In honor of Black History Month, our students were invited to the fifth annual Youth Thought Leadership Symposium hosted by the New York Knicks and Garden of Dreams.
On Feb. 6, students were treated to a tour of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a world-leading cultural institution devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
In addition to the tour, they attended an interactive discussion between former Knicks player Allan Houston, who is now the vice president of player leadership and development for the team; Talaya Gaines, vice president of content strategy and programming at Madison Square Garden Network; Aldrin Enis, President of One Hundred Black Men Inc.; and actress and singer Amirah Vann.
Students from Frederick Douglass Academy, a Children’s Aid community school in the Bronx, left the event feeling inspired.
As a boxing fan, Dewinsky Ramirez, 18, was amazed at the photo of Muhammad Ali displayed at the Schomburg Center. The conversation between the speakers also reminded him about the lessons he’s learning in the classroom.
“One thing I really enjoyed about the speech was how they spoke about grit and how to overcome any obstacles to stay on track of whatever goal you have,” he said. “That’s what stood out to me the most because I actually take a grit class in my school, and I’m learning about perseverance and how to stay motivated and dedicated in my career.”
After touring the Schomburg Center – where he was inspired by a large photo of a Black Lives Matter march during the pandemic – and listening to the conversation between panelists, 17-year-old Richard Enyaah reflected on the importance of perseverance.
“I was taught perseverance because throughout history, Black people faced so much and that taught me to have patience and to always strive forward,” he said.