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Learning from the Footprints of Mothers: COSEBOC Celebrates the Year of the Mother

Delores Gwendolyn Walker graduates from Paul Lawrence Dunbar High in Weirton, West Virginia, 1941

The year 2020 has been designated as the Year of the Mother. The official launch, January 20, 2020, coincided with the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think this declaration is worthy of our attention. COSEBOC is an organization fully devoted to the affirmative social, emotional, cultural, and academic development of boys and young men of color.

When I think about the genesis of COSEBOC and my career as a public-school educator and social justice activist, it is clear that all that I have achieved was influenced by my mother, Delores Gwendolyn Walker.

My mother's footprints are indelible. Her dream was to become a schoolteacher and she lived and breathed education. Her guidance and love balanced with discipline have guided my footsteps in many ways, so it's clear to me that my mother understood the distinction between "being schooled" and "being educated." In her mind education was liberation, not compliance.

Delores Walker's footprints are also deeply embedded in social justice endeavors. In today's millennial language she would be considered very "woke." As a child who lived through the Great Depression and moved from Wetumpka, Alabama to Weirton, West Virginia and ultimately to Philadelphia during the Great Migration, she understood the plight of the poor.

If my mother were alive today, surely she would be a COSEBOC champion. I'm certain that our mission and purpose would gain her advocacy. It is for these reasons that COSEBOC celebrates all mothers in 2020. The impact of a mother's footprints on the lives of their daughters and their sons can't be underestimated.

It is in the spirit of the Year of the Mother that I invite you to the 14th Annual COSEBOC Gathering of Leaders. Our signature event will take place in the great city of Seattle, Washington on April 28-30, 2020. Please join us as we lift up the theme, Boys and Young Men of Color: Learning from the Footprints of the Past; Taking Footsteps to the Future.

Ron Walker

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Photo: Delores Gwendolyn Walker graduates from Paul Lawrence Dunbar High in Weirton, West Virginia, 1941