TheGrio’s 100: Decker Ngongang, mobilizing Millennials to change America

TheGrio's 100 - In the age of the Internet, Millennials have an increased access to political power -- they just need a little help speaking out on their issues...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

In the age of the Internet, “Millennials” have an increased access to political power — they just need a little help speaking out on their issues. At activist website, Decker Ngongang develops programs like Democracy 2.0 that provide budding activists a forum to develop Millennial-led solutions for topics ranging from financial literacy to aiding the environment – effectively preparing them to civically engage in their own communities.

Decker Ngongang is making history … by equipping Millennials with the opportunities to change America themselves — with the right networking. Ngongang’s youth was defined by civic organizations that allowed him to shape society. This background in activism helped him run 80 Million Strong, a program that empowered Millennials to advocate for legislation that would improve their access to jobs.

Now with’s Democracy 2.0 initiative, Ngongang has helped fund more than 20 Millennial-led projects which address topics like leveraging social media to increasing civic involvement. But his job is not to guide the conversation, just facilitate – Ngongang has to let these young citizens find their own activist voices, just as he did as grassroots outreach coordinator back in North Carolina.

What’s next for Decker?

This year, Ngongang will host Democracy 2.0 Summits across the country to engender a collaborative, solution-oriented discussion addressing the nation’s decline of completed higher education, a downturn that has led to America’s slipping rank in producing college graduates – currently 10th out of 12 developed nations.

What inspires Decker?

“My generation, the Millennial generation isn’t hopeless; we aren’t apathetic, and we are connected and committed to making the future better,” Ngongang told theGrio. “I am inspired by the intention of the everyday young people I meet and motivated to match their passion, energy and commitment to making the world better for more people.”

In his own words …

“We all…have the ability to reinforce a message that social change comes not from huge institutions, not from governments, or from corporations or foundations, but instead it comes from the will of passionate individuals who take the potential energy of passion and unite it with the kinetic energy of organization with others and make change happen,” Ngongang told blog Social Citizens in 2009.

A favorite quote …

“I think that our culture doesn’t recognize passion because real passion has the power to disrupt boundaries. I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility.”” – Bell Hooks

A little-known fact …

For the first time in the 21st century, the current generation of college-aged Americans will be less educated than their parents.

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