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Explore Your Identity with Ashanti Branch

    • Explore Your Identity with Ashanti Branch

      Do you know who you are, what you believe in, and why? Take a closer look at your identity with The Ever Forward Club’s Ashanti Branch.

      Use this moment to pause and reflect on your experiences, values, and identity. Founder and Executive Director of The Ever Forward Club Ashanti Branch shares how to build meaningful connections, practice healthier communication, and engage more deeply through a signature workshop, “Taking Off the Mask.”


      Introduction to Identity Reflection with Ashanti Branch


      Lesson 1: Who Are You?


      Lesson 2: Who Are You Listening To?


      Lesson 3: Where Are You Going?


      Experience Overview for Educators




      Ashanti Branch

      The Ever Forward Club
      Ashanti Branch is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ever Forward Club, which provides young men of color in middle and high school with mentorship and most importantly safe, brave communities that build character and transform lives. A former math teacher and assistant principal and an Education Fellow at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (the d.school), Ashanti is on a mission to change the way that students interact with their education and the way schools interact with students.





      *We are grateful to Ashanti Branch and the Ever Forward Club for their partnership in making this valuable content available to users at no cost through the XQ Forum. The inclusion of this content does not constitute an endorsement by XQ for the purchase of goods or services from this partner.

    • Ashanti ROCKS! Can’t wait for this!

    • What is a “negative” emotion that is actually a “positive” emotion in disguise?

    • Ashanti, is the Covid-19 crisis putting strains on young people’s ability to be their true selves? Or is this actually a moment of great authenticity? What do you see? And how can adults help?

    • Being your true self is hard in normal times, I find myself constantly code-switching. What are your thoughts on how we can support young people in coping while simultaneously being authentic? What are strategies to help create balance?

    • Hello Ann-Katherine,

      This is a pretty deep question and I appreciate it. I think it would take a lot of writing to really think it out completely, but all emotions are information. They are trying to tell us something, the question is, are we willing to listen.

      I will try with a very small example.

      I think that Anger is often an emotion that is often connected to our feelings when we experience something that does not demonstrate justice or fairness.

      the challenge with that definition is that many people lack the vocabulary of emotions, so we may call many things anger, when they may just be another emotion in disguise, and sometimes it is NOT a positive emotion, but it could be a less aggressive emotion.

      When I was in high school or even in my 20’s and I would ask a girl or woman for their phone number,  if she would say no, I would say that I got angry. Or was I really angry? Was something unfair or unjust about the response I got, NO!  But after further investigation of my emotions, I actually was embarrassed, but how do you show embarrassed to your friends, its pretty hard, because that is seen as a weak emotion, so anger usually wins.

      That’s a start… what are your thoughts about that?



    • Hello Sarah, I agree that being yourself can be challenging, especially when we give a lot of weight to the words, thoughts, and opinions of others.

      I want to thank you for bringing that word into the conversation, Code-Switching, I think that Code-Switching is a good skill to have so that students are able to adjust how they show up in different spaces. for example how they would show up at after school job vs. Amusement part,  or PE class vs. Club Sports, or Family gathering vs. the Bus Stop.

      I think the way that I support young people in knowing how to be authentic is by asking them, “Where are the places where you can be yourself?”  and hopefully they have at least one person or place where they can be themselves, thus turning off the switch

      We find that a lot of young people don’t have a space to be themselves and therefore they are not code-switching as much as they are always putting on a performance which can cause them to forget who they really are.

      Thank you for that question.

    • Hello Anne, thanks for your questions.

      We know that for many youth school is a place where they can feel seen, especially depending on how much they are seen at home.

      What we are seeing is that a lot of being your true authentic self at home depends on the love, respect, and approval of your support network. If you have a supportive home life, then it can lend itself to young people being able to fully be themselves at this time, but if your home life does not accept you, unconditionally,  you may have to wear masks to get along, to feel safe, or to receive love, in those cases students may not be able to be fully themselves.


    • Thank you, Ashanti, for your thoughtful reply. You’re reminding all of us that it makes a huge difference for young people to be accepted for who they are at home. This is a big challenge for parents right now–with high school students spending so much time at home and families experiencing so much stress.

      Would you recommend these video learning experiences to PARENTS? Would it make sense for parents to start with the EDUCATOR video?

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