I was honored to join my friend and MSNBC 11th Hour Anchor Stephanie Ruhle for a special Friday night segment on the State of our America.

We dived into a lot of important topics, and were focused on solutions, and resolving our conflicts, and not complaining and pointing fingers and blame and fear.

I was asked to speak to Florida Governor DiSantis’ decision to ban African-American Studies, and I said what I believe to be common sense — it’s silly, and short sighted. You can watch my full interview on this topic above, but the short version is we should want our children educated on the full history of this country — and not just the parts we are comfortable with.

To be clear, my grandfather on my dad’s side was a slave, and a sharecropper. He gave his service for free to this nation. His story deserved to be told. Needs to be told.

My great grandfather on my mother’s side was also a slave. Her mother owns a shotgun shack, and my mother Ms. Juanita Smith owned seven homes. I owned 700 homes. This is not accidental. It’s role modeling.

All of this – both bad news and good – informs the texture of our lives and strengthens the culture of America. All of this, deserves (needs) to be shared.

One of the reasons I founded Operation HOPE and continue to run it as the nation’s leading provider of financial literacy and financial inclusion for the underserved, is I believe that the untapped potential of the nation’s underserved is needed — for future economic growth and American stability. It and they matter to American GDP.

America cannot be the world’s largest economy unless we have everyone contributing to it. That means we need Black Americans, amongst other marginalized groups — to be fully integrated into the economy, finally. And we need to know the whole back story, to understand why.

John Hope Bryant, founder, Operation HOPE

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