Actor and rapper Common, former Ambassador Andrew Young and Governor Deval Patrick will be among 500 black leaders and luminaries who will make appearances at schools across the country in a show of solidarity to students, while bringing renewed attention to the nation’s education system.
These leaders will share their personal experiences, including the triumphs and toils they encountered along their paths to success, on Friday, September 23, 2011 as part of the 2nd Annual Back to School with the HistoryMakers program.
This marriage of African American notables from popular culture and politics with America’s youth is the brainchild of Julieanna Richardson, The HistoryMakers founder and executive director. She aims to “place black leaders in direct and sustained” contact with young people in schools across the nation.
“Our HistoryMakers embody our commitment to education and are a wonderful example of true service—service that can literally change the course of the lives of thousands of young people,” said Richardson in a statement to press. “This is just the beginning as we are making our digital collection of more than 8,000 hours of video testimony available, free of charge, to all participating schools.”
The day’s theme is “COMMIT,” and organizers have placed emphasis on encouraging youth to commit to excellence, to learning their history and to achieving beyond what they think is possible.
The one-day program will take place simultaneously in 107 cities across 34 U.S. states, including Puerto Rico.
Other scheduled participants include activist and talk show host the Rev. Al Sharpton, political commentator and talk show host Roland Martin, singer-actress Melba Moore, Broadway choreographer George Faison, poet Nikki Giovanni, actress Marla Gibbs, actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, poet-author Sonia Sanchez and author-filmmaker Antwone Fisher. –yvette caslin