Special Graduation Held for African American Men

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Recent graduates honored in special ceremony at Oakland Museum. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Wednesday, Jun 19, 2013)

    Staying alive shouldn't be at the top of anyone's wish list. But for Tyler Griffin it is.

    "For me to actually graduate high school and still be alive, 18 and go to college is pretty good," he said.

    In Griffin's world, there are plenty of obstacles. But he has overcome all of them.

    He recently graduated from Berkeley High School, but he spends time with his family in East Oakland -- a place where gunshots and flashing police lights are common. College for many in East Oakland also is not an option.

    Griffin's older sister, Elesha Nelson, is proud of her brother because he beat the odds on two fronts.

    "He's come a long ways," she said. "He was born premature -- didn't have a chance to make it in the world, and I feel like he's made he's really made it."

    A lot of young African American men don't make it out of their neighborhoods, let alone go to college.

    But the College Access Foundation of California and the Kapor Center for Social Impact is helping some of these young men receive a higher education.

    The groups donated more than $1 million this year to make sure some 500 African American men from nearly every high school in the Bay Area make it to college. The Marcus Foster Education Fund manages the Brotherhood network.

    On Wednesday night, some 200 recent graduates came to the Oakland Museum to celebrate their accomplishment.

    Griffin is proud to be among them.