Last week I had the privilege of making photographs at the Alliance Academy in East Oakland. I worked with the Office of African American Male Achievement which launched in 2010.
Their goal is to create systems, structures, and spaces that guarantee the success for all African American male students in Oakland Unified School District by addressing the following:
- Achievement gaps
- Increase graduation rates
- Decrease incarceration rates
- Decrease school suspensions
- Increase middle school holding power
- Increase attendance rates
- Increase literacy rates
With these images I attempted to capture the love that I felt in this room. The comfort that these young Kings felt with the freedom to be who they are without having their narratives defined for them.
The freedom to grow into beautiful black men without the need to assimilate to history and customs that ignore their greatness.