Harsh rain and wild wind were not enough to stop the first annual Black & Proud to Be College Bound conference. 180-plus tenacious students and parents from across the Bay Area made the trek to San Francisco State University to take part in the conference. The day kicked off with the world-premiere of “Rebound: Get Yours” The Justin Davis Story, an 8 minute biopic that illustrates the importance of obtaining a college degree. The video set the tone for what the day was all about.
The morning plenary continued with words from the board of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Mitchell Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein, Ph. D. They shared their sentiments on the importance of the conference and their decision to invest specifically in the area of young black males. Conference participants then heard from Dr. Kenneth Montiero, Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, Walter Robinson, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Admissions at University of California, Berkeley, and lastly, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Speaker pro Tempore. Collectively, the speakers emphasized the importance of developing self-awareness, striving for success, and building a cohort of peers that will support, encourage, and work with you to become college-ready.
The morning was followed by several engaging workshops, ranging from obtaining financial aid to the role education plays in developing and maintaining successful career. Participants reconvened in the afternoon for a raffling of gift cards and two Flip cameras. The event ended with the CEO of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Cedric Brown, reiterating the important messages from the morning speakers and asking each young man to sign a pledge (see below) committing themselves to becoming college-ready. It was truly an epic day!
COLLEGE BOUND BROTHERHOOD PLEDGE
I am Black and proud to be college bound.
I pledge to join the 1000 other brothers on the pathway to college.
I will be focused and determined, courageous and tenacious.
I pledge to set goals that I will not only reach but surpass.
I pledge not to procrastinate when there is work to be done.
I will find and use resources that will help me to be prepared.
I will follow these values in my pursuit of higher education and
other opportunities of a lifetime.
(Written by young men from Bay Area high schools)
photo source: Derek Lassiter