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San Jose NAACP Youth Council And local youth join together for viewing “Birth of a Nation”

On the recent opening weekend for the movie “Birth of a Nation”, the NAACP Youth Council and San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP co-hosted a private showing, which chronicled the life of Nat Turner.  In addition to the invited students, a number of teachers, and administrators joined together with community members to learn about the history of Nat Turner and the legacy of slavery.  Following the movie, a discussion and sharing of thoughts took place, including how the situations covered in the movie, still affect us today.

Some of the discussion points that were mentioned included how “eye opening” the movie was. Some felt both sad and empowered by the movie. One student commented how in the movie Nat Turner, and the people who followed him had a strong brotherhood and relationship. That student also commented how people in her school today are not nearly as united as she saw in the movie.  Another point that was acknowledged was how there were scenes that you could still witness today in the 21st century: specifically, brutality and insensitivity, based solely on race.  Importantly, the movie encouraged the youth to want to learn about the past with the hope it will help address the problems of society today. This was voiced and acknowledged many times.

In my own reflection of the movie, I had many mixed feelings. I too felt sad, and angry, but also empowered. Being a 17 year old today, and watching this movie, has inspired me to continue to look and work for change. I realize how much racism has seriously harmed people of color and still persists today.  Change has been extremely slow in spite of the long history of African Americans in America. Topics such as police brutality, racial profiling, have always been a problem. I feel that viewing this film was a great way to encourage people of my age to seek change and gain knowledge about topics that matter. “Birth of a Nation” was truly an eye opening experience and it was a great way to take time and look back at the past and learn these historical lessons to aid us in moving forward with justice and fairness for all.

Written By:   Kyle Dacallos

NAACP Youth & College Division

Coming together as conscious, ambitious youth, we are proud to say that we are the San Jose/Silicon Valley Youth Council & College Division. Acting as one, our mission is to call attention to issues affecting African Americans, along with racial and ethnic minorities. We strive to shape our youth into the leaders of tomorrow, to strengthen within the African American community, and overall excel as a people. While we do everything in our efforts to empower our youth, we will be actively fighting in terms of creating a change. As youth, we will exercise our rights and use our voice to truly see the difference we all seek to find. We are firm believers that knowledge is power, and only through knowledge can we empower our youth.

Our most recent accomplishment was Co-sponsoring the Political Forum for City Council, District 6 race between Helen Chapman & Dev Davis. While getting a chance to experience the political world, we also got a chance to work with two exceptional, successful women. Andres Silva and Diana Freslassie, introducing the candidates with a warm welcome and backgrounds for both women, got to speak with the candidates first hand. Throughout the event, we provided a platform in which youth and adults were welcome to come and directly ask questions to their potential representatives-something that does not happen every day.

Our Youth Council officers set an exceptional example for their peers and serve as a helping hand. As leaders, we simply teach others how to lead themselves and spread the same effect. As we work closely with our mentors and peers, we plan on holding at least one event every month, each addressing a different issue that we feel is problematic for our community.

2016-2017 Officers

  1. Diana Freslassie of University Preparatory Academy-President
  2. Andres Silva of Del Mar High School-Vice President
  3. Warsai Berhane of Evergreen Valley High School-Secretary
  4. Mary Tesfaldet of John C. Kimball High School-Assistant Secretary
  5. Lihem Russom of Silver Creek High School-Treasurer
  6. Kyle Dacallos of Ohlone College-Assistant Treasurer

Meeting Schedule:

With meetings on the last Sunday of each month, we review our actions within the previous month, as well as plan precisely how we want the following month to look.
Time: 6:00 P.M     Location: TBD
For any additional questions/concerns, please feel free to contact Diana Freslassie at:
We look forward to working with you and coming together as one for the greater good!