Assembly aims to empower students
BY COREY DAVIS
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Instead of focusing on the past, Phillip Middle School took a different route for its Black History Month program by bringing in a motivational speaker and musical artist on Friday to encourage and empower students.
Maryland native Jason Lewis is the founder and executive director of an student empowerment initiative he started a few years ago called “The Beautiful Tomorrow Assembly.” Lewis travels across the country and has visited places like New York and Pennsylvania to speak to youth and perform at venues aimed at promoting peace, hope and empowerment.
Lewis, who holds undergraudate and post-graduate degrees, spoke to the students in Phillip Middle School’s gym where he used hip hop music along with sound and stage decorations to talk to the students about handling peer pressure, dealing with bullying and issues like depression, the importance of staying away from drugs, the advantages of going to college and letting them know they can be successful in life.
Lewis stressed to the students that regardless of what may have happened yesterday, today they can all make the decision that tomorrow will be beautiful.
Angela Jones, school counselor at Phillip Middle School, said she thought it was important during Black History Month to bring in someone that the students could relate too like Lewis, who is carving out his own sort of history with the work he is doing to make difference in the lives of youth.
“This is how history is started,” Jones said. “They hear the things we tell them but coming from somebody like him it sticks a little more. When I think about Black History month, part of it is honoring the history of African-Americans, but part of it is affirming African-Americans today, especially in this culture that we have now to make sure our kids know they are valued, loved and matter so much in this country. They have the ability to make their own history and be in the history books.”
Lewis said while it’s vital that students continue to learn historical figures who helped shape the history of African-Americans, it’s important for people like him who are young, black, educated and positive be tangible for them to witness or see.
“The reality of the situation is that most of these kids’ minds aren’t mature enough or developed enough to truly appreciate why Rosa Parks did not want to leave her seat or why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being a pastor was called to do what he did during the civil rights movement. But what can do is see someone who looks like the Migos or Future (rap artists), but is living out the dream that Martin Luther King had for us.”