Q) What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month provides an "intentional" opportunity for all people to reflect on the history and contributions of African Americans to our country. Black History Month is also a reminder of the progress that us as African Americans have made throughout history, Civil Rights, Segregation, Jim Crow, and to acknowledge the pioneers who have come before us, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Garrett Morgan, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman just to name a few.
Q) How do you feel like you impact the African American Community with the work you are doing?
As an African American leader in the field of education, I have the pleasure of serving my immediate community of students, staff and parents by encouraging cultural change within our environment, empowering our parents to participate in their teenagers’ learning, students to apply their knowledge beyond school and for teachers to use inspirational language of success. The long-term vision is to create a community of support to ensure our students become college and career graduates.
Outside of my immediate community I serve as the President of a School Board which allows me the opportunity to utilize my knowledge and experience to support school leaderships in their development.
Q) How has your African American heritage or culture shaped your life and who you are?
A college professor once asked, “How do you, as a black male in today's society, fail an African American Literature course at a college level? Do you know who you are?” It took a semester of reflecting, asking myself daily, "Who are you?" Finally understanding that the question posed by the professor was not meant to be literal, but was meant to be thought provoking. It was to inspire me as a young African American male to seek knowledge of the accomplishments of the African American pioneers before me, to look at the greatness in which I come, and to value the contributions in which African Americans before me were willing to die for. Through this one experience I have learned, to carry myself with dignity, to live life with integrity and to never forget, "who I am!"
Q) What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?
One of the biggest challenges that I face on a daily basis, is knowing that I may not be given the benefit of the doubt due to my skin color. When I leave my home, I do not walk around with a sign that reads, “Mr. Boyd, Principal, business owner, college graduate, or father of the Arizona State Track & Field Champion”. I am just another black man to some. I learned at a very young age that racism is alive and well. My experiences as a patron in certain areas confirm that I am not viewed as my male counterpart, who can walk into a restaurant or an upscale boutique with jeans and flip-flops and instantly be overwhelmed with greetings upon entrance. I've found that jeans and flip-flops will get me overlooked, and in some instances, ignored. In retrospect, slacks, a button-down shirt and a tie will usually get me a “hello”. The image that the media has placed on African Americans; particularly African American males continue to perpetuate racial stereotypes. With an education, awareness, and an understanding of the social climate, I have learned to overcome the ignorance of racial profiling and have confidence in my ability to articulate my feelings when encountering discrimination and predjudice.
Q) What I would you share with young African Americans?
I would tell our young African Americans that we too have a place in this society. We are philanthropists, doctors, lawyers, artists, scientists, athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs and educational leaders. We are valuable contributors and leaders of our communities. I will continue to ask, “How will you impact your community? Most importantly, ask yourself, who are you?”