I recently completed the first summer of my two summer leadership program for Black male college students called, The Institute for Responsible Citizenship www.i4rc.org. Every year, the Institute selects twenty-four of the most promising Black male college students in the nation, who posses great talent and capability to be a part of their program. Members of the Institute, take classes in government and economics, intern at various locations in the nation’s capital, and are treated to meetings with several individuals who work in both the private and public sector.
This summer I had the opportunity to meet civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Congressman Jesse Watts, civil rights activists Vernon Jordan, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, former Ambassador to The Gamibia George Haley and Co-Founder of BET/ Owner of the Washington Mystics Ms. Sheila Johnson. The seniors in the program met Colin Powell, Congressman Charlie Rangel, and some of the brothers met Congressman Danny Davis and Secretary of State Condelezza Rice. In addition, we met various lawyers, non-profit founders, business leaders, and civic leaders.
Summer 2008 was a busy one. I did not have much time to breathe. When we were not interning we were in class, and when we were not in class we had a meeting with a V.I.P. I enjoyed the classes I took and I believe I learned some valuable life lessons from them.
Most of all, I really enjoyed getting to know all the brothers in my program. Each of them hold a desire to serve as agents of positive social change in their community. I’m certain that all of us will contribute something meaningful to the community.
We call each other brothers because during the duration of the 8 week program we truly got to know each other and were able to form bonds similar to a familial one.
I’m thankful to all of the members of Bates’ staff , faculty and administrators who recommended me for the program. I am extremely blessed that I was selected to be a part of The Institute for Responsible Citizenship.
Yours in the struggle, I am