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The Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation Supports Young Black Men in Chicago With Its Annual Gala

This past Saturday, the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation (ETSF) awarded scholarships to 22 young Black men from the Chicago area to continue and pursue their college careers.

ETSF hosted their 6th  Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Gala, virtually with special guests, Good Morning America news anchor T.J. Holmes, Oscar-nominated Actress Aunjanue Ellis, and The Honorable Dr. Rev Raphael G. Warnock (D-GA). The one-hour production-themed “Onward & Upward” celebrated and highlighted the achievements of the 2022 scholarship winners.

The Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation supports the academic achievements and success of young Black men in the Chicago area who have been impacted by gun violence. ETSF provides quarterly life skill programs for high school and college students and one on one mentorship for participants following them throughout their college careers. The foundation’s mission is “To ensure that young African-American men lead better lives, make good ‘life’ choices that impact their entire community, and have opportunities for higher education.”

The event honors the legacy of Ezekiel Taylor who was robbed and killed on Chicago’s Southside in the early 80s by teenagers. Taylor’s daughter Tenisha Taylor is the foundation’s CEO and host of Saturday’s event. “These young men are defying the odds, despite what the media says there is good news about our young Black men, and we are celebrating their success,” said Taylor a former CNN Executive Producer.

Students have been accepted to and attend colleges throughout the country including MIT, Howard University, and Morehouse College. The scholarship is designed to make the cost of college tuition more affordable to Chicago families of Black males, with students receiving the award annually. In addition to honoring the scholarship winners, ETSF also recognized the tight-knit community of Black leaders and professionals, laser-focused on helping Black men succeed. “It’s important that we share our stories with them so they can relate to the commonalities in the journey, said Dr. Derek Robinson, VP of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and ETSF supporter. Often, we have more in common with individuals in the roles that we aspire to achieve than we know.”

“It's s been a great experience, starting from the mentorship throughout the program as well as the financial help and also the networking,” said Jordan Alfred a senior at Illinois Institute of Technology, who has been with ETSF for four years and is preparing to graduate. “My mom always told me once I’m done with this, my goal is to pay it forward.”


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