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Black History Month: Shaping Our Future

This is a special report from 11Alive News.

ATLANTA — All month long, 11Alive has chronicled stories that dissect racial disparities contributing to the inequities between Blacks and whites.

This year, 11Alive featured content that highlights how organizations and members of the community are pushing efforts to effect change in the 30-minute special presentation, Black History Month: Shaping Our Future.

Watch the full special below. 

Other content featured this month in the series, Voices for Equality, examined the subjects of helping children understand critical topics, groups focusing on equality, preserving history, and more.

Here is a look back at some of those stories.

A man's push to preserve Black history in Atlanta

There is a year-long effort to make sure Atlanta’s Black History is remembered every day. Dr. Skip Mason calls it "Vanishing Black Atlanta."

“I started my Vanishing Black Atlanta Facebook group back in 2012 just out of sheer boredom,” he said.

Mason said the Facebook group grew, now reaching more than 40,000 members. Members of the group share pieces of history, from childhood memories, old buildings, and Black voices that helped shape this city. Get more on the story here.

College student publishes books to help children understand critical topics 

During a year with so much uncertainty, a 21-year-old college student spent 2020 trying turn a passion project into a way to help children understand critical topics about hardships they may face.

In 2019, Earnest Lewis took a break from Georgia State University, but he couldn’t take a break from all the ideas in his mind. He started writing short stories for children, filled with uplifting themes. He finished 11 books last year. 

Nine of his current books are for children, and the other two are short stories for adults to educate them. Learn more about the books here.

Data: Black students punished more often, severely than other races

There are notable differences in the way Black students are treated by teachers and school administrators compared to other races. 

Using data from the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (2019-2020), 11Alive took a close look at five of metro Atlanta’s largest school districts to break down student discipline by race.

The state data shows that Black students are punished more often and more severely than students of other races - even when they make up a smaller percentage of the student population. Click here to see what we found when examining some of the districts.

After calls for racial equality last summer, many companies decided to take a stand on social issues. Following months of research, the Metro Atlanta Chamber is taking action to create racial equity in the city with a new multi-step action plan.

The chamber has launched The ATL Action for Racial Equity. It’s a multi-year, multi-step action plan designed to address the ongoing effects of systemic racism impacting metro Atlanta’s Black community.  

Read more about it there.