“Soul is everything to me,” actor and musician Tim Johnson Jr. told us when he joined the AExME Council last year. And with the release of his new EP, Soul Conscience, that soul is on full display. Written and produced by Tim and his father, the album is now available wherever you listen to music, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and YouTube.

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how Soul Conscience came together!

Tim Johnson Jr. AExME

Q: What was the inspiration for Soul Conscience?

It’s funny, when I was in the writing and recording process with these songs, at first I didn’t know it would be for an EP, because this year I’d already come out with an album called Summer Sessions. But my dad (who is also my producer) was like, “These songs – this can be an EP.”  These were songs that came out of conversations and thoughts about the importance of being aware of yourself and the world around you. Understanding we are all souls searching for our purpose in life.


Q: What’s your favorite song on the EP?

My favorite song on the project is “No More Loneliness.” It’s my favorite because it’s a song of empowerment and faith, understanding that you don’t have to walk alone. My whole family is singing on the song with me, so that makes it even more special.

Tim Johnson Jr. AExME

Q: How did you get started in music?

I started singing when I was very young. There was just something so freeing about it. I remember always hearing music, from being in church to listening to our Motown CDs in the car. My dad was in a gospel group and had a recording studio in our basement. My parents heard me sing in the car one day, and asked me what song I was singing and I told them that I made up the song. From then on, I’ve been recording in the studio.


Q: What are you listening to these days?

My favorite song right now is “Lights Up” by Harry Styles. Since the day it came out, I’ve had it on repeat.




While the AExME Council – our crew of young advocates and change-makers – was in in L.A. shooting the new holiday campaign, they got the chance to visit Covenant House California and learn about something that affects 4.2 million young people in America: homelessness.

We captured the emotional, empowering discussion, and got tips on taking action in our own communities.

Wanna learn how you can make a difference, too? Watch and learn how!



Every day should be about doing your best to treat others with the gentle, loving care they deserve, but on this World Kindness Day, we want to take a moment to reflect on what it truly means to be kind.

AExME Council member Peyton Klein, who founded the Global Minds Initiative, answered some questions for us about the connections between kindness, diversity, and inclusion, and shared some behind-the-scenes info about the NEW limited-edition World Kindness Day tee she helped design.

Ready to show the world how much you care? Shop the tee now! 100% of sales benefit Global Minds Initiative.

AE with Global Minds

Q: Tell us about yourself and the Global Minds Initiative.

My name’s Peyton and I’m 18 years old. I’m a student at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, and the founder of the Global Minds Initiative. We’re a for-youth, by-youth organization and we bridge native English-speaking students and English language learners – so, immigrant refugee youth – across schools not only in Pittsburgh, but across Canada. We’re in 23 schools. And what we do is we create and promote inclusive environments in schools to celebrate diversity, to have important conversations, to foster intercultural friendships, and to really build up the next generation of not only leaders but empathetic, kind, and globally competent young leaders.


Q: What was your inspiration for this t-shirt?

“Diversity is a fact; inclusivity is a choice” is something that I say a lot. I think it sums up the way that our society and schools function. So we have this diversity, but it’s about what we do with it, right? Diversity is just having a variety of people with different things they can bring to the table. But inclusivity is finding a way to celebrate that diversity and really foster an environment that makes everyone feel welcomed and included. Together we can foster more inclusive and kind environments, which is why we’re really excited about World Kindness Day.

Peyton Klein

Q: What does kindness mean to you?

I think that there’s a definitive difference between being kind and being nice. Kindness is doing things with good and positive and moral intentions, whereas being nice is doing what’s right just for the sake of doing things that are right. But kindness is truly caring and understanding and working toward something, and I think that’s really cool.


Q: Any recs for kind things people can do?

First of all, be kind to yourself. I always preach self-care. Before you can be kind to others, you have to be kind to yourself, and love your body, love yourself, find things that make you happy and do them for you. And then do them for other people! Invest in mentoring someone. Talk to someone you don’t know and ask them how they’re doing – not in a quick, “How are you doing? Great,” way but, “HOW are YOU doing?” And have a conversation with them and care about what they’re saying because that’s so important.

