I Have Risen – Essays by African American Youth
Originally published in 2006 in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, I Have Risen – Essays by African American Youth, is an inspirational collection of 50 essays written aspiring by Ron Brown Scholars. It tells the incredible stories of minority youths who overcame numerous obstacles in their lives – from living in extreme poverty to surviving in some of America’s toughest neighborhoods – and translated that hardship into an unrelenting commitment to better themselves and their world. The book allows readers to encounter the personal perspectives of the young students whose narratives were written as part of the RBS application process during their senior year in hi gh school. The stories capture the essence of the human spirit, giving I Have Risen the dynamic ability to inspire young people of from all backgrounds.
The birth of this volume can be traced to an impromptu brainstorming session among a small group of individuals including: Executive Director Michael Mallory, Associate Director Vanessa Evans, and Board of Trustees member Chris Pilaro. The journey of this project, as well as the journeys of virtually all of the Ron Brown Scholars (those whose stories appear in the book as well as the 295 others who, as of 2012, are proud members of the Ron
Brown Scholar family), are inspiring and encouraging testaments to determination, tenacity, and the creation of positive change.
Scholar connections provided access to an expert in layout and design from Harvard University, Lorraine Ferguson. Renowned photographers Andre Lambertson, Joseph Rodriguez and Clarence Williams, whose lenses have long documented social issues both here and abroad, joined the project to document the individual Scholars. Charleston-based journalist Sybil Fix, who has worked extensively on issues of race and education, served as editor. The result is a thought-provoking volume sharing the lives of young African-Americans who have varied interests and pursuits, but one common goal: to use their lives and experiences to make a difference for others.
The beauty of I Have Risen is that the essays did not end with the book’s publication. As the Ron Brown Scholar family continues to grow annually and as its Scholars mature and move into and gain success and stature in their professional lives, their stories continue to evolve. But the basic tenets of giving back and paying forward through service — at a community and global level — remain and are continually strengthened.
There is still much to accomplish, many stories yet to be told, and many intellectually-gifted, service-minded young minority students who will benefit by the special opportunities and strong support and mentorship offered to Ron Brown Scholars. Supporting the Ron Brown Scholar Fund is an investment in the future strength-through- diversity of America.
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