Minneapolis high school program '100 Black Men Strong' focuses on mentorship, identity

March 22, 2019 05:46 PM

Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis had some of its students spend the day with lawmakers and volunteers at the state capitol.

The program is called 100 Black Men Strong. 


Quinton Bonds is the Public Relations Coordinator and Family Liason for Patrick Henry High School. Bonds said the program is in its fifth year. The program's focus is mentorship and identity.

"We learned that our young African American men at Patrick Henry were struggling," Bonds said. "And there was this idea that came up-- what if we just focused this 100 strong on all of our black males."

Those in the program toured the inside of the House Chambers, making their way through the Capitol grounds. The high school's goal included the exposing of young men to the ways they can use their voice as it relates to politics. 

"You can claim your political power, you can vote, you can tell people about who you are as a person and you can let them know what you believe in," senior Jhamni Young-Shinnick said. "And we wanted them to feel that politics affects them."

Senior Gregory Thomas said it was a day of defining success

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"Being able to sustain yourself, and also push yourself further [beyond any barriers]," Thomas said. "That's what I feel success should be, for black men, the black community - but everybody - breaking your own limits, and becoming a better version of you."

Bonds said the high school attributes some of its recent successes to programs such as 100 Black Men Strong. Bonds said in the 2017-2018 school year, Patrick Henry's graduation rate was at a little more than 80 percent. Bonds said in 2014 it was at 75 percent.

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Brandi Powell

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