Oprah Winfrey is known for generously supporting projects she believes in, and the latest beneficiary of her attention and dollars is a New Jersey after school program. The media mogul was so impressed with Pathways To College that she decided to donate $5 million to the organization.
Pathways to College is a nationwide after-school program established in 2003 by Judith Griffin. The program is designed to serve “potential and developing leaders in under-represented populations” and expand “the pipeline to college in selected under-served communities,” according to their site.
NJ.com reports that Griffin found out about the game-changing donation via a phone call she received last September from Rebecca Sykes, then president of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. She said she was “speechless” when she heard the news.
Griffin finally broke the news to her students today by showing them a video from Oprah Winfrey. “I celebrate and honor the work Pathways to College does in securing futures for young people who want to go to college,” Winfrey said. “I am proud to sponsor and support all of these young people and their dreams for a better life through education.”
Griffin has a history with Winfrey. They met almost 20 years ago when Griffin was president of A Better Chance, (ABC), a program that helped young people of color attend college preparatory schools. Griffin said about the donation, “It (the gift) is a wonderful endorsement of our work.”
NJ.com reports, “Pathways has served more than 4,000 students, and historically, 100% of its scholars have been admitted to college. At last count, Griffin said, 68% are currently in college or have graduated. It has operated at 20 program sites around the country, including in Newark, where Pathways has been the longest, starting out small in the 1990s before the official launch in 2003.”
Harris believes that her own campaign was a target of Russian interference and there is plenty of evidence to indicate that Russia was at least partially responsible for getting Donald Trump elected as President. Her impassioned speech drove home the idea that the Black community must work together to harness our collective power.
“There is so much at stake in this election,” said Harris who encouraged the crowd to build their opinions on facts.“Recognize the power everyone has to use your voice and to combat these various forms of oppression.”
Harris ended her time on stage urging the crowd to use their voices and #ReclaimYourVote, reminding the audience of BET’s new social initiative with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, Color of Change, and various other partners.
The action driven campaign is set to educate, engage, and empower , especially in preparation of the presidential election and the Census 2020, which will be our chance to be counted in before we are counted out.
“The 2020 Census and presidential election are pivotal moments for our communities that will produce lasting effects for generations to come, so we’re tackling the critical issues of voting rights and voting suppression head on with #ReclaimYourVote,” said Scott Mills, President, BET Networks.
“At BET, we take this mission very seriously because we’re uniquely positioned to mobilize our partners across media, entertainment and technology to drive civic engagement outcomes for the black community like no other brand can.”
“Our nation’s pursuit of liberty, justice and economic empowerment for all hinges largely on the right to determine who will govern us and how. But the right of African Americans to vote—our right to participate in the civic processes of this nation— quite simply, is under attack,” said National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial. “Campaigns such as #ReclaimYourVote are essential to harness our collective power and protect our fundamental right to vote.”
Harris is along for the fight and determined to make sure everyone knows their voice is essential to the process.
“Exercise the right to be counted and to have a voice in our democracy -- flawed and imperfect as it may be,” she said.
The campaign will officially launch starting on Saturday, February 22, during the 51st NAACP Image Awards airing LIVE at 8 PM ET/PT on BET. Watch and share the first spot in the series at www.bet.com/reclaimyourvote.