In the wake of George Floyd’s death, local educators have banded together to create a new opportunity for Memphis-area students.
Shelby County Schools (SCS) superintendent Joris Ray and University of Memphis president M. David Rudd have committed to the creation of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship fund as a means of fighting the systemic racism and racial inequality faced by African Americans in education.
The fund will provide college scholarship support for African American Male Academy members, as well as college-readiness preparation.
The African American Male Academy is a partnership between SCS and the university, aimed at improving graduation rates throughout Memphis. The academy targets middle-school-aged African-American boys with the goal of creating a hub of inclusive excellence that exposes middle-school boys to African-American professors and staff. The first class of 50 was inducted into the program on Sunday, June 7th.
“I’m proud to join my good friend, Dr. Rudd, in this work of putting a laser-like focus on the empowerment of young men of color in middle schools across the city,” said Ray. “Through this memorial scholarship, we’ve set out to ensure that George Floyd did not die in vain, and that his final cries for breath will forever be ingrained in our consciousness.”
Rudd granted that this was “only one small step” toward productive change and that the U of M would be continuing to make “concrete changes and reforms” in the coming months.
More information about the African American Male Academy can be found here