Antipas L. Harris: A legacy of investing in “diamonds in the rough”

AS I REFLECT on black history in America, the words of Mary McLeod Bethune ring in my ears: “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”

This “investment in the soul” was embodied by my ancestors who focused on making life better for generations to follow. Black leaders who have invested in souls at the corner of faith and education have become our role models — from Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to Bethune and Barack Obama.

Black families continue to invest in our “diamonds in the rough” — both spiritually and intellectually. Ethnic minority parents are deeply committed to educational excellence in public schools, according to a 2017 New Education Majority poll. And those same parents are teaching their children about the life of the soul. Faith and family are top priorities for black and brown families across America.

The Faith and Education Coalition, which I serve as an adviser, holds the conviction that every child, regardless of income, race or ZIP code, should have access to high-quality education. Our coalition helps churches and families support student success, which is built on high standards from kindergarten through 12th grade.

We know that any student who graduates high school unprepared for college or the workforce is entering adulthood at a disadvantage. A high school diploma should mean something — it should signify readiness for the next leg of the journey. Read more...