Jaylen Brown turned 24 after leaving the NBA bubble. He immediately spent time with his grandfather, Willie Brown, who encouraged him to play for the Celtics in Orlando despite his cancer diagnosis. There, he sharpened his calling out of court by contacting NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Program. He spoke about social justice, the American political system, and police brutality early in his career, but to make lasting change, he focused on education.
Given his own experience — he almost failed a class on different standards across different school districts in Georgia — he had a lot to say about school-related problems and how they relate to economic inequality and increase racism. Brown joined the Media Lab at MIT and spoke at Harvard, and given the diversity of minds in education, Boston became.
Brown joined various organizations to start the Bridge last year, and shared the findings at TEDxBoston in Back Bay this month. The initiative gave students leadership and tools to apply science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. He is linked to his efforts through his clothing line and foundation 7UICE, which sells expensive clothes and reallocates that money to those who don’t have it. The MIT Media Lab and its community biotechnology group were also involved in the project.
“These students are familiar with the latest topics that are being talked about now,” he said. “But they also learn how to solve problems through community participation. They learn how to organize and things like that, which is a value.”
Brown spent 4-7 p.m. all summer on the Bridge program with students, who received instruction from MIT Media Lab professors, as well as NASA and Harvard Law School. Other mentors came from various Massachusetts universities, in robotics and health technology, as well as social services.
He argued that no amount of inequality occurs more strongly than through the education system. It fails children and leads some to the prison industrial complex. In another interview, Brown discussed social stratification through honor classes and lower classes where teachers simply fight to maintain control alongside the violence, bullying, and other extenuating circumstances that are maintained throughout this course.
Brown finished the Bridge program and was impressed by the attendance, energy, and projects the students brought in, ranging from eighth through twelfth graders. The younger group, made up of 13, looked at how to improve gender and racial equality between astronauts and space science. They built a program to recruit from disadvantaged communities in those fields.
Other students have explored increasing access to the health care system for Boston immigrants through an app. Sustainable Drip has sought environmentally sustainable clothing, while another group aims to increase internet access across communities. The projects also addressed environmental racism, food supply, and climatic factors in health and pollution control in Boston’s Charles River through bioremediation, one of Brown’s favorites among the groups.
“Ginkgo has also been another great partner and resource for the programme,” he said. “This is a lab located in Boston. I think they were really drawn to this project, and the students wanted to use microbes and bacteria and DNA to decontaminate the Charles River. And these 15, 16, 17-year-olds had come up with these ideas. I don’t know about you guys, But when I was 15, I didn’t think about it.”
Instead, Brown remembers arriving at Wheeler High School for a teacher unwilling to spend the extra time he needed before school to get extra help with math. He was already confused as to why he needed it after he was previously considered an advanced in his old school, but the mismatched standards across regions left him behind in Wheeler. The teacher did not accept his explanation, that he had not learned what he needed in his previous school to succeed in this school.
Remember that the teacher told him: “You will fail.” Brown previously tweeted about another teacher telling him they will be looking for him at Cobb County Jail in five years.
“I remember how this moment felt to me. The first, because it was out of my control. I came from a different area and had a different approach. So I couldn’t learn to implement last year, which was based on this year. She said she didn’t really care. I divided this moment.” All my feelings and emotions, which gave me awareness of some of the limitations in our education system, prompted me to help design and create Bridge and eventually led to the activity.”
Brown simply needed extra time to get through the class, and he eventually made it through thanks to his 6 a.m. sessions with the teacher. With Bridge, he tries to save that time, as well as opportunities and resources, that will allow students to progress rather than imagine their ideas. He hopes that participation will lead to solutions to societal issues by allowing people who would normally not be able to enter spheres of influence to do so.
Brown has for years talked about the fact that education eradicates winners and losers early in life. It limits social mobility and establishes an early battle for capitalism. He used his basketball skills to circumvent the restrictions of the school regulations he attended in Georgia before enrolling at UC Berkeley on a scholarship, fighting to take a class during the first semester that was part of the Master of Cultural Studies course in Sports in Education.
He went on to highlight the wealth disparities that exist in Massachusetts despite the state’s overall No. 1 ranking in public education. He explained that resource allocation along racial lines and thus Bridge becomes essential to connect people of color with assets that allow for successful education.
Brown said GQ In 2020, the path you set in your education will remain the same throughout your life. That’s why education became his passion. He sees it as an investment in the future for individuals and society. Many of these thoughts go back to reading and those rooms he entered in Cale, realizing that forces beyond his control almost sent him into a different room. He pledged to carry these lessons forward and transform education in America.
“I ended up doing well in class,” Brown said of this math class at Wheeler. “But not with my help. My mother actually threatened to file a lawsuit in the district. The teacher thought I was just another athlete trying to beat someone. In fact, I didn’t learn what I needed to learn to pass the class. They thought I was lying, so they decided to let me fail… But fortunately, thank God, I have a wonderful mother, who will not allow my social mobility to be sacrificed in favor of the education system. But for many people of color and people from disadvantaged communities, they may not enjoy the same luxury.”