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Layna Hong: Elevating the inner activist

By East Dockery

Layna Hong, 16, is an intense and passionate high school student who has graduated from trying to gain her own “peace of mind” to giving a piece of her mind to anyone she thinks needs to hear it.

“Being really insecure about yourself, it makes you not wanna put yourself out there,” she said. “So, after I got more confident, I cut off all my hair, and I guess it’s really helped me put myself out there.”

And by putting herself out there, she encouraged others to put themselves and their opinions out there as well.  By being a part of the New Generation Peace Builders, Layna and her team put together projects such as political harmony seminars. Through those seminars, students were shown both the Democrat and Republican perspectives and were able to have discussions without too much aggression.

“It was interesting to hear everyone’s point of views without automatically being on the offense,” she said.

Not only does she listen to people’s opinions but she writes a lot of them as well for her East Mecklenburg High School newspaper. For her school newspaper, she edits all sorts of topics such as cultural appropriation, electoral college, reverse racism, and even memes. She likes to write opinions that “get people talking.”

When Layna is not being the voice of the people, she likes to read books, such as Twilight, help out her mom at their family nail salon, be a big sister to her two younger siblings, or grab an iced white mocha from Starbucks.

Layna, a diverse individual herself, also has a caring heart and notices the need to recognize the diversity in LGBT communities, homeless communities, and even the disabled.

Layna’s caring heart and expressive ways have allowed her to make an impact on her community and hopes to one day become a reporter or opinion writer.

“In my future career, I hope to inspire as many young girls as I can that look like me to know that you can do it,” Layna said. “You can leave your mark on the world by being just who you are.”