Monday, February 16, 2015

Promising Young Black Mentor Killed

Making Progress; Moving Forward!
Our Condolences to the Family of
James Earl Jones, Clark Atlanta University and the National Cares Mentoring Movement
James Earl Jones (1994 - 2015)
Dear National CARES Supporters,
One 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.
My 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.

These 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!

For the children,

Susan Taylor

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.
- Tracey Knight

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