Question: What is the #1 Killer of African Americans in America?
Answer: Low Self Image (Esteem)!!
While not a popular topic for discussion, many African American males possess a low self image. There can be many reasons for this reality and discussions as to their origins may be debated across dinner tables, political venues, churches, and other social settings. The fact remains that many African Americans in general and African American males in particular unconsciously have a low image of themselves. We are not here to discuss the reasons or origins for this unsettling reality. In fact, recent data reveals other minorities and persons of non-color disadvantaged financially, also suffer from low self esteem. Despair and hopelessness abounds in our society.
The Liberty Street Project seeks to target those young citizens of Leesburg Virginia who may possess a feeling of low self esteem. To do this we have adopted a philosophy of the late Booker T. Washington in his famous 'Great Compromise' speech. In that historic speech one of his main themes was to "Cast your bucket where you are". We likewise will identify the young citizens 'where we are' which is in the heart of Leesburg Virginia. We will cast our buckets 'Where They Are' meaning that many of our young citizens escape from the harsh realities of life through the use of arcade and computer games. This escape from reality is enabled by the computer which is 'where they are'.
We will use the very escape mechanism (the computer) to teach them how computers actually work. We will re-orient them from being a consumer of computer products to become a producer of computer workstations. No, we don't intend to build a smelting plant or tool and die shop. Instead we will work with computer part manufacturers and embark on a program that teaches our young citizens how to assemble systems for efficient performance. Hands on training has proven to be a valuable teaching tool especially in things mechanical and even technical. When our young citizens are able to demonstrate a proficiency in computer assembly, repair, and maintenance we will give it to them. We know the effects of accomplishment. We also know this will work because we have seen it before!