UPenn Professor to Address Educational Barriers Faced by Minorities



Dr. Shaun Harper
  • Dr. Shaun Harper

A University of Pennsylvania professor and minority education specialist, Dr. Shaun Harper will enlighten African-American youth about institutional barriers they may face this Thursday.

On October 23rd, Harper will present his "Educating Young Men of Color in an Urban Context" speech at Bridges USA. The event will last from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Harper’s lecture is part of a speaker series being presented by SchoolSeed, a nonprofit working to drive educational excellence and innovation in Memphis.

Sam O'Bryant, deputy director of community engagement and strategic partnerships for SchoolSeed, said attendees will learn about obstacles that prevent young men of color from succeeding in school and thereafter.

“Although personal responsibility is a factor to consider, it is not the ‘end all’ that determines if a person of color is successful,” O’Bryant said. “Even when a child does the right things (good grades, graduate high school, enroll in post-secondary schools, etc.), there exist barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Dr. Harper's speech will speak to how communities can identify these systemic barriers and put new systems in place to make sure every child can reach their full potential.”

The main objective of the event is to provide awareness and spark discussion about race and equity in public education. And SchoolSeed hopes attendees will be motivated to develop a local movement that addresses and combats educational obstacles encountered by minorities.

"Our goal in continuing this speaker series is to facilitate community discussion about timely, relevant education-related topics," said Vince McCaskill, executive director of SchoolSeed, in a statement. “Dr. Harper is a dynamic, intellectually gifted thinker and speaker, and it's truly an honor to have him in Memphis to participate in this series."

Harper is the second lecturer to be featured in SchoolSeed’s speaker series. The series launched earlier this year with Dr. Ivory Toldson. The deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Toldson talked to LeMoyne-Owen College in April about the important role HBCUs play in advancing the educational success of African-American males.

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