My name is Kazemde Ajamu, the Executive Director of the Black Dot Cultural Center & Leadership Academy, and I want to share with you the profound significance this organization holds for me. Born and raised in New Jersey, my early life was marred by challenges and a path veering toward delinquency. At the tender age of 12, I found myself in a detention center, which became a recurring theme as I moved in and out of boys' homes and detention facilities until the cusp of my 18th birthday. Despite the setbacks and being written off by many, there was one person who never lost faith in me - my mother. She believed in me when it seemed that everyone else had given up.
My educational journey faced numerous hurdles, including expulsion from school in the 10th grade, leaving me two years behind my peers. Yet, in 1978, the same year my classmates were graduating, I successfully obtained my G.E.D. alongside them. Along my tumultuous path, I encountered supportive individuals who invested their time and efforts into my development. However, the pivotal turning point in my life came through the transformative power of reading.
Growing up, my parents instilled a love for reading in me, ensuring that books were always readily available. I gravitated toward history, immersing myself in its rich tapestry through countless books. Reading became a gateway for my imagination to flourish, fueling my dreams and illuminating the possibilities that awaited. This love for literature not only saved my life but also revealed that there was nothing innately extraordinary about me. Unfortunately, there are countless young boys and girls deemed expendable by society. They, too, possess untapped potential waiting to be recognized. Reading acts as the key that unlocks their dormant gifts, paving the way for a brighter future.
After seven years of owning a bookstore, where I eagerly awaited young minds to enter and embrace the magic of reading, I realized the urgent need to meet children where they are. Thus, the Black Dot Book Mobile was born - a transformative initiative designed to bring the joy of reading directly to communities. As the Executive Director of the Black Dot Cultural Center & Leadership Academy, I am proud to lead this endeavor. The Book Mobile combines storytelling and community engagement, providing captivating sessions that ignite the imaginations of children and young adults. By embracing their natural gravitation towards books that resonate with their spirits, we inspire a lifelong love for reading and enable them to envision a world full of possibilities.
Through the Black Dot Book Mobile and our diverse array of programs, the Cultural Center & Leadership Academy aims to empower youth, nurture their talents, and foster their personal growth. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to unlock their unique potential. By embracing the power of reading and storytelling, we can uplift and transform lives.