Voices of the Past Share Wisdom for the Future
Out of the classroom, and into the community...
Cassandra Brown isn’t learning about black history from a textbook, a computer or even a classroom lecture. Instead, the 17-year-old is discovering the past through conversations with those who lived it.
“We have never been relaxed in our work”
Ms. Esther Bush is the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. She had an opportunity to meet with students, like Cassandra, by taking part in a video called, The Historical and Cultural Literacy Project.
“I love this educational approach for our youth, and was flattered to be interviewed,” said Ms. Bush. “It makes me believe the younger generation is going to learn from our successes, our mistakes and understand how African Americans contributed mightily to the growth and development of America.”
“Imagine your dream. Now go after it.”
The creative video is part of the National Urban League’s, Project Ready Program. It gives students an opportunity to research black history, interview those who contributed to it and record their conversations on camera.
“Through these stories, it’s important for students to realize they too can reach for the stars and achieve anything they put their mind to,” added Bush. “We’ve come a long way – and have never been relaxed in our work.”
The Project Ready video examines the history of African Americans, from the Great Migration (1916-1970) to the civil rights movement, to changing times and new century transitions.
"Black History Month is a time for us to honor the past,” said Brown. “When African Americans decided to migrate – we saw a shift in political beliefs, culture, jobs, even music. It changed American society.”
"No matter race, it’s important to remember where we came from,” added Ms. Bush. “Too often we look at our world today and don’t ask ourselves why it’s this way. Just like the past, we must recognize the choices we make today will leave a legacy for children of the future.”
“One person can make a difference.”
Cassandra says taking part in the video - from researching black history to interviewing leaders - was a great way to harness the power of education in a new way.
“I’m not quite used to being on camera,” she laughed. “But I got comfortable with it. And I really enjoy talking with people who’ve made large achievements. It’s an honor and lets me know I too, can make a difference.”
As she advances her education, Cassandra isn’t losing sight of a lesson that won’t fade with time: Strive to help others.
“I want to pursue a career in healthcare because I want to help people live better lives,” she said proudly. “No matter what, I’ve learned my generation can make positive changes to influence the future. It happens when we come together as a community."
As for the Historical and Cultural Literacy video, Cassie encourages everyone to take a moment to watch, honor and learn. “This video is really important and needs to be shared. Because the changes we make today, influence our future.”