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.

Read the article at The Boston Globe →