AE Photoshoot with Global Minds

Q: How are you going to style this tee?

I’m probably going to get the tee in all sizes! With a small, I’ll probably wear it with some skinny jeans. With a medium, I’ll tuck it in with some high-waisted straight jeans. With a large, I’ll definitely tie it and wear it with overalls, and with an extra-large, I’ll probably sleep in it. You gotta represent!


Q: What else can people do to celebrate kindness and inclusivity?

If you’re interested in taking your passion for inclusivity beyond a t-shirt, feel free to reach out and get involved and start a Global Minds chapter in your school. Bridging the academic and social disconnect between native English-speaking students and immigrant refugees is so important. Everyone deserves to have global competency as well as a welcoming and inclusive school environment and experience!



These AExME Council members are changing the world, and so are YOU. Tag #AExME @americaneagle to share how you’re using your voice to inspire change.


Inspired by the bold voices of people like YOU, we’ve introduced the AExME Council, our first-ever crew of young advocates and change makers. In this guest post, AExME Council member Edith Cruz shares how she honors Hispanic Heritage Month, and what you can do to celebrate it, too.

Read the post in English or Spanish! Scroll down for the full translation.

 Picture of a digital art piece that Edith created based on the inspiration she got while listening to the song "Mexicana Hermosa" by Natalia Lafourcade

When you look up Hispanic Heritage Month online, one of first things you will find is the National Hispanic Heritage Month website. This site defines it as a holiday from September 15 though October 15 for Americans to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.


Is this really all this holiday is about?

My answer is no, but your definition of Hispanic Heritage Month could differ very much from mine.



To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is more than an excuse for anyone to drink Coronas, eat tacos, and throw on a sombrero as a way to use my culture as a costume. Don’t get me wrong, I know not every person celebrates this way, but that is basically what I understood from that website’s definition. To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to embrace my culture to the fullest! Growing up in the U.S.A., I was ashamed to even say I was Mexican because I felt oppressed to hide my true identity. This month gives me the most courage to wear traditional Mexican attire, which usually includes a pretty handmade dress and handmade huarache sandals that come straight from the beautiful motherland we know as Mexico and made by its indigenous people.

Edith posing for a picture with Jose Antonio Vargas(middle) a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and human rights for immigrants activist and Best Friend (Mirna Lozano) after hearing Jose speaking about how we as a nation define "american"

Of course, I try to do these things any other time of the year, but it gets hard when you know people will give you weird looks or even whisper stuff right in front of your face. It gets a lot easier to embrace my roots during this month because it becomes more acceptable.

During this month I also try my best to honor those people who came before me. I take this time to honor my parents who made the huge sacrifice to leave everything they had ever known back in Mexico. I honor my grandparents who always tried so hard to keep our family traditions alive even when half their children and grandchildren where 1,540 miles away from them. I honor the brave soldiers and youth who fought for Mexico’s independence during the Mexican War of Independence, Mexican American War, Mexican Revolution, and even in World War II. I honor my Aztec ancestors who were more than just a tribe that did human sacrifices; they were also experts in agriculture, crafts, and education.



Whether you identify as Hispanic or not, there are still many ways you can support this holiday as a member or ally!

For example, you can choose to shop locally. I know that in hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, one out of three restaurants are owned by immigrants, and that doesn’t mean just Mexican immigrants. Imagine how many local families you can support by going out to eat at your local restaurant instead of eating a burger at the nearest fast food chain. By shopping locally, you’re helping a family keep their lights on, put food on their table, or even help a child get a new pair of shoes for school!

dith posing for a picture with her two older sibling Jeanette (Left) and Jose(Right) after her Quinceañera church ceremony.

Another way to celebrate this holiday is by donating to nonprofit organizations that support Latinx or immigrant communities. Three of my favorite nonprofit organizations that I support in various of ways are United We Dream, Raices, and The Latinx Leadership & College Experience Camp (LLCEC). One of the best and easiest ways to support these and other nonprofit organizations is by DONATING! Even if you are donating only $1, you never know how much that dollar can help someone.

