Literacy for Freedom was created in the fall of 2019 by 4th Grade teacher Keenan Jones of Hopkins Public Schools (Tanglen) located in Minnetonka, MN. It is a new 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization for African American males in grades K-12. Literacy for Freedom seeks to dramatically improve academic and life outcomes for African American male students in the Twin Cities metro area.
Why African American males?
Our schools in America educate one-third of the country's African American male students. Many of these scholars do well in school and go on to important leadership positions in their chosen fields. They make great contributions to the country, raise and support families, and serve as role models to their communities.
Unfortunately, many African American males don't reach their full potential in our schools or society. There is no question that our education system must vastly improve in order for these intelligent minds to succeed in college, careers, and life. LF is up to that challenge, willing to reverse the negative trends in order to improve the quality of life and future opportunities for African American males.
Improve literacy rates by increasing access to relevant books and stressing the importance of reading
Emphasize importance of postsecondary education/careers and assist with tools needed to prepare for those options
Foster youth development socially, emotionally, and psychologically using social emotional learning curriculum and professional mental health support
Develop identity as African American males in America using critical and media literacy through the LF Mentorship Group (grades 7-12)
Consult with educators/administrators about strategies to improve African American male achievement by providing relevant research and/or PD sessions
Collaborate with parents/guardians on academic and career goals to guide young scholars through the K-12 education system
Keenan Jones is a rising, African American male educator who teaches 4th grade at LH Tanglen Elementary School in Hopkins Public Schools in Minnetonka, MN. Mr. Jones has been committed to literacy and the social development of African American males for over 10 years. Jones has spent time in various roles in education, working in grades 4-12.
His work is inspired by his love for literacy that was developed early in life. Raised by a mother who is a public school teacher and a father who worked in the business world for over 25 years, he was taught that academics as an African American man can take you anywhere in life.
After a college basketball career ending injury in 2003, Jones went on to obtain his A.A degree in Liberal Studies from Minnesota State University-Mankato graduating in 2008. He continued his studies and received a B.A in Elementary Education from Augsburg College. In the spring of 2019, he received his M.A in Literacy Education from Hamline University. His research interests at Hamline were African American male achievement, African American male masculinity, and increasing literacy outcomes for African American males.