-It takes the Youth
It is sad for Liberians to believe that their miserable living conditions and the underdevelopment of the country can only be transformed by politicians. Unfortunately, this would never happen until “Kingdom Come,” because politicians do not aspire for the country’s leadership for such lofty and noble ideals, but rather for self-enrichment, a young Liberian ‘Change Agent,’ Alfreda Daniels, has said.
Ms. Daniel told scores of young people at the opening of a two—day Youth Leadership Conference in Paynesville that Liberians’ overdependence and faith in political figures to make the country a better place for all will continue to be an elusive dream until Liberians, especially the young people, can take matters into their own hands.
The two-day (March 17-18) conference was held at the Redeemed Church of God at Neezoe Junction in Paynesville over the weekend.
Ms. Daniels, 25, who lives in the State of Minnesota in the United States, believes politicians, because of their selfish lifestyles and interests, do not have a vision to transform Africa’s oldest independent nation, lest to talk about improving the lives of its citizenry.
She said politicians will never bring about the changes that the Liberian masses desire because they don’t work in the interest of the people.
“You need to organize around issues and demand change and make sure that change comes. You need to demand change because you are the ones directly affected by the actions of your leaders. It is you all whose futures are being ruined by these corrupt leaders who do not care for their integrity and the advancement of the Liberian society,” she said.
“If you wait on them, you will continue to wait and wait because it will never happen. We have waited for almost 170 years and look at where we are now. This tells you that our leaders have failed us, so you need to champion the change that you want.”
She said Liberian politicians lack everything (patriotism, honesty, integrity, love for compatriots, among others) that a society desires for progress. “So if we are dependent upon them our country will go nowhere, and this is what they want. Our politicians do not want change and only want to perpetuate the status quo because that’s how they benefit, through ‘business as usual,’” she added.
“You are the one who elect these people so they have to be accountable to you. If they are not, you have to make them to be. You need to make the sacrifices and demand change,” she said.
Alfreda is a union organizer in the United States and works with the Minnesota state government as a community organizer engaged in advocacy for the wellbeing of union members. On March 8, 2017, the Governor of the state of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, appointed Ms. Daniels to serve on the state’s Board of Electricity, the first Liberian to ever serve on a Board in that state.
“Words cannot express my excitement at the moment! I’m ready to learn and serve,” she said upon learning of her appointment, on social media.
She holds double degrees in International Relations and Political Science, with a minor in Human Relations.
Alfreda left Liberia at the tender age of nine without any of her parents and had to live as a refugee all by herself; at times with good hearted people. “My story is a story of struggle, tears, sorrows,” she said.
“We have to take matters into our own hands as young people. How can we do this? By demanding change! We need to tell our leaders the kind of country we want and stop them from giving us what they want, because what they want only benefits them, their families and their close associates, not us. If we sit and think that it will happen all by itself, it will never.”
She told participants to have faith in themselves. “The decisions you make in life determine your future. No politician can make your life better, but you. You need to take actions and make the best decisions,” she added.
Alfreda said she has never been immune to hardship and destitution—a situation that many youth in Liberia are currently faced with. She said she has had her fair share of difficulties and challenges.
“Whenever you think about giving up, think about Alfreda Daniels. I had been through it all—homelessness, insults, assaults, loneliness,” she said, adding, “I have cried enough that the earth sometimes rejects my tears. I slept hungry many nights, was taken advantage of many times, but God has been by my side” she said.
The Senior Pastor of the Redeemed Church of God, Jerry Saway, who honored Alfreda for her invaluable services to the youth of Liberia, noted that the honoree is a role model for Liberian youth, especially the girls.
He said: “this is one young Liberian who is making headways in the US, though many other young Liberians are there plundering the vast opportunities that such a society presents them.
“Alfreda’s story is a lesson by itself; despite of her struggle she has managed to keep her head above the waters. Peer pressure, the many attractive things that have led more young people away, has never taken a toll on her. She has remained very steadfast… Alfreda, thank you for imparting knowledge into our youths.”
Meanwhile, the over 80 participants were taught the characteristics of a good leader; what an organization is; and why do people organize, as well as issues surrounding organizations. She urged participants to organize forums in their respective districts to scrutinize politicians who want to represent them.
Miss Daniels has received several awards and honors in the US. She is a 2017 Voices Magazine Award Nominee along with three other persons.