(BALTIMORE – February 11, 2016) – I was glad when they asked me to come back to Achievement Academy @ Harbor City High School to speak to students. So, I went today. It is located at the former Northern High School. I had the sacred opportunity to talk to seniors and explain to them ‘the score’.
‘The score’ is our status as African Americans, and not just here in this country, but ultimately extending to our brothers and sisters in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and wherever else there is a black face, including Australia.
To the best of my ability, we touched a bit on the global. You see, I want our youth to have a passport and a global perspective. It’s a must.
We also talked about Black History. I should note that part of my assignment was to touch on dressing for success.
All of that, at least in my mind, is relevant to ‘the score’: Where we are, what the odds against are, and also what opportunities lie before us – no matter what mistakes we’ve made.
We alluded to the prison system. It’s a given that I am typically going to highlight this country’s propensity to incarcerate and how black people play the starring role. This school is majority African American and honestly, I believe somebody has to be honest with them about the world these 12th graders are about to officially enter.
Do know that no matter how bleak our lot might appear, I did my best to infuse in them a sense of hope, power, and faith; I told them that they can do anything to which they commit – and that hopefully it is not Percocets, the current trend among black youth. Do know that we talked about common sense and the trillion dollars black folks spend annually. Of course, Black Wall Street in Tulsa got some shine, as did Madam CJ Walker and Annie Malone, particularly given our females’ desire to look beautiful.
Let me not forget to mention that I told them how powerful a legacy we have as a people – from Harriet Tubman to the Pharaohs of Egypt to the pyramid on the back of a dollar bill. Essentially, I want them and all young black folks to know their greatness – no matter what others might say.
Our young people need our love, guidance and wisdom. And while I have a million other things I need to do, I thank God for people like Travis Winkey and Rev. Willie Ray. These men used to come up Lemmel and talk to students.
In short, I’m only passing on what was given to me, and lastly, I told the young people that they must one day come back and talk to students, too.
Happy Black History Month to the beautiful people – student and faculty – at Achievement Academy. The experience deeply enriched my soul and purpose for being.