Get to Know AExME Council Member Joseph Touma

 

Bridge the Divide Co-Founder

@josephmtouma

 

There are more things that unite than divide us, believes AExME Council member Joseph Touma, who co-founded the organization Bridge the Divide to do just that—bring us together across political and cultural boundaries.

 

Joseph envisions a future where we’re unified, not in terms of believing the same things, but in the way we listen respectfully and prioritize empathy above all else.

 

Created after an eye-opening experience at summer camp in 2016—students from over 90 countries coming together, despite their differences—Bridge the Divide has grown to chapters in 30 countries, and continues to be run FOR young people BY young people.

 

“America is made up of a diverse group of people. We need to acknowledge that and embrace that,”

says Joseph, a West Virginia native who’s active in student government and the Young Republications at Duke University, where he’s studying politics and business—a passion for the Shark Tank fan.

@josephmtouma

Joseph lives by the motto that “a ship in port is safe, but that’s not why we build ships.”

 

“Putting ourselves out of our comfort zone is so important. That’s really when you grow.”

 

Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.

 

 

Get to Know AExME Council Member Peyton Klein

Global Minds Initiative Founder

@peytonklein

 

Inspired by the power of intercultural friendships, AExME Council member Peyton Klein created the Global Minds Initiative, which has grown since its 2016 launch in Pittsburgh, Pa., to a national and international movement.

 

It began one morning at school, when Peyton realized she knew the names of every student in her class except for the girl in the hijab. Feeling ashamed she hadn’t been practicing the inclusion she’d been preaching, Peyton introduced herself. The rest is history. Khwala and Peyton became great friends—including Peyton learning about Khwala’s refugee experience—and Peyton was inspired to found the Global Minds Initiative, a for-youth, by-youth organization that bridges immigrants, refugees, and U.S.-born students through after-school programming.

 

 “Diversity is a fact; inclusivity is a choice,”

says the current high school junior who is passionate about immigrant rights and educational equity.

@peytonklein

Peyton’s work has been featured on the Today Show, Fox News, Teen Vogue, and the New York Times, and the Global Minds movement now reaches over 1,500 students in 23 schools across the U.S. and Canada.

 

“The most powerful weapon we have against hate isn’t violence,”

Peyton says.

“It’s love. It’s kindness. If we can create love and hope within our communities, that can solve so many of our issues.”

Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.

 

 

Get to Know AExME Council Member Delaney Tarr

 

March for Our Lives Co-Founder

@delaneytarr

 

In March of 2018, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School helped organize March for Our Lives—the largest youth-led rally in U.S. history. AExME Council member Delaney Tarr, then active at her Parkland, Fla. school’s paper and TV/film club, was one of those students who helped turn the senseless shooting into a moment of unity and awareness.

 

And that moment has bloomed into a movement.

 

“Today and every day we will continue to fight for those things that are right,”

Delaney spoke to a crowd of about a million in Washington, DC.

“We are here for real change. We are here to lead.

 

And lead, Delaney has.

@delaneytarr

Since the shooting, Delaney has been an unfaltering advocate against gun violence and FOR youth voter registration, inspiring us with her words and actions.

 

“The only wish that I have is to be remembered as somebody who made the world a better place,”

says Delaney, now studying journalism at the University of Georgia (GO BULLDOGS!) and learning how to make the kind of media she loves, including shows like The Good Place and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and films like Roma and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

 

“What keeps me going is creation of art and stories and movements that can end hate and violence. I think that creating is the thing that can change the world and make it a better place.”

 

Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.

 

 

Love Is The Message: Share It With These Pride DIYs

All across the country, people are gearing up for Pride celebrations in June. Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or a proud ally, there’s no better time to show your support, or in this case, wear it. Pride stands for so many things, but not the least among them is individuality and the freedom to be yourself. In the spirit of standing out and celebrating difference, here are a few fun ways to personalize your Pride-inspired look while also supporting the LGBTQ+ youth across the country. 100% of sales from the 2019 AE Pride Collection will benefit the It Gets Better Project.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

 

Pop On A Patch:

Go for a classic placement or something a little more unexpected.

DIY Pride patches

Get Your Craft On:

Pick the graphic tee that speaks to you and give it a little something extra. Like a belly-baring crop. Or fringe. Maybe both?

DIY frayed tee

Back (Patch) It Up:

Have you SEEN the new Pride back patches? Now you can really show off that rear view.

Pride jacrons

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize:

Because it’s the little things.

AE pride collection accessories

Whichever way you DIY, share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to inspire others and show your support!

 

 

AE ASSOCIATE SPOTLIGHT: Finding Inspiration From Within

All across the country, young people like you are standing up for what’s important. Inspired by the launch of the AExME Council, we turned to our amazing team of store managers, stylists, and associates to learn more about some of the issues affecting their communities and the causes they’re passionate about.

Meet Juan from store #956 in Dartmouth, NS 🇨🇦 Canada. He’s a 23-year-old actor and business major who wants to make his mark on the world through interaction and connection with the people around him.

“My vision is to inspire people to be their best without labels or insecurities.”

Q&A answered by Juan

 

Juan is passionate about environmental issues across the globe as well as mental health awareness on a more individual level. He believes in using social media for good, and the healing power of kindness.

 

Q: What does AE x ME mean to you?

A: FREEDOM. It means that you get to be whoever you are, overcoming fears and doubts.

Juan being awarded with Customer First Around the Globe in 2016

In 2016, Juan was awarded Customer First Around The Globe for his incredible contributions to the AE experience.

 

Q: How would you like to see AE become more involved in your community?

A: By influencing customers with kindness and reminding them that with unity, anything can be overcome.

 

 

Get to Know AExME Council Member Imani Jai Chisom

 

Faith-Based Activist

@imanijai 

 

A champion of social justice and racial healing, AExME Council member Imani uses her platform to address issues facing black women at predominantly white colleges.

 

“I fight for the little black girls who don’t think they’re going to go to college in Pittsburgh, who are written off because of their ZIP code,”

says Imani, who grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood.

“I represent the black women in college who don’t feel safe at their schools, who feel marginalized, and don’t feel like they’re enough because they’re told they’re small and voiceless.”

 

A junior at Duquesne University studying theology and writing, Imani aspires to become a pastor. She’s interned at the Friendship Community Church, works with youth programs at Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, and believes that religion and faith are rooted in love—both a love of yourself and a love of your community. “When you have that group and that village, that’s where you can learn to be fearless,” Imani says.

@imanijai 

Imani writes about her experiences as a black women at a private, mostly white, Catholic university on her blog, Honestly Imani Jai. When she’s not writing, she reading everything she can get her hands on, from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.

 

“The thing that I’m most passionate about is authentic storytelling and creating spaces for young women of color to authentically share their stories.”

 

Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.