Other ways to celebrate and support Hispanic Heritage Month are by sharing our stories and shutting down myths! This means that if you see a video of your friend telling their story of what being Latinx means to them, hit that share button! Spreading the word is the best way to share everyone’s stories! But this also goes for all the mean, horrible, and inaccurate things that are said during this time. If you have friends that call Cinco de Mayo “Mexico’s Independence,” please shut that down right away! Because that is a big ooof! Cinco de Mayo was actually the day of the celebration of Mexico’s victory against French forces during the Battle of Puebla. Basically, Mexico owed England, Spain, and France a lot of money after the Mexican American War, and France wanted their money back. France declared war because the payment was postponed by two years and Mexico ended up winning the war! Taa-daa! History lesson is over!



Recently there has been a huge debate among the Hispanic/Latino community about a new word being used, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month. Maybe you’ve heard the word “Latinx” being used in place of Latina or Latino. This is due to the Spanish language being gendered!

For those who haven’t taken a Spanish class in high school or college, here is an example of what that might look like: the word for “friends” in Spanish is either “amigas” or “amigos.” So, let’s say you’re getting coffee with a couple friends who identify as female. In this case, you would say in Spanish that you are hanging out with your “amigas,” with the “a” in “amigas” indicating that everyone in the group is female. But what if you hit up one of your male-identifying friends and invite him to join? Well, in the Spanish language, as soon as that male friend joins the whole group of females, the word “amigas” automatically change to “amigos.” It takes one single male to change a word that applies to all the females who are present. The connotation of this rule makes it seem like the masculine has a higher status than the feminine. Not only that, but it also excludes folks who identify as non-binary or gender nonconforming.

Edith and friends

That is when the “x” comes in, because the “x” is genderless.

Latinx is the perfect word for someone who comes from Latin descent, whether they were born in a Latin country or just have a Latin background, whatever their gender identity is!

Latinx is inclusive and affirming! It’s believed that the word was coined back in 2004 by the LGBTQ+ community and was made popular in 2015 by Twitter and Tumblr. Not only does this word validate someone’s identity, but it also affirms, for folks who identify as females, that they are powerful and capable of doing all things male-identifying folks do, too. Using “Latinx” is the same as using “police officer” instead of “policeman” or “humankind” instead of “mankind,” because not every police officer identifies as male and not every human identifies as male.

This is why I prefer to use “Latinx” – because the word feels powerful and inclusive! By using “Latinx” and celebrating Latinx Heritage Month, I reaffirm my capabilities and help teach others that we don’t all have

to identify as strictly male or female. When I use this word, I know some small child out there is hearing me and knows that they are capable to do same things I am doing – changing the world step by step.




 Inspirados por las voces atrevidas de personas como ustedes, hemos presentado el Consulado de AExME, nuestro primer equipo de activistas jóvenes y creadores de cambios. En esta publicación de invitada, la miembro del Consulado de AExME, Edith Cruz, comparte cómo honra el Mes de la Herencia Hispana y lo que puede hacer para celebrarlo también.


Cuando uno busca en línea el Mes de la Herencia Hispana, una de las primeras cosas que encontrará en el sitio web es la pagina del Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana. Este sitio define esta celebración como un feriado del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre para que los estadounidenses celebren las historias, culturas y contribuciones de ciudadanos estadounidenses quien sus antepasados vinieron de España, México, el Caribe y América Central y del Sur.


¿En realidad esto será lo único de que se trata esta celebración?

Mi respuesta es no, pero su definición del Mes de la Herencia Hispana podría diferir mucho de la mía.



Para mí, el Mes de la Herencia Hispana es más que una excusa para que cualquiera tome Coronas, coma tacos y se ponga un sombrero como una forma de usar mi cultura como disfraz. No me malinterpreten, sé que no todas las personas celebran de esta manera, pero eso es básicamente lo que entendí de la definición de ese sitio web. ¡Para mí, el Mes de la Herencia Hispana es un momento para tener orgullo de mi cultura al máximo! Al crecer en los EE. UU., Me daba vergüenza incluso decir que era mexicana porque me sentía oprimida ah ocultar mi verdadera identidad. Este mes me da el mayor valor para usar la vestimenta tradicional mexicana, que generalmente incluye un bonito vestido hecho a mano y huaraches hechos a mano que provienen directamente de la hermosa tierra que conocemos como México y hecha por su propia gente nativa.

