10-Person Youth Cohort Sets Out To Dismantle Systemic
Racism in Narratives About Boys And Young Men of Color

By: Marcus L. Strother, President, and CEO of MENTOR California
Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2022

SACRAMENTO — Today, MENTOR California and The Hidden Genius Project announced the launch of a 10-person youth cohort led by a diverse group of boys and young men of color from schools across California who will create a national campaign focused on changing the narrative about boys and young men of Color (BYMOC) and rooting out systemic racism and inequity.

“We’re thrilled to partner with The Hidden Genius Project and awe-inspiring California youth to learn from them in our shared work to shift narratives about mentoring BYMOC in schools,” said Marcus Strother, President, and CEO of Mentor California. “Thanks to the support of MENTOR, our 10-person youth Cohort has a platform to share their Genius perspectives with our affiliates and ally partners across the nation. This is about elevating the youth voice because it’s their meaningful engagement that will move our work to root out systemic racism and inequity forward.”

Throughout 2022 and into 2023, the youth cohort will lead and inform discussions with mentors in their communities, national youth advocates, and youth across California to inform a digital narrative change campaign and a published report that highlights their recommendations on changing racist and unjust narratives placed on BYMOC.

“The Hidden Genius Project is excited to partner with MENTOR California to develop a powerful, asset-based narrative change campaign driven by our Hidden Genius Alumni. The alignment of our collective values and beliefs sets a strong foundation for our young people to offer key mentorship insights that will empower boys and young men of color to be their authentic selves and realize their true potential,” said Arnold Lopez, Alumni Coordinator, The Hidden Genius Project.

“MENTOR is honored to help MENTOR California advance their work in combating systemic racism and inequities. We’re excited to see the digital media campaign that is inclusive of all young men as well as the other powerful results of this grant, and we’re anxious to share MENTOR California’s outcomes and best practices with other Affiliates, “said Joellen Gonder-Spacek, Senior Director, MENTOR Affiliate Director.

As recognized leaders across academic, sports, extracurricular activities, and civic engagement, these youth were nominated to lead this effort because of their collective Genius in community and youth activism.

MENTOR California Coalition of Youth Leaders: Andrew Lubega, Damarione Moore, Glenn Ivory, Joseph Johnson, Elijah Hynson, Okona Kwende, Ezra Tramble, Hesten Parrish, Jokim Bryant, and Usean Redic.

Read the original announcement HERE.