In October, thanks to the generous contribution of a Beyond 12 donor, our board and staff had the privilege of traveling to Montgomery to visit the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Some of us also had the opportunity to visit the Rosa Parks Museum and to walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of the “Bloody Sunday” beatings of civil rights marchers in 1965. I don’t think I will ever be able to write words that are powerful and eloquent enough to describe the profound impact that this visit had on me personally and professionally. EJI’s founder, Bryan Stevenson, is helping our nation shape a more accurate narrative about race and justice. It is EJI’s belief that we must “truthfully confront our history of racial injustice before we can repair its painful legacy.” While I wrote down a notebook’s worth of quotes that moved our team, this invocation by civil rights activist and educator, Mary McLeod Bethune, hit home for many of us: “If we have the courage and tenacity of our forebears, who stood firmly like a rock against the lash of slavery, we shall find a way to do for our day what they did for theirs…” Yes, indeed, we shall, and we are honored to do our part to address the legacy of injustice in our education system.
About Beyond 12
Beyond 12 is a high-tech, high-touch coaching platform that helps high schools, college access programs, and colleges provide their students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education. Founded by Alexandra Bernadotte in 2009, Beyond 12 works to dramatically increase the number of historically under-represented students who graduate from college. For more information about Beyond 12, visit www.beyond12.org.