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Can we share our authentic selves while negotiating the often rigid pressure of cultural roles? There is surprising power in unveiling what we often hide, deny, repress or ignore. What if we showed the world what’s behind our masks?
The Ever Forward Club and Ashanti were featured last year in the documentary, “The Mask You Live In,” which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them. Raised in Oakland by a single mother on welfare, Ashanti left the inner city to study civil engineering at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. A construction project manager in his first career, his life changed after he tutored struggling students and realized his passion for teaching. During Ashanti’s first year teaching high school math, in 2004, he started The Ever Forward Club to provide support for African American and Latino males who were not achieving to their potential. Since then, Ever Forward has helped all of its more than 150 members graduate from high school, and 93% of them have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges, military or trade school.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx