Speaking to a group of high school students, Chet W. Sisk hopes to broaden their perspectives of the world and of themselves.
“We have to talk about the future, but we have to talk about it as it applies to their decisions right now,” he said.
Sisk deems himself a “social futurist.”
“We basically look to see how [technology] affects people,” he said. “What will happen in the future as it affects people as opposed to just technology?”
Looking towards the future, though, isn’t just a concept that applies to technological advancement. Sisk and a number of others think it should apply to Black History Month too.
“During Black History Month, we’ll talk about Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King,” he said. “But the real key is are we developing levels of vision? Who are we going forward?”
Sisk is part of the movement to support Black Future Month. People and groups across the country have been sharing the concept. It focuses on looking forward while, at the same time, honoring the African Americans who pushed for equality and made history.
“We do stand on the shoulders of great people,” Sisk said. “But I would imagine those great people are asking ‘OK, what are you doing with that?’”
Elaborating on Black Future Month, Sisk points to people who are currently working to make a difference. He says sharing their stories can help today’s youth realize that they can be difference-makers in the world too.
He points to people like Kimberly Bryant, creator of Black Girls Code. The program aims to provide opportunities for African American girls to begin learning computer programming and technology skills. Sisk likens Bryant to a modern-day Madam C.J. Walker. Walker was the first self-made American woman millionaire, as documented by the Guinness Book of World Records. She was the daughter of former slaves who sought to create opportunities for herself.
“[Walker] was constantly talking about entrepreneurship,” Sisk said, drawing a parallel between Walker and Bryant. “Truly, the foundation or the basics for entrepreneurship in the next few years ... is basic programming and coding knowledge.”
Those who support Black Future Month hope it leads to better futures for minority youth, which, in turn, could lead to a better world.
“We’re saying this is your future and it’s more than just what career you’re going to go into,” Sisk said. “It’s more about what kind of person will you be going forward in a world that demands the greatest of you.”