’s make a difference. When we unite and educate starting with oneself, the message can spread out from person to person, home to home. We must not settle for less nor be content. We must move forward. Let’s invest in our own communities instead of other ethnic communities, starting with home first. Give the kids that we live for and see everyday a fair chance to grow by educating the younger generation to look towards a better future.

What’s your opinion on the social issues currently affecting Philadelphia?

I see a city that’s crying out for help, from the major issues from mass incarceration, gentrification and land sovereignty or some of the key social issues that plague the city. The murder rate is one of the highest in the country involving the largest cities. The poverty and unemployment rate is staggering having much change for us as black men and women when it comes to dealing with the economy the city needs true new funding. Also, a different choice in leadership from the mayor up to the governor it has to change for the better and for the citizens of the city.

What’s your opinion of the Trump government shutdown?

It was a three-day shut down over the weekend. He got the rich a tax reform like he planned to do for the rich, him and his Wall Street Buddies, and if he couldn’t come up with a decision it should of never happened (the shutdown). It’s terrible that the president couldn’t agree with the other party for the good of the Nation. He also made too many promises and didn’t come through, but he passed the tax bill and fulfilled none of his promises. There’s no stability in the White House under his leadership. That’s my opinion.

What words of wisdom can you offer myself and our fellow millennials?

First and foremost, may God bless you on your path in life. The opportunity you have is special and Powerful. As a Black man in a time like this, having so many outlets to spread to the world in a instant is amazing. You must not take this for granted; utilize it to the fullest and stay strong, unite and dare to dream. It can take you so far in life. Speak and pass to others your thoughts that may spark the mind and brains for the future brothers and sisters who will change this world. Demand respect, justice and equality. You’ll have good days and bad days. Always keep the faith and believe in every single day. You have a purpose on this Earth.  Walk steady, keep your head high, blaze a path and leave your make amongst this world. It’s more to come younger generation.

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