For more than 100 years, 4‑H has helped young people develop the skills that led them to successful careers and contributions to their communities. Today, they are industry leaders, activists and experts who use their influence to pay it forward and help eliminate the opportunity gap for communities and kids across the country. To commemorate Black History Month—and with support from Nationwide®—I will be sharing stories from African American 4‑H alumni who are creating opportunities for all kids and communities.
I am excited to launch this in partnership with Nationwide, one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States, to inspire young people from all backgrounds to see the opportunities available in agriculture and beyond, and provide the tools and confidence they need to bring their new ideas and passions to life.
Throughout February, I’ll be having one-on-one conversations with industry changemakers, such as Dr. Robert Jones, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Georgia 4‑H alumnus; Kyle Bridgeforth, Bridgeforth Farms and Alabama 4‑H alumnus; Avery Williamson, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and Tennessee 4‑H alumnus; Cooperative Extension* leaders of historically Black colleges and universities**; and many others.
These alumni inspire others to take action and be catalysts for change through leadership and innovation in their respective fields. From education to agriculture to the National Football League, these individuals are creating a future that is equal and accessible to all young people. Join me as I celebrate their leadership in developing equitable solutions for the next generation, while telling stories of diversity and innovation that are essential to the future success of our economy, our country and our world.
*The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small-business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes.
**The Morrill Act of 1890 requires each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion, or else to designate a separate land-grant institution for persons of color. Among the seventy colleges and universities which eventually evolved from the Morrill Acts are several of today’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).