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  • Writer's pictureMark

#AlwaysThere: London

London is many things: a tutor in Reach’s Anacostia-Ketcham cohort, a Reach Fellow, a published author, and a committed activist. He’s poised, confident, opinionated, and expressive.

But, according to London, he used to be a shy kid. He didn’t like speaking up in class and felt uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations. Several years ago, though, he realized that raising his voice could help create positive change in his classroom, at his school, and in the community.

Since then, he’s spoken at rallies against gun violence, testified multiple times in front of the DC council, and been interviewed by local media outlets. He’s also expressed his opinions in writing. During Reach’s Summer Leadership Academy last year, he co-authored a children’s book called Man Up!, which tackles gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity in a thoughtful, kid-friendly way.

And, this summer, London took the podium at the Commitment March alongside relatives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Eric Garner. In front of thousands of people, he passionately and eloquently advocated for police-free schools.

As impressive as that experience was, it’s just the beginning for London. He plans to major in Mass Communication in college and hopes to one day become a journalist. He wants to cover stories that don’t often get much media attention.

In the meantime, he wants other young people – especially Black teens – to develop confidence in their own voices. It’s a message he shared with his fellow Reach tutors in September, when he led a workshop about civic engagement. During the session, he discussed his activism, shared his evolution from shy kid to community leader, and encouraged his peers to begin speaking out.

We know London will continue to lead and strive for positive change, both now and in the future. We’re so proud of him for being #AlwaysThere for our community.

During the month of December, we aim to raise $200,000 to support our ongoing

programming. While it’s changed this year, we remain committed to providing

comprehensive support to hundreds of students this year. We can’t do this without

your support. Please consider making a gift here. So far, we've raised $63,135.

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