100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale Mentee Elijah Manley has begun his path toward greatness
Manley has some big plans for his future in the political arena. The 15-year-old sophomore attends Fort Lauderdale High where he is active in the school’s Naval ROTC program and Magnet Criminal Justice Program.
By Charles Moseley
The late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,” “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Take Elijah Manley, a 15-year-old sophomore at Fort Lauderdale High School, where he is enrolled in their Navy ROTC Program as well as the Criminal Justice Magnet Program. He has already set his goals in life at a very high level.
By all outward appearances Manley looks like your typical unassuming teenager. However, upon closer examination, this young man is anything but typical. He displays a very calm demeanor which belies the intensity in his eyes when asked about his views on things going on in the complex world we live in.
Manley is among a chosen few who refuse to stand on the outside looking in, who don’t just want to go through life going along with the crowd but rather would rather become a leader and make a difference in the world.
While a lot of teenagers are aspiring to become the next superstar pro athlete ala LeBron “King” James or multi platinum rapper extraordinaire, ala Jay Z, Manley has chosen a different path in life. He has set a much loftier goal, one similar to that of a gentleman by the name of Barack Hussein Oba-ma. Manley has set his sights on one day residing on a piece of property, which just happens to be located along Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capital.
For now he resides in Fort Lauderdale with his mother Marchette Davis and has seven brothers and three sisters. As for now, Manley’s goals include attending college and pursuing a graduate degree in Political Science and PHD in Criminology. He also plans to serve in the military as an officer in either the U.S. Navy or Army.
“After that, I am going straight into politics and may well be your next President. I would love to have a family, and one day meet President Obama.”
I first became aware of Elijah Manley through Delores Bullard. Bullard, who was the former President of the North Broward Branch of the NAACP was befriended by the young man.
They met after she delivered a speech during Black History Month, at the Universal Christian Church of Christ in Oakland Park, Fla. Shortly there-after; Bullard, who was the first Black female police officer on the Pompano Beach Police Department, suggested that he take some suggestions on developing his leadership skills, one of which was that he contact the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale regarding its Leadership Academy.
“I think he’s a very bright and intelligent young man. And I believe whatever he sets his sights on in life he will achieve,” said Bullard.
Manley began participating in the 100’s Leadership Aca-demy last year and presently attends the Saturday morning sessions at Nova Southeastern University’s Huizenga School of Business.
“From the first day I met Elijah, I knew he was a young man serious about his future and having a positive impact on society. The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale is excited about the opportunity to share in the lives of young men like Elijah. It’s all of our responsibility to nurture the ideas and possibilities of our youth and the 100 embraces that responsibility,” said Dennis Wright, President of the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale.
The soft spoken young man takes his time when called upon to voice his opinion. His responses tend to be thought provoking and analytical in nature.
“Time is the best thing you can give someone, because you are giving a portion of your life that you cannot get back.”
“I say thank you to all of the mentors of the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale for helping me discover who am I, for empowering me, and being an arsenal of fatherly figures. They’ve really helped a lot of children become better and graduate high school. They are real leaders, added Manley.
During this past summer Manley interned at the Broward County Courthouse and also met several politicians, including gubernatorial candidate Charlie Christ, State Senator Christopher Smith, State Representative Perry Thurston, and Lauderhill Mayor Richard J. Kaplan. He made quite an impression on Representative Thurston.
“I think he is a great young man, said State Representative Thurston.
Manley is already delving in the political arena and plans on running for office in student government this year. He also is the Teen President of a civil rights youth organization he founded known as The Green House.
“I am starting my own organization called ‘The Green House’, which is a civil rights, and a leadership group for youth and teenagers in the United States to better this nation, save our children from self-destruction, protect children/teen rights, and lead the Youth Government. The Green House is head over a larger body of organizations apart of my own created national body — The U.S Youth Government. The U.S Youth Government is here to provide service to our youth, including mentorship, leadership, involvement in politics, helping minority males, helping children get through high school and into college, and working with federal law-makers for children laws.”
It’s not every day that you get to meet a young man like Elijah Manley or as he would like to say the future POTUS, albeit a bit premature; it’s never too early or too late to pursue your dreams in life. Or as R. Kelly once sang, “I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. If I can see it, then I can be it. If I believe it, I can achieve it. I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky.”
No one knows what the future will bring, but if I had to bet on one young man being successful in life, I’d put my money on Elijah Manley. His star is rising and his future is bright.