"Derrick Bell's courage"
CHATHAM UNIVERSITY WRITING ABOUT: DERRICK BELL SCHENLEY // 1948
JANAY'S DREAM JOB: Working for an urban youth focused nonprofit
errick Bell can be described as humble, inspirational, powerful, and committed. I hope that my life can reflect these strong words. Derrick Bell was born in Pittsburgh’s Hill District on November 6, 1930. He graduated from Schenley High school in 1948. He also gained his post-secondary education from two Pittsburgh institutions. He began his career by working with the Department of Justice. Bell resigned from his position because officials requested that he revoke his involvement with the NAACP. Derrick Bell joined Harvard Law School’s faculty and in 1971 became the first tenured African American professor. At Harvard, Bell advocated for the tenure of two female professors of color by staging a 5 day sit-in in his office. In 1992, Derrick was invited to join the faculty of New York University’s School of Law as a visiting professor. I am inspired by Derrick Bell because he led by example. Despite all that he had to lose in his advocacy work, he focused on what others could gain. Bell is quoted saying “Courage is a decision you make to act in a way that works through your own fear for the greater good as opposed to pure self-interest. Courage means putting at risk your immediate self-interest for what you believe is right.” Any new venture we take in life requires some amount of courage. We can all learn from Bell by believing in what is right and putting our fears, doubts, and self interest aside and making a difference. When I began college, I had to have courage because I faced various life challenges and the fear of not being prepared. I focused on obtaining my degree so that one day I could help other urban youth in their pursuit of a better future. I hope to start my own nonprofit that helps urban youth become the best that they can be. I feel like I am similar to Bell because I believe in all of our youth and I feel that I could make the most difference in the lives of urban youth. Like Bell, I hope to take courageous steps that can inspire others to make a difference for a cause that they believe in.
21 ideapod // SPRING 2014