The ability to make an impact on the life of someone is a privilege. Those that are being impacted are in need. Especially young men that are in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS). Young men within APS are at risk due to high crime rate and poverty which are two main reasons that 34% of African-American males graduate from high school within APS. APS is full of amazing educators that have to deal with outside risk factors that make their jobs a challenge. The good news is that academic excellence is returning to APS under amazing leadership.
Every problem creates an opportunity. Thus inner city Atlanta is a prime place for non-profit organizations to serve. In order to make impact anywhere, a cultural, language, geography and history gap must be closed.
Obviously, English is the main language in America but inner city Atlanta has a language of it's own. My experience with the language code is due to being raised in the inner city of Atlanta and my consistent engagement with youth.
If you don't understand what's being said, you won't be able to communicate and make impact. I agree that ebonics isn't an acceptable form of communication in corporate America but it works well in the inner city of Atlanta. To that point, if you come to Atlanta to make impact, you are responsible for understanding the language. No different than if you went to Paris for vacation.
We meet our LEADers in L.E.A.D. where they are and over a period of time and meaningful conversation impact the way that they speak so that they may properly communicate in several environments. It has to be understood that if you don't live in the inner city of Atlanta, you are the outsider and the way that you speak is often considered wrong.
There is indeed a lot of work to do in the inner city of Atlanta to get our youth to a high level of achievement. Let's be respectful and patient and close the language gap before we go all in to make impact.