From the outside I am sure I don’t look qualified to write a blog on Black History Month, but in the past five years I have become passionate about increasing my understanding of race and equality in America. That led me to launch a non-profit, Trajectory Foundation, to fund $16,000 college scholarships for black students to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
For me, this journey started during 2014-2016 when multiple incidents resulted in black Americans dying at the hands of police officers. Protests spurned movements like Black Lives Matter. In all honesty, I couldn’t make sense of how this was happening. I dove into reading as much as I could, listened to Podcasts and watched powerful documentaries, such as 13th (Netflix).
What resulted from these efforts was pure personal embarrassment. I was embarrassed of not understanding the devastating impacts of the war on drugs, on how that war was rooted in the Jim Crow policies of the South, and in slavery itself. I was embarrassed that I didn’t understand that in our justice system, as Bryan Stevenson states, it is better to be “rich and guilty than poor and innocent.” I was embarrassed of the bubble of white privilege I lived in. Through this process I had changed my perspective and developed the empathy I inexplicably lacked.
But empathy alone is silence.
So, in 2017 I put my time and resources into launching Trajectory Foundation with the simple mission of funding scholarships to HBCUs for black students to try to change the trajectory of their lives. To date, we have funded two students and will award two more scholarships this spring. This month our website profiles 12 trail blazing black Americans whose stories of courage, talent, sacrifice, and perseverance are symbolic to the celebration of Black History Month. We hope you’ll click through to learn about people like Major Taylor, Althea Gibson, and Tom Joyner.