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Magic Johnson to keynote Black Chamber event

Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce Annual Luncheon Friday, June 2; Registration at 11:15 a.m. and doors open at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Hilton Fort Worth, 815 Main St., Fort Worth 76102 Individual Ticket: Member, $75; Non-Member, $100 fwmbcc.org

Basketball legend, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Earvin “Magic” Johnson will be the keynote speaker June 2 at the annual Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce luncheon, which celebrates economic growth, education and minority business development.

The luncheon this year will recognize 40 Fort Worth ISD graduating seniors enrolled in the “My Brother’s Keeper” program, launched by President Obama in 2014 to ensure that all youth, including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success.

Johnson, tapped by Obama to co-lead the national launch of “My Brother’s Keeper,” will speak on the topic “In the Business to Develop Champions,” the Fort Worth ISD said in a news release. The luncheon is sponsored by Sodexo.

Rickie Clark coordinates “My Brother’s Keeper” for FWISD. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, which provides mentors for students in the program. His background is in grassroots community work.

“The research is clear when it comes to young men of color in this country,” Clark said in the news release. “We know 96 percent of young men of color will graduate college if they are part of a fraternity or are involved in sports. That’s what we strive to do, get our high school graduates to college and keep them there to get that degree.”

The local program launched in the fall of 2015. “My Brother’s Keeper” is in every FWISD high school.

“We have good participation numbers and we hope to increase them every year,” Clark said. “Last year 24 of our seniors graduated from high school in Fort Worth ISD. They began college last fall and today, 23 of them are still enrolled as they complete their freshman year. One student moved away with his family and told me he would re-enroll in college as soon as he was settled. Our goal is to help our students experience success.”

Clark and Devoyd Jennings, president of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, traveled to Houston to meet Johnson at an event.

“It didn’t take long for him to get back to us and accept our invitation,” Clark said. “Magic Johnson continued to work with “My Brother’s Keeper” long after the program was launched because it’s important to him.”

Johnson had a legendