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Support Black Lives Matter in Atlanta: Uplift A Single Parent Student

July 14th, 2020

BLM Fundraiser

We know this: One of the best ways to fight inequality is by taking steps to guarantee intergenerational economic mobility (IGM) for black families and their children. One way to get there? Education.

Intergenerational economic mobility refers to the likelihood that a child will experience a higher standard of living than their parents, and in the US this number is sorely lacking. In fact, a 2015 study from The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality found that on average, IGM is significantly lower in the U.S. than in most other developed countries.

What does that mean? It means that poor American families are staying in poverty for many generations, with some scientists estimating that it takes as many as 10 to 15 generations for families to break free of it.

HOPE: How We’re Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

“Education is not a way to escape poverty, it is a way of fighting it.” -Julius Nyerere

Here at HOPE, we like to think of ourselves as breaking that cycle of poverty with education. Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, who are 95% African American, are able to obtain their college degrees in six years or less and thus secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.

There are many black Americans struggling to complete a four-year degree, but our program specifically targets those who may arguably be struggling the most: working single parents living in Metro Atlanta— which is considered by some to be one of the most difficult cities for solo parents.

Our Success Stories

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” -Nelson Mandela

As of 2019, HOPE has served 195 people, including 64 single parents and 131 children. Our program, which has an 80% graduation rate, supports participants throughout the duration of their two or four-year degrees by providing rent and child care assistance, financial seminars, and even counseling.

While more than half of our graduates previously earned annual incomes under $20,000, over a third now earn between $30,000 and $40,000, and another 42% of our graduates are earning over $50,000 in their chosen fields— a 121% increase.

Call for Support

“In this program, I was never alone.” – Laverne M., HOPE graduate and mother of five

We’re proud to have served so many hard working single parents in Metro Atlanta, and we’re always looking to do more. We believe that the success of our program is largely due to our holistic approach, and the time we spend making sure each participant has what they need to succeed.

As a small team of only two full-time employees, we’re working hard every day to meet the needs of our participants— and we always appreciate the extra help.

Here are just some of the ways you can support the black lives in our community and help us meet our $2,500 fundraising goal

Infographic

 

Click here to support black lives in Atlanta

 

Any donation you make will help us to continue our mission of HOPE: to empower, encourage, and equip working single parents in our community, and allow them to provide a better life for themselves, their children, and generations to come.

 

There is a real fear

June 4th, 2020


If you’re connected at all to any form of communicative device, you are aware of the worldwide protest going on right now due to the countless and senseless murders of

young black men (and at times young black women) at the hands of law enforcement. For years, young black men have been murdered simply due to stereotypes, racism, and fear.

You may ask yourself, why is this something that we would address through our nonprofit’s platform. The answer is simple because 95% of the participants we have supported in our ten-year life span have been African-American. Even further, I am a young black mother, with a black husband, and four black sons. And there is a real fear. 

Just recently, my son was pulled over after work for speeding trying to pass the car in front of him, and I was SCARED. My first thought was, “NO, NOT NOW!” Because protest had been going on for a couple of days and I didn’t know if he was going to encounter an agitated cop. I prayed that he would remember to use the techniques I taught him about how to engage with a police officer if pulled over…to place his hands on the dashboard at all times, be polite and not argumentative, don’t reach for anything unless asked (and even then announce what he is grabbing), keep everything in one place so that he is not reaching in different places for the documents he needs, and lastly, if you are arrested don’t resist and don’t say a word. I’d hoped he would make it home alive and safe because I’ve seen videos of young black men murdered during a routine traffic stop even when compliant. And for what? Fear. 

Much of why we do the work we do at H.O.P.E, Inc. is to break barriers and defy stereotypes. I didn’t want to be a statistic, and neither do our single parents. They work hard to fight the double standards of society that pre-judge their ability, professionalism, intelligence, and even their worth because of the color of their skin. We support education with hopes that they can be taken seriously and earn a liveable wage to avoid a life of poverty. This movement helped birth H.O.P.E, inc. before it was named because it is a fight that African-Americans have had to fight since we were brought to this country.

We are blessed to know that we are supported by a diverse group of people that help us break barriers every day. They see the passion of our single parents and they care, but do they care enough to stand? It is imperative that their voice is heard just as much as ours so that we can live out the dreams of civil rights icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. that fought for equality.

There is a real fear and African-Americans are tired. We’re tired of dying, and I hope if you are not African-American that you are tired of reading about it and are moved enough to protest, talk to people you know that have the wrong view of what’s happening today and support your black and brown brothers and sisters. This is humanities fight, not just ours.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder
H.O.P.E, Inc.