On May 5, 2022, in an elegant room at San Francisco’s City Hall, 25 African American male public high school seniors walked across the stage to enthusiastic applause, getting deserved recognition for winning college scholarships from San Francisco Achievers. Parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends were all in attendance, as were San Francisco dignitaries Mayor London Breed, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, and SF Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. All three Black civic leaders spoke from the heart to the youth, reciting personal stories of hardship and how they overcame tough challenges. The keynote speaker Dr. Matthews, for example, failed his first year at college and returned home “with his tail between his legs,” but then went on to earn a PhD and fulfill his dream of becoming an educational leader. Two student speakers and one SF Achievers alumni were eloquent. “You are your ancestors’ dreams,” said a SF Achievers college student, referring to their enslaved African American ancestors, and the phrase was repeated many times throughout the evening by Mayor Breed and others. The role of faith was paramount in the experiences of both students and civic leaders; they spoke openly about relying on God, prayer, and faith to help overcome the inevitable difficulties and discrimination they faced, and those the graduating seniors will face at college and beyond. One SF Achievers college senior was told by a professor that he couldn’t “handle” the biology major, but with faith and family support he persevered and will enter medical school in the fall.
SF Achievers gave Calvary special thanks from the podium for our support and also listed us in the program. They have been one of Calvary’s focus nonprofit partners since 2014 (now a “Matthew 25 Partner for Change”). SF Achievers assists African American young men to obtain the education, skills, resilience, and support needed to thrive in life.
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