The CDF Freedom Schools® program is rooted in the history and vision of the Civil Rights Movement, and Black leadership propels the program to this day. Every day at CDF Freedom Schools, young scholars learn about, reflect on, and apply the lessons of real-life Black heroes. In that spirit, we’re celebrating Black History Month by asking the staff of some of our exemplary CDF Freedom Schools sponsor organizations to tell us who inspires them and whose footsteps they seek to walk in as they serve our country’s children.
Inspiring figures in Black history: Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X
I’m inspired by Marcus Garvey around his commitment to building Black nationhood and wealth; additionally, I’m also inspired by Malcolm X’s ability for self-reflection and commitment to personal growth.
What about this person’s story or legacy inspires you today?
As Black America (and people of color) assume their power in communities, their lives and vision are coming full circle. We are standing in our own authority, expertise, and commitment to breaking the system to build a more just and equitable world for all. The influence of the [Black Lives Matter] movement is the personification of “by any means necessary.”
How do you seek to live your life or serve the young people of your community in that person’s honor?
They inspire me to continue to create space and hold systems accountable to authentically redistribute power to communities while ensuring that youth are at the decision table. During the 1960’s in particular we saw an upswell of youth standing in their authority and power to create a better place for themselves and their communities… I hope that my work is both honoring them while giving our youth of today the tools to carry the flag of race equity and inclusion into the next century.
The views expressed above are those of the individual interviewed.