In his op-ed piece for the Washington Post, former NFL tight end, and Texas A&M graduate, Martellus Bennett provides his personal perspective on why young black boys aren’t encouraged to dream of being something other than athletes.
I was blessed enough to be a kid in Chicago in the ’90s. This means I grew up a Bulls fan, more specifically, a Michael Jordan fan. How could I not be? Jordan’s run with bulls in the ‘90’s arguably changed basketball forever. Time and time again, I—along with every other boy in my school—would spill out on to the basketball court at recess and try to recreate the almost poetic athleticism that Jordan and the company displayed on the court the night before.
Fortunately, despite my athletic ambitions, I had parents who placed education above everything. My father, who was a chemist by training, constantly pushed books in my path, talked to me about current events, and challenged me to think freely and be able to defend my beliefs.
As Mr. Bennett states in his piece, “With the right preparation and the power of imagination, every black boy can win. Every dream is achievable for black boys.”
The right preparation begins with supporting education, and that is one of the focuses of the Booker T. Washington Initiative. The Initiative works to ensure that there is greater educational freedom and more opportunities available so that young boys and girls can grow up to not only change their communities but change the world.