Last Friday, October 17th, I attended the Level Playing Field Institute‘s (LPFI) Annual Fairness Matters Gala event, which honored Dr. Tyrone Hayes and Justice Matters Institute for their work in creating opportunities for students of color within California.
A core grantee of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, LPFI was founded in 2001 by Dr. Freada Kapor Klein and “promotes innovative approaches to fairness in higher education and the workplace by removing barriers to full participation.” Because the mission of LPFI resonates very well with our Black Boys College Bound Initiative work, each of our 11 BBCBI grantees were able to send one staff member and one young man from their programs to attend this event. It was a great opportunity for them to learn more about LPFI’s programs.
I was inspired by Dr. Tyrone Hayes’ award acceptance speech in which he highlighted significant moments in his history where he struggled with racism in spite of high levels of academic achievement. He talked warmly about various individuals who saw opportunity in him and scaffolded him even when he wasn’t performing at his best potential. I was also touched by one of the IDEAL (
Initiative for Diversity in Education and Leadership) Scholars who spoke of her personal struggles as a poor immigrant from Mexico who was able to transcend her economic status to be the first in her family to attend college through the support of LPFI and the IDEAL Scholars program.
The overwhelming message that I got from the event and all the speakers is that help can come from the most unexpected places. I am very grateful for all the educators and elders in my past who saw fit to encourage me and for the organizations like LPFI whose missions are to give that extra bit of support that can help change the lives of well-deserving and dedicated youth from low-income communities and communities of color.