Pictured here with me are my friend and spiritual brother, Andrew "Bo" Young, III, CEO of Young Solutions, Inc., a very successful envelope manufacturing company (and yes, he is the son of civil rights icon Andrew Young), Thomas Jones, star of the New York Jets Football Team, and the extremely sharp Zab Judah, world renown boxing great.
I am proud to say that Thomas Jones is a long-time HOPE Corps volunteer, and Zab Judah told me ater the event that he too wants to be involved. Andew "Bo" Young, III co-chairs Operation HOPE's South East board with Jeff Fendler, CEO of Primerica Life Insurance Company, one of the largest life insurance companies in the world.
The event on Tuesday at the Harlem HOPE Center was the formal launch of the HOPE National CEO, Leaders & Luminaries Speaker Series, which I kicked off as the first speaker. During the program my friend Gina Page, CEO of African Ancestry, Inc., conducted a very special DNA "Reveal" of my own African ancentry, which was found to be Cameroon, in West Africa. I was and remain overwelmed by the experience.
I called my mother with pride the next morning, sharing with her, for the first time in her long and beautiful life, the knowledge that she too is Cameroon, as are my sister and brother, and her mother and grandmother.
Knowledge is power, and healing too. I would encourage everyone to get do their own DNA research, and African Ancestry is a great company. HOPE and African Ancestry are also launching a partnership together. I have often said that "African Americans must become for Africa what Jews are to Israel -- a resource."
If you don't know where you came from, you don't have a clear sense of where or who you are, nor where you are going.
Onward with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant