I know I’m a little late with this one, but don’t blame me…blame the media. Recently I received an email about an entire graduating class of African American male students’ receiving scholarships to colleges and universities across the country. As I read the story tears filled my eyes and eventually streamed down my face. I was so proud of these young men for not falling victim to their circumstances. So proud of them for accomplishing what some probably felt was the impossible.
Unfortunately, my pride for these young men almost immediately turned to anger. I was angry that I had to find out about this amazing accomplishment from an email. I find it amusing that the media is quick to broadcast when a group of Black students gets into a fight, or when a Black man kills a White woman. They even find time to talk about how many women Tiger Woods has cheated on his wife with. Yet a story as inspirational as this, a story that has the potential to impact so many children’s lives, not just African American children, but children of all races, goes unnoticed. Even after I received the email, I googled the story, only to find it mentioned in few blogs and the Chicago Tribune. I’m sure these young men didn’t accomplish what they did for the recognition, but at the same time, I can almost assure you that had all of them gotten arrested or gotten expelled, it would have made every news channel in America. How sdrawkcab (backwards) is that? What kind of signal are we sending to our youth? You go to jail, the world will know, you get into the college, no one cares. It’s almost like we glorify ignorance and ignore intelligence. I can’t even begin to try to comprehend that.
So to the distinguished gentlemen of the Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, continue to make us proud. When you get to the college or university that you’ve chosen, continue to hold onto those values that have been instilled in you over the years. Show them why and how you earned that scholarship. I know the temptations and distractions that await you on college campuses, but please don’t lose focus. Please don’t let anything or anyone cause you to take your eyes off the prize. For some the prize may be to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, community leader, or an entrepreneur. For others it may be to become the next President of the United States. Whatever your prize is, go for it. Even when people tell you it’s impossible, GO FOR IT! It’s not going to be easy, there will probably be some days that you may want to give up, but you can’t. You have to continue to fight. Fight for what you want. Fight for the young men that are coming behind you. I can guarantee you, there’s some little boy watching you, saying “I want to be like him”. The best is yet to come. You matter and we’re rooting for you. Continue to make us proud!
*Correction* It was also mentioned on CNN as well. See comments for link