Por supuesto, trato de hacer estas cosas en cualquier otro momento del año, pero se vuelve difícil cuando sabes que las personas te darán miradas extrañas o incluso susurrarán cosas en frente de ti. Se hace mucho más fácil enseñar el orgullo de mis raíces durante este mes porque se vuelve más aceptable.

Durante este mes también hago todo lo posible para honrar a las personas que vinieron antes de mi. Aprovecho este tiempo para honrar a mis padres que hicieron el gran sacrificio para dejar todo lo que habían conocido en México y moverse a los EE. UU. Honro a mis abuelos que siempre se esforzaron por mantener vivas nuestras tradiciones familiares, incluso cuando la mitad de sus hijos y nietos estaban 1,540 millas alegados de ellos. Honro a los valientes soldados y jóvenes que lucharon por la independencia de México durante la Guerra de Independencia de México, la Guerra de México y América, la Revolución Mexicana e incluso en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Honro a mis antepasados aztecas que fueron más que una tribu que hizo sacrificios humanos; También eran expertos en agricultura, artesanía y educación.



Ya sea que tu te identifique como hispano o no, ¡todavía hay muchas maneras en que puedes apoyar está celebración como miembro de la comunidad o aliado!

Por ejemplo, puede optar por comprar localmente. Sé que, en mi ciudad natal de Lexington, Kentucky, uno de cada tres restaurantes es creado y dirigido por inmigrantes, y eso no significa solo inmigrantes mexicanos. Imagine a cuántas familias locales puede apoyar yendo a comer a su restaurante local en lugar de comer una hamburguesa en la cadena de comida rápida más cercana. Al comprar localmente, está ayudando a una familia a mantener las luces encendidas, poner comida en la mesa o incluso ayudar a un niño a obtener un par de zapatos nuevos para la escuela.

Otra forma de celebrar este día festivo es donando a organizaciones locales que apoyan a las comunidades latinas o inmigrantes. Tres de mis organizaciones favoritas que apoyo de varias maneras son United We Dream, Raices y El Campaento de la Experiencia Latinx de Liderasgo y Universitaria (LLCEC). ¡Una de las mejores y más fáciles formas de apoyar a estas y otras organizaciones es DONANDO! Incluso si estás donando solo $1, nunca sabes cuánto puede ayudar ese dólar a alguien.

¡Otras formas de celebrar y apoyar el Mes de la Herencia Hispana son compartiendo nuestras historias y cerrando mitos! Esto significa que, si ves un video de tu amigo contando su historia de lo que significa ser Latinx para ellos, ¡presiona el botón de compartir! ¡Difundir la palabra es la mejor manera de compartir las historias de todos! Pero esto también se aplica a todas las cosas malas, horribles e inexactas que se dicen durante este tiempo. Si tiene amigos que llaman la celebración Cinco de Mayo la “Independencia de México”, ¡corrígelos! ¡Porque eso es un gran mito! El Cinco de Mayo fue en realidad el día de la celebración de la victoria de México contra las fuerzas francesas durante la Batalla de Puebla. Básicamente, México le debía mucho dinero a Inglaterra, España y Francia después de la Guerra Mexicana-Americana, y Francia quería recuperar su dinero. ¡Francia declaró la guerra porque el pago se pospuso por dos años y México terminó ganando la guerra! Taa-daa! ¡La lección de historia ha terminado!



Recientemente ha habido un gran debate entre la comunidad hispana/latina sobre el uso de una nueva palabra, especialmente durante el Mes de la Herencia Hispana. Tal vez has escuchado la palabra “Latinx” que se usa en lugar de Latina o Latino. ¡Esto se debe a que el idioma español es generando!

