Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine and Atlanta Daily World have joined forces to help a group of 25 African-American teenagers in Atlanta take #BlackExcellence in academia to the next level. The students were selected to join Harvard University’s distinguished summer residency program and are looking to raise $88,000 to cover scholarship costs.
“There was immediate synergy between the work of the Harvard Debate Council and our longstanding commitment to developing the city’s and nation’s future decision-makers,” says Tracie Howard, group publisher, Atlanta Tribune, Atlanta Daily World and Who’s Who In Black Atlanta and vice president, Real Times Media. “We are directly engaging our readers and the community to help raise money for the young scholars and collectively invest in their futures.”
The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, which is based in Atlanta, was designed as an avenue to help teens living in underserved communities overcome obstacles surrounding barriers to education. The program also aims to mold future social and political leaders who are dedicated to changing the landscape of the urban Atlanta community. The project’s participants are being trained by Harvard professors between January and June to prepare them for their summer residency at the university’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The preparation phase of the program is taking place at The Art Institute of Atlanta — which has, to date, contributed $10,500.
“We know that education, in all its forms, is a transformative force for the common good. We also know that it does start with a dialogue that uplifts, energizes, motivates, and enables young adults to embark on a path that will lead them to achieve their dreams,” says Newton Myvett, president, The Art Institute of Atlanta. “We are unleashing creativity, empowering people, and impacting the places where we live, love, and learn in unprecedented ways—giving shape to the boldest dreams and noblest causes.”
“Black people are magical,” says Brandon P. Fleming, HDCDP executive director and assistant coach of Debate at Harvard University. “I believe that whatever we haven’t accomplished as a community is not due to a lack of ability, but rather an absence of high-quality educational opportunities. African Americans are still fighting to compete on a level playing field in society. This truth inevitably results in an underrepresentation on leadership platforms and unheard voices regarding critical issues that adversely affect our communities. If we truly desire diversity in American leadership, then this connection is one that we cannot afford to neglect.”
Atlanta was selected as the program’s base for a number of reasons including Fleming’s avid recommendation and the existence of a vibrant high school and college debate community in the city. “Home to two of the most prestigious HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] in the country, we knew there was no better intellectual training ground for black youth than the city of Atlanta,” says Fleming. “This city will also provide the support necessary for our youth to thrive on a national stage.”
Readers are invited to make their donations HERE and can observe the progress of the fundraiser as the summer residency approaches.