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Feb 11 2011

Kevin Powell Urges Student Participation in Society

New York, N.Y. (Feb. 11, 2011) –
A noted African-American author and activist, speaking to NYIT students, declared today’s youth as the “change-agents” of society.  But he cautioned that movements need deep thinkers, and do not happen overnight.

Kevin Powell, speaking at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway as part of Black History Month, quizzed students on authors and key events in U.S. history. He urged the audience to study their cultures in order to grow personally and professionally. 

Growing up with a young single mother amid poverty in New Jersey, Powell said he read everything from Langston Hughes and Richard Wright to Malcolm X.

“Reading saved my life,” he said during the lecture Thursday.

Powell, the 2010 Democratic candidate for Congress in Brooklyn, N.Y., and former cast member of MTV’s The Real World, is a popular voice on multiculturalism, American and black history, and civic engagement. The author of 10 books, he repeatedly urged students to read everything related to their careers. He also defined success as an incredible appetite for knowledge, learning, and passion for what people do. 

He also encouraged students to be involved in their history and their futures, but asked them to use caution in a society that is inundated with technology. “Nothing can be worse if all of this technology dumbs us down so that we are misspelling words on Twitter,” he said.

Powell’s lecture was part of NYIT’s cultural series for Black History Month, hosted by the Black Student Union and Student Programming Association.

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 15,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 85,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit


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