So instead of constant odes to the past, I want to see people like Marquis Landon Cabrera lauded during Black History Month. Just a few decades ago, the 24-year-old Cabrera would have been considered a statistic with poor odds. He bounced around foster homes till he was 15. But then he was adopted by a family in upstate New York. He graduated high school as an ROTC officer with honors and was nominated to the Air Force Academy by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Maurice Hinchey. But Cabrera chose Northeastern University instead, where he graduated magna cum laude. He has interned at the White House and in Massachusetts courts.
Today, Cabrera runs Foster Skills, a Boston-based nonprofit mentoring program he founded for foster kids. He has a volunteer staff of more than 50 and partners with groups like The Home for Little Wanderers. And his organization has connected more than 270 kids with needed social services and has worked with foster care agencies in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Michigan. Foster Skills was a finalist in the 2012 Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
Maybe it’s time that we begin marking Black History Month by celebrating the ongoing accomplishments of people like Cabrera, rather than just replaying the same old collection of profiles on nice people doing nice things in memory of the MLKs and the Harriet Tubmans of the world.