What Yara Shahidi Does to Stay Positive

Yara Shahidi at the 2019 MA Conference for Women

You might wonder: Why wouldn’t this 19-year-old feel positive?

Michelle Obama wrote her a letter of recommendation for Harvard. Oprah said she could be president someday. She stars in the popular TV shows, Black-ish and Grown-ish. She has a famously supportive family. And, she’s remarkably well adjusted.

Well, there is, as she puts it, the “never-ending list of social ills and troubles that can naturally spiral into feelings of hopelessness.”

As an activist and student at heart, Yara pays close attention to the issues and is dedicated to engaging other young people in them. So, paying attention to what’s going wrong in the world is a good deal more than a sideline in an otherwise glamorous life. Sometimes, it gets overwhelming.

“That’s why I lean on networks,” she said. “My family was the first to connect me to what it means to be socially engaged. My friends remind me I am not alone in the fight for a fair and equitable world. My mentors and peers are part of my personal infrastructure.”

Reflecting on the gathering she was addressing in Boston, Yara explained that she sees the value of a network as one of “lifting one another up regardless of personal outcome, and we all get to grow as a result.”


Read more from the December 2019 newsletter.