“Knowledge of self forms the underpinnings of self-esteem, which is at the root of the challenges facing youths of color today,” says Earl Davis, the Executive Director. “Assemblyman Wright provides us with this important mechanism that is ‘making a difference’ in our city, state, as well as in the country.”
The 1st Annual “Making a Difference” Award will be given during a 2-hour event at Columbia University, and it’s part of a larger effort the organization has been undertaking since it was created. For example, the organization now partners with the New York State Department of Education, to make the necessary changes to implement the inclusion of African American history into the larger American history.
“This partnership has provided the opportunity to make notes to the draft curriculum for Social Studies K-9, now referred to as a Framework,” wrote Davis in a statement. “A significant development because it allowed PB’s Amistad Watch to participate in the process of fully realizing our goal of putting the African American experience into the curriculum of the NYS public schools but it also took our scope from being ‘local’ to statewide.”
The organization has also partnered with inspiring personalities from the community, creating videos in which each person describes how African American history has influenced their lives. The Impact of Knowledge video series includes individuals such as Michelle Ellis, of Columbia University School of Law, who says that African American history helps her to prepare for the future so that she can make better choices.
This year the organization also plans to launch The Textbook Stipend Project, a program that hopes to make the gap from high school to college process easier for students who will receive a four-year stipend for books and supplies. The program will send its first awardee to college in September.
Davis, who is also an experienced musician and will perform at the event, says he started the organization because he wants to give back to his community. The organization is now in the process of introducing its first music project, which seeks to engage students in area school music programs in the recording process of music from the ground up and documenting it.
“We want to engage community members to think of ways to expose children to a myriad of careers,” says Davis, commenting on the diversity of the organization’
The 1st Annual “Making a Difference” Award will be presented on May 23, 2014 at Faculty House at Columbia University (64 Morningside Dr.), 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The minimum suggested donation is $30. The event will include a cocktail reception, performances, and presentation of the award.
For more information, contact Project Brownstone (133 W 131st St.) at (212) 694-3526. Its website is projectbrownstone.org