On March 9th DonCARES of Philadelphia Board Members, Donovan Forrest and David Ford had the opportunity to speak to five classes at Microsoft's School of the Future in West, Philadelphia. What started as an information session for DonCARES' Mentoring Program turned into a more in-depth discussion on what it meant to be black and a college student in America.
David Ford, a soon to be college graduate from Temple University and educator stressed the importance of countering traditional stereotypes of what it means to be a young black male pursuing a high school diploma.
"How many people in this room know Meek Mill?" Ford asked a group of young men in Ms. Conquest's Spanish Class at the high school.
"Now, how many people in this room have heard of Lil Yachty?" Ford continued as the whole class rose their hands at the sound of the famous millennial rapper's name. "How many people know about Lil Uzi?" Ford continued. "What about Martin Delany?" After his last question, the whole class was silent.
"What about Martin Delany?"
That's the problem. Ford exclaimed. "They don't want you to know the ones who paved the way for you to be where you are today. They want you to know the rappers, the athletes, the basics. They aren't going to teach you your history either. You have to read and find out." During their conversation with the high school students in West, Philly both Forrest and Ford expressed the importance of gaining a formal education after high school. "Whatever it is, continue to gain an education, Always remember that education is to liberty as wheels are to a vehicle that's determined to move forward so it's important to taking your schooling seriously," Forrest responded to a student's earlier question on why they should get a formal education after high school.