You may have seen the hashtag #Recommit2Kids trending on Twitter today, as the social media “brand tag” of today’s America’s Promise celebration. For twenty years, America’s Promise has been working to ensure that all kids – especially those who are disadvantaged – have access to the best that American education has to offer.
Today, the organization celebrates their two-decade milestone with a summit and gala in Washington, D.C., boasting a genuinely prestigious guest list (Bill Clinton is giving the keynote address).
Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, considering America’s Promise was founded by Gen. Colin Powell. Born in Harlem and himself the child of immigrant parents from Jamaica, Powell is well-situated to speak on behalf of the millions of children who find themselves at a disadvantage in the current public school system – including immigrant children and the sons and daughters of immigrants.
According to their website, America’s Promise is “devoted to helping to create the conditions for success for all young people, including the millions currently being left behind.” To that end, they partner with various organizations across the nation to achieve their five goals for each child: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others.
The work of America’s Promise has been particularly fruitful in improving high school graduation rates. Back in the spring of 1997, only 65.7 percent of eligible high school students reached graduation. Twenty years on, America’s Promise has helped raised that rate to 83.2 percent. That’s remarkable progress, especially in just two decades.
Powell, along with his wife Alma, recently wrote an open letter describing why their mission with America’s Promise is as important now as it was when they began. Indeed, the needs faced by millions of American children are perhaps even greater today.
The Powells noted that “the daily reality of at-risk children can seem like a conspiracy to destroy their dreams.” They cited the way intergenerational poverty has become a roadblock to the promise of America: that everyone has equal opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve their utmost potential.
They end their letter by pointing out the America’s Promise is a cause for everyone – teachers, students, parents, activists, employers. All of us are impacted by each generation’s education and equality.
“This letter is a call for renewed individual and national commitment to the success of every child in America – a responsibility all adults in America share.”
If you agree, #Recommit2Kids today – and every day.