Hats off to Mayor Bloomberg, philanthropist George Soros and others for stepping up to the plate and spearheading efforts to change the lives of boys in New York City.
Like Mayor Bloomberg, I am deeply concerned that too many boys are increasingly without the knowledge and mindset they need to succeed and are too isolated from our mainstream economic system and society. That’s why the W.E.B. Du Bois Society will soon launch Livefor30 — a free, monthly webcast series aimed at connecting Black middle and high school boys with athletes, business leaders, entertainers and other prominent figures who will share their stories firsthand of academic ambition and persistence through life obstacles. Students will be allowed to submit questions and garner advice. These ongoing, inspirational conversations will help motivate young men to prioritize academic ambition — whatever their life circumstances — and to realize the value of an education for any kind of life success.
We are expecting hundreds of successful, respected African-American men will step up to invest their time by participating in these Livefor30 webcasts — volunteering an easy 30 minutes to engage with, influence, and inspire young, impressionable Black boys all over the nation. Additionally, we welcome partnerships with other organizations that are interested in building upon these webcasts to further change boys’ perceptions about who has the ability to learn and succeed and who has not.
Malcolm X said, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” There is a great deal to be done and all of us have a role we can play to ensure America’s boys secure their passports and are not left behind.
Etienne LeGrand is the president and co-founder of the W.E.B. Du Bois Society.