Tag Archives: Rise Up for Students

Black History Today: Roxanne Christian-Dancer — a Brilliant Reminder of What’s Possible

by Marcus Harden


(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.)

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘Jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” — Zora Neale Hurston (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942) 

I’ve heard it said that we aren’t humans on a spiritual journey, but we are spirits having a human experience. In life you encounter people who seem like they’ve “been here before” because of their vast knowledge and understanding of the world — who are well traveled in the physical, mental and spiritual spaces.

Roxanne Christian-Dancer is one of those people who has been here before. Born in Columbus, Georgia, and raised by her angelic and equally ambitious mother, Ms. Rolaina, who embedded the spirit of discovery in her, Roxanne is truly a renaissance woman. Her latter formative years were spent in Seattle, where she graduated from Ingraham High School and later the University of Washington.

Continue reading Black History Today: Roxanne Christian-Dancer — a Brilliant Reminder of What’s Possible

Black History Today: Gary Ladd II — Lifting a Powerful Legacy to New Heights

by Marcus Harden


(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.)

“Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”

— LeBron James

Legacy is typically defined in the human construct as being what we leave behind for those who come after us — and what we inherit from the ones who came before us. It can be a gift but also, at times, a heavy load to bear.

For some, carrying on a legacy happens in name only. For others, it happens through our life’s purpose. For a few, like Gary Ladd II, it happens in both, and they find their legacy intertwined like links on a chain with the generations on either side of them.

Continue reading Black History Today: Gary Ladd II — Lifting a Powerful Legacy to New Heights

Black History Today: Trent and Ericka Pollard, Leading With Love

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“Like sweet morning dew

I took one look at you

And it was plain to see

You were my destiny

With you I’ll spend my time

I’ll dedicate my life

I’ll sacrifice for you

Dedicate my life for you”

— From the song “All I Need,” by Mary J. Blige and Method Man

I love “love.” I don’t know how else to say it. I truly believe that love is where “God” resides, in the spiritual realm and inside of all of us.

Healthy love, positive love — love that is dedicated to a purpose, a profession or a person — to me is truly the greatest love of all.

Continue reading Black History Today: Trent and Ericka Pollard, Leading With Love

Black History Today: Sue Beyers, Dedicated to Service Through Education

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“It’s not about supplication, it’s about power. It’s not about asking, it’s about demanding. It’s not about convincing those who are currently in power, it’s about changing the very face of power itself.”

—Kimberle Williams Crenshaw

The fictional character of Clair Huxtable broke through color lines as “America’s Mom.” If you grew up in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, you saw in Phylicia Rashad a brilliant, strong, caring, graceful, and beautiful mother. It went beyond just the aesthetic because of what she represented for the Black community and Black women in general. She was the Black mother and professional that many of us knew existed but so many failed to see.

Upon first meeting Sue Beyers as a young professional, I thought she was fiction come to life. Sue is a Seattle native with deep roots in the Central District and the South End (a rare feat). She is a graduate of Garfield High School and followed that up by deepening her education at Evergreen State College and gaining her master’s from Pacific Oaks College.

Continue reading Black History Today: Sue Beyers, Dedicated to Service Through Education