Para aquellos que no hablan español o no han tomado una clase de español en la escuela secundaria o la universidad, aquí hay un ejemplo de cómo el lenguaje es generado: Digamos que estas tomando café con una pareja de amigos que se identifican como mujeres. En este caso, se diría en español que estás pasando el rato con tus “amigas”, con la “a” en “amigas” que indica que todos en el grupo son mujeres. Pero ¿qué pasa si invitas a uno de tus amigos que ellos se identifican como hombre? Bueno, en el idioma español, tan pronto como ese amigo se una al grupo completo de mujeres, la palabra “amigas” cambia automáticamente a “amigos”. Solo se necesita un hombre para cambiar una palabra que se aplica a todas las mujeres que están presentes. La connotación de esta regla hace que parezca que lo masculino tiene un estatus más alto que lo femenino. No solo eso, sino que también excluye a las personas que se identifican como no binarias o no conformes con un género.

Es entonces cuando entra la “x”, porque la “x” no tiene género.

Latinx es la palabra perfecta para alguien que proviene de ascendencia latina, ya sea que hayan nacido en un país latino o que simplemente tengan antecedentes latinos, ¡cualquiera sea su identidad de género!

¡Latinx es inclusivo y afirmativo! Se cree que la palabra fue acuñada en 2004 por la comunidad LGBTQ+ y se hizo popular en 2015 por Twitter y Tumblr. Esta palabra no solo valida la identidad de alguien, sino que también afirma, para las personas que se identifican como mujeres, que son poderosas y capaces de hacer todo lo que hacen las personas que identifican como hombres o masculino. Usar “Latinx” es lo mismo que usar “humanidad” en lugar de “humanidad”, porque no todos los policías se identifican como hombres y no todos los humanos se identifican como hombres.

Es por eso que prefiero usar “Latinx”, ¡porque la palabra se siente poderosa e inclusiva! Al usar “Latinx” y celebrar el Mes de la Herencia de Latinx, reafirmo mis capacidades y ayudo a enseñar a otros que no todos tenemos

para identificarse como estrictamente masculino o femenino. Cuando uso esta palabra, sé que un niño pequeño me está escuchando y sabe que son capaces de hacer lo mismo que yo, cambiando el mundo paso a paso.




You have the power to build a better future. Which is why, in celebration of today’s National Voter Registration Day, we’re excited to share our latest collaboration with the AExME Council – tees in support of getting out the vote. These tees feature hand-drawn graphics inspired by the Council, with ALL sales benefiting HeadCount.

Read on to learn more about how these AExME Council members collaborated with the AE design team, and why voting is truly the ultimate way to show your individuality and self-expression.



Joseph Touma

Bridge the Divide Co-Founder, @josephmtouma

AExME Council Member Joseph Touma

Q: What was your inspiration?

Today, the United States finds itself increasingly divided. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember one of the fundamental ideas behind America – we are a group of people, with different backgrounds, experiences, and political beliefs, all living together in unity. This tee emphasizes the most significant word in our country’s name, “United,” and reminds me of the importance of respecting and caring for all Americans, regardless of the labels that are often used to divide us.

Q: How did you collaborate with the AE design team?

As a member of the #AExME Council, I had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look into the design process at AE. When they told me I could design a shirt, I wanted to make something that illustrated the message of my organization, Bridge the Divide, in a simple yet meaningful way. After several months of communication with the design experts at AE, I’m thrilled to see the final look and pumped to share it with the world!

Q: Why does voter registration matter?

The United States is more than a country. It’s a set of ideas, with democracy at its core, that only works if we, the people, vote. HeadCount is a nonpartisan organization that registers voters regardless of their political preferences. All voices deserve to be heard, and at the end of the day, the importance of voting is one thing we can all agree on. Right now, millions of people around the world are fighting for the same opportunity. We must remember how lucky we are even to have the chance to cast a ballot in the first place. So, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, progressive or conservative, everyone has the right and responsibility to vote.

Tim Johnson, Jr.

Actor & Musician, @cityboyjr

AExME Council Member Tim Johnson, Jr.

Q: What was your inspiration?

