Every day I wake up with the dream of seeing large numbers of black youth beating the odds, being celebrated for their intellectual strengths and honored for their achievement.
Instead, most days I wake up to a story quite different than that. I wake up to disparities and recurring reports of failure, death, and blight. I stay woke throughout the day as I keep my mind focused on the many ways we must fight for schools that work for our kids, schools that tap their potential and launch their dreams.
If this is your mission too you understand there is no way to persist in this activism without finding the truth of our success. As the whole world awfulizes our kids, we have to amplify the fact that some educators are winning with them.
So, today I see this post from Tim King, leader of Urban Prep Academy in Chicago:
For the SEVENTH consecutive year, 100% of Urban Prep Academies‘ seniors have been admitted to college. I’m so proud of these young men. But I’m not the only one: Ice Cube, Common, Cedric The Entertainer,Regina Hall, and Deon Cole from “Barbershop: The Next Cut” came by to surprise and congratulate the seniors. Each gave amazing words of encouragement to the students. I had a chance to see the movie, directed by the incredibly talented Malcolm Lee and produced by the incredibly committed Robert Teitel (who also came to Urban Prep for the announcement). Let me tell you, the movie is FANTASTIC–and I’m not just saying that because Urban Prep and I are in it! (Shout out to Michael Kardas on the photos and Nick Zembruski for the design work).#TenAndChange#WeBelieve
Take it in. 100% of a senior class at an urban high school where young black men in ties, with poise and grace, announce they have been accepted into colleges.
And, hip hop and Hollywood notables come to celebrate them for being the most promising graduates of our generation.
Imagine a world where this story was the norm, where schools in tough neighborhoods helped black youth succeed in spite of seemingly insurmountable social and economic troubles.
Now, realize it isn’t a dream. It exists and we should support it.
I am so grateful that there are people like Tim King in this universe, people who focus their time and energy on creating environments where our kids associate their blackness with excellence.
He has basically created a K-12 version of an HBCU, something we can take pride in and rally around year after year.
Thank you Mr. King.