YOUTH participation and engagement is a critical aspect of our work in Al Qalam. With them being the next generation of leaders in our ummah, we can only hope to gain their trust and work with them towards peace. This includes reaching them on the platforms they use the most.
One of these platforms is in social media. In coordination with the Salaam Movement, we were able to launch the #MPower social media campaign last Sunday. The MPower concept is something we have worked on since early this year, and it evolved along with our regional workshops that we held in Davao, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro. It is also under this banner that the youth that participated in the trainings will launch their own social media campaigns as well.
We chose to empower the youth because being empowered can mean so many different things. Is it a story that motivates us? Is it a person? Is it an event or circumstance? Whatever the meaning, #MPower will be able to cover it all. It can stand for anything as long as you can relate to it.
Our Facebook page was able to gather a lot of responses from followers about the “M” that they identify with. We have people who chose “mutualism”, “macrocosm”, “mediator”, “morality”, “maturity”, and more. The conversation is still ongoing, and the MPower team will have more activities to announce in the coming days.
In our campaign, we have three main meanings for the “M”: Moro, Mindanawon and Millennial. We chose these meanings as we feel that these best encapsulates the identities of the youth we serve. Despite all our differences, there are still common denominators that link us to each other.
Our generation of Moros are brilliant, and are capable of doing much more than previous generations can. There is no limit to what they can do. As young leaders, a Moro voice is greatly needed in order to push for development in our regions. With the future plebiscite of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, and the implications that come with it, we know that the future is Moro.
Our being Mindanawon, on the other hand, gives us a shared identity with our brothers and sisters of different faiths. No matter what our differences may be, we share the same sense of hope and pride in our being from Mindanao. We break bread with those who have different opinions, because we all have the same common bond. Our willingness to serve, our being Mindanawon, helps us to bridge any gap.
The last, but not the least, is for the Millennial generation. Their zest for life, and their willingness to search for something greater -- this generation was taught that they could be anything they wanted, and so they did. They are independent thinkers and movers, but also value community and social mobility. They realize that changing the world means change in themselves as well.
So whether you are a Moro, Millennial, or a Mindanawon -- or all of the above -- you get to choose your “M”. Your "M" is what makes you unique. It is what makes you special. All of these fall under MPower, so long as you use it for the cause of peace and development.
And so, I ask you all this: What's your M?