The idea for the shirt design came when I went to Pittsburgh for our first AExME Council meeting. I saw this painting in the hotel we were staying at of this beautiful black woman with positive words that created the Afro on her head. I was like, “Woahhh, this is cool.” It inspired me to start writing down things that bring me joy. I feel like sometimes in our minds, we have a collage of negativity, so creating a shirt filled with positive vibes can help remind us that light will extinguish the darkness.

AExME Voter Registration Tees

Q: How did you collaborate with the AE design team?

I sent different words to the design team and they got right on it! And they did their thing!!!

Q: Why does voter registration matter?

I feel like we need to break down what we stand for as citizens of this country and what qualities we want in our leaders. I’m thankful to platforms like American Eagle who understand that we hold the power to change this culture no matter who we are. So vote for yourself and for others who can’t.


Samuel Getachew

Award-Winning Poet, @samuelgd

AExME Council Member Samuel Getachew

Q: What was your inspiration?

“Pass the mic” is a pretty common phrase, but it has taken on higher importance for me as of late. As a spoken word poet, I encounter a lot of microphones. For my art form, mics are an instrument of power and expression. They represent a platform and a voice. The possession of a mic is a privilege. We all hold privilege in some form – at varying degrees, yes, but some privilege nonetheless. It is so incredibly vital that we recognize the platforms and mics we are given, and recognize that not everyone has the same privilege we do. Rather than speaking for people who are less fortunate than ourselves, we must lend our platforms to project their voices. Now more than ever, we must pass the mic.

Q: How did you collaborate with the AE design team?

I had a lot of ideas for designs, so I sent them all over to the design team. They sent back their feedback, and we decided on the one phrase. Then they sent over initial designs, and I gave my thoughts on which I felt communicated the message best. After a few discussions on colors and prints, we decided on the final product!

Q: Why does voter registration matter?

The franchise is one of the many privileges that we as Americans often take for granted. When we abstain from democracy, our very political system malfunctions. But we also live and work within a system that is intentionally designed to create a group of voters and a group of non-voters, creating barriers based on race, class, gender, and more. Voter registration and education and organizations like HeadCount are vital because they seek to break down those barriers, and establish a government that truly works for the people. However, it is important to remember that not everyone can vote – in fact, many of the people most impacted by government policy are disenfranchised due to citizenship status or criminal records. We must also lend our privileges to them, voting with them in mind, and recognizing the immensity of the gift that is our right to vote.



These AExME Council members are changing the world, and so are YOU. Tag #AExME @americaneagle to share how you’re using your voice to inspire change.


Get to Know AExME Council Member Edith Cruz


Immigrant Rights Activist



At age 6, AExME Council member Edith Cruz immigrated with her family from Aguascalientes, Mexico to Lexington, KY. Now a 19-year-old student at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Edith is using her voice to advocate for immigrant rights and education equity for all.


How is “equity” different than “equality”? Edith explains that it’s all about getting students what they need as individuals, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all solution.


“My parents made so many sacrifices to get us to the United States to have a better future, so that really inspires me every day,”

says Edith.

“I remember the hours my parents spent working from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in order to have even food for us on the table. And just imagining the hard work they put in inspires me to keep going, and to give back to them by working hard.”

A brave and generous writer, photographer, speaker, organizer, and music fan (The 1975, Shawn Mendes, and Mexican band Zoé are some of her faves), Edith’s hard work takes the form of storytelling. Both her feature radio show, Sobre La Mesa, and episodes she contributed to her high school’s podcast, Lighting the Torch, have given refugees and immigrants like herself opportunities to tell their own stories.


“I don’t want to be the voice of everyone. I want everyone to be the voice of themselves,”

says Edith, who channels her voice into changing the world.


Looking for even more inspiration? Look no further than this excerpt from Edith’s favorite poem, “In Lak’Ech,” by Chicano playwright Luís Valdez:


Tú eres mi otro yo.

You are my other me.


Si te hago daño a ti,

If I do harm to you,


Me hago daño a mi mismo.

I do harm to myself.


Si te amo y respeto,

If I love and respect you,


Me amo y respeto yo.

I love and respect myself.


Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.