Jones, Clark Atlanta University and the National Cares Mentoring
James Earl Jones (1994 -
Dear National CARES Supporters,
of our treasured Clark Atlanta University student mentors, James Earl Jones,
lost his life to gun violence on Monday night, sending shock waves throughout
Atlanta and the two campuses where we are working. Grief counselors have been
brought to the CAU campus and to Clark Middle School. Tracey Knight, project
director of our HBCU Rising STEM and literacy program, sent the following email
to our Atlanta supporters and STEM professionals who mentor our CAU college
students in the two-tiered mentoring initiative.
heart aches for the family, the students and all of us who've lost yet another
young Black life to the unrelenting violence that has so disrupted our
impoverished communities. Black poverty is increasing; it's intergenerational,
systemic and sustained by public policies that punish the poor, inequities in
education, joblessness and hopelessness. We've lost a brilliant and joyful
Rising Scholar---- on the heels of the
30-plus students at Harlan High, on the South Side of Chicago, who were shot,
and the one murdered--- all in the
past academic year.
Violence is the child of poverty.
tragedies demonstrate painfully and powerfully why we recruit and deploy mentors
and are building transformational group-mentoring programs for replication
throughout the nation. Transformation is possible! With a proven plan,
strategic unity, commitment---- and faith,
our struggling children and community will heal and win!
James was a junior, a chemistry major from Daytona
Beach, Florida. He was an outstanding STEM student who maintained a cumulative
3.0 GPA. James was also very serious about becoming a physician and had plans
to study infectious diseases in China next academic year. Though his academics
were important to him, he spent his free time tutoring and mentoring young
ones. James had a strong commitment to the HBCU Rising program and his mentees
at Brown Middle School, because he himself had a challenging childhood and had
exhibited wayward behavior and poor commitment to his studies. After high
school graduation, he made a conscious choice to turn his life around, and he
used the HBCU Rising program as his acknowledgment and payback for the grace
that had been given to him. James was one of only a few Black male mentors in
our program, so he not only served as a mentor for his 6 mentees but he was also
a role model for every male and female Rising Scholar in the program. Needless
to say, everyone loved him.