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.
It is the mission of LF to empower, inspire, and motivate African American males to achieve greatness.
Our vision is that African American males will develop a love for literacy, maintain an affirmed sense of identity, and collect all the fundamental tools needed to navigate college, career, and life.
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.
Help foster a love for literacy to improve literacy rates for K-12 African American males, provide them with strategies to improve comprehension, and teach them to think critically about different types of text
Emphasize the importance of postsecondary education and/or career pathways by assisting scholars with tools needed to prepare for those options through seminars, virtual tours, speakers
Foster youth development socially, emotionally, and psychologically using social emotional learning curriculum and professional mental health support from community resources
Develop identity as African American males in America using critical literacy and critical media literacy strategies through the LF Mentorship Group (grades 7-12)
Provide consultation to educators/administrators about interventions to improve African American male achievement with key topics such as literacy instruction, access to post-secondary pathways, reducing special education placement, and culturally relevant teaching strategies
Collaborate with parents/guardians on academic and career goals to guide young scholars through the K-12 education system and beyond
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.