Friday, September 4, 2009



According to recent data by the state Department of Education, about 17% of California students drop out of high school. But, if you're African American and live in Alameda County, that number shoots up to about 35%, likely higher if you're a Black male.

The Twenty-First Century Foundation's Black Men and Boys Initiative and Actor-Director Mario Van Peebles invite you to participate in a free public screening and discussion about new ideas to improve educational outcomes for African American boys in Oakland.

BRING YOUR "A" GAME is a new documentary film that, in Van Peebles' words, "sheds light on the resilience and influence of Black males." The film will be used as a springboard for discussion and more importantly, action.

The film is hosted by Van Peebles and includes innovative special effects and interviews with prominent Black men such as Ice Cube, Lupe Fiasco, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Cornell West, Spike Lee, and others. Its message, one that President Obama has spoken about, is clear: a high school diploma is not enough.
We must bring our "A" Game!


Oakland Musuem - James Moore Theatre
1000 Oak Street
Oakland, California 94607

Saturday, September 19, 2009
9:00AM-5:00PM for YOUTH

Open to African-American males between 9th and 12th grade. Lunch (for youth only) will be served.

Space is limited.

Mario Van Peeples
Kevin Powell

Click Here

CALL 510.909.7423

How are Oakland Youth
Bringing their 'A' Game?


1 comment:

Picaro said...

18 September 2009

To All of Those Concerned:

Hello. I am delighted to hear that there is an increasing awareness of and initiative taken to improve the overall education of African-American boys, as evinced by the new documentary "Bring Your 'A' Game."

In Oakland, California, such improvement is desperately needed--in a recent commentary posted on the Web site of Philanthropy News Digest, only 27 percent of African-American males in Oakland hold high school diplomas or GEDs, while merely 10 percent have a Bachelor's degree. In San Francisco, the situation is equally abhorrent: 32 percent of African-American males obtain a high school diploma or GED, whereas only 12 percent proceed to earn a Bachelor's degree.

As the co-founder of EXCELSUS FOUNDATION, an Oakland-based educational trust committed to closing the achievement gap between African-American and white (as well as other non-black) students nationwide, I was recently told by two Bay Area foundation heads (one of them rather prominent in the world of foundation philanthropy) that they had no monies allocated to ameliorate the educational conditions that stump African-American boys. Hence, my question: which individuals and grant-making institutions are providing financial resources to reverse the lamentable trends experienced by our boys?

From August 3-7, 2009, in Oakland, the Excelsus Foundation operated a back-to-school academic preparation for boys aged 12-14. Excelsus would like to conduct similar sessions throughout the country for African-American boys in grades 4-12, but is in need of contacts for host organizations, gifts-in-kind such as classroom space, and monetary pledges, ranging from $100 upwards.


Excelsus Foundation will conduct a one-week, back-to-school preparation for 10 to 20 African-American boys who will be entering grades 4-12 each autumn. During these sessions, students will be instructed in English grammar, composition, and oral communication, as well as learn the basics of study skills, self-discipline, and a positive outlook on life. The ultimate goal of Excelsus Foundation is to prepare these boys to become formally educated, self-determined, and responsible young men who will seek a college education as means to achieve social and economic mobility, as well as political awareness.

Through a curriculum using a standard, English textbook, a course reader of poems and short stories, newspaper and magazine articles, popular songs, as well as cinema (including documentaries and self-help videos), not to mention field trips and guest lectures, African-American boys will be introduced to various styles of writing and oratory, in addition to social, political, artistic, and economic issues that confront African-Americans.

Instruction will not be limited to the lecture format, but will include oral presentations, peer-to-peer learning, and round-table discussions whose aim is to provide these young men with an encouraging and comfortable platform in which to express themselves and to fully develop as young black men. The guest lecture will expose these boys to at least one African-American college student or prominent professional, and is intended to encourage and to inculcate public speaking skills and the art of democratic debate. The viewing of cinema, documentaries, and self-help videos will be used to foster self-reflection and criticism of media representations of African-Americans (particularly black men).

In Oakland, California, the EXCELSUS AUGUST INSTITUTE FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN BOYS took place from August 3-7, 2009. Please direct all inquiries to COREY OLDS (510.809.7408). You can also send an e-mail to COREY OLDS at the following: excelsusfoundation@me.com.