I had an epiphany yesterday. Rahfeal Gordon, who appears in TEN9EIGHT, and who recently graduated from Montclair University, has started his own inspirational speaking tour and book publishing business - aimed at people just like himself. Young people from low-income communities who have travelled his path, who have felt his pain. And who, like Rahfeal, aspire to greatness.
Rahfeal found out a month ago that TEN9EIGHT was to screen at Harvard. He called me up and asked if he could say a few words at the screening. Fast forward to yesterday. Not only was he invited to speak and to have dinner with faculty and members of the Schlesinger Library at Harvard - but he rented 14 passenger mini-van and brought with him an entourage. A remarkable entourage. High school and college students from the inner city who, like Rahfeal, were determined to make something of their lives.
They arrived at our offices, dressed in their Sunday best - and one of the young women said "We're on the Babson Campus. And later we're going to Harvard. Rahfeal has changed our lives. We've made it."
What I had never realized was that sometimes simple geography can make an enormous difference in the life and world view of what might be possible for an inner-city teenager. I hadn't thought that just stepping foot on a beautiful campus - Babson College, Harvard University - could be so empowering.
Rahfeal knew this. And he brought others with him to feel empowered and inspired. And motivated.
I am so proud to be his friend.