We would value having your thoughts, experiences, and lessons learned that you feel will best galvanize and help our youth advance successfully from adolescence to adulthood.
My name is Thomas Robert Simpson. I am the founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning AfroSolo Theatre Company in San Francisco. AfroSolo’s (afrosolosf.org) mission is to nurture, promote and present Black art and culture through solo performances and the visual and literary arts. We are a not-for-profit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco.
AfroSolo has a history of connecting with and focusing our programming around the issues and concerns of our community members. Although many of our male youths are doing well, it is evident via homicides, crime, deadly encounters with police, poverty, school dropout rates, etc., that this population needs our attention.
Over the years, AfroSolo has produced and presented theatre, dance, music, poetry, and spoken word performances, along with literary and visual arts, symposiums, and panel discussions. Since our beginning, we have shouted that Black Lives Matter. And through the arts, we have daringly presented the diversity of our community by showcasing older, younger, male, female, disabled, and LBGTQ+ members of the community.
I am writing to ask for your help to inspire, uplift, and motivate young Black men and boys to achieve beyond their expectations. I simply ask that you write a letter. Your letter will become part of an anthology entitled, Lighting the Path: Letters From Black Men to Young Black Men and Boys. I want our young men and boys to know that they are valued, cared for, and loved.
The letters will be from a diverse section of Black men (politicians, academics, businessmen, entertainers, clergy, formerly incarcerated, etc.) addressed to young Black men and boys. We would value having your thoughts, experiences, and lessons learned that you feel will best galvanize and help our youth advance successfully from adolescence to adulthood.
The contents of your letter will be of your choice, including any personal experiences, advice, and other inspirational words you wish to share. The suggested length for the letter is up to 750 words. We need your letter by March 22, 2022, to prepare for our Fall 2022 book release. You will retain copyright ownership of the letter, but with your permission, we will make it available in as many forms and media as possible to support our youth.
We are honored to be working with Dominique Broussard, Ph. D., Director of University of San Francisco (USF)’s Marshall-Riley Living Learning Community
The Marshall-Riley Living-Learning Community (MRLLC) allows first-year and sophomore students to live together on campus; share an interest in Black Americans’ historical, intellectual, and political traditions, and engage with the Bay Area Black community through service-learning classes. “Lighting the Path” will be their project for the spring semester.
We are excited to be collaborating on this project with the USF’s “Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good.” The center is dedicated to inspiring and preparing students at USF to pursue lives and careers of ethical public service and the common good. Jacqueline Scott Ramos will also be joining us. She is the Program Manager of Community-Engaged Learning and oversees the Community Empowerment Activists program for the Leo T. McCarthy Center.
Also on our team is USF’s, Professor David Holler. He serves as the Director of the Martín–Baró Scholars Program, a living-learning community for first-year students covering five core classes, including public speaking, composition, literature, cultural diversity, and community-engaged learning.
We would like to acknowledge the support of San Francisco African American Art and Cultural district for their.
Lighting up the Future… will be distributed free to juvenile halls, schools, libraries, and community organizations. Our initial goal is to distribute 500 books. Although each letter will be different, they will share the same goal: to inspire, motivate, give hope, and uplift our young men and, most of all, let them know they have support from their community.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your positive response. Please email your letter to: [email protected]. If you have any further questions, contact me at that email address or call me at 415-771-2376.
I also ask you to support this project by making a tax deductible donation at: www.flipcause.com/secure/