Devonte Wilson is a teacher in rural North Carolina and co-chair of the New Leaders Council. He’s also insanely good at explaining how Black male teachers, whether they’re in urban schools, rural schools, or anywhere in between, have a significant impact on all of their students.
Only 2% of America’s current teaching force is African American men. Like Wilson points out in the video, that figure is even lower in rural states like North Carolina (and Kentucky) where there are often school districts without any Black male teachers at all. And yet, we know that representation is important and leaves a lasting impression on students. Wilson nails it as he explains why.
So if young Jamal can walk into his living room and see on television superheroes that look like him, walk into movie theaters and see heroes who look like him, if I can get him to say the same thing about his classroom… You know, I stand here today a proud success of yet another life changing endeavor. I stand before you as a testimonial memorial of perseverance, dedication, and devotion. Why? Because Jamal was actually my story. […] Why? Because I understood the biggest difference I could make was not on the main stage, but it was simply going back and telling Jamal, “I see you, and I’m here.”
Another fantastic reminder why diversity matters. The work must continue.
Photo courtesy of New Leaders Council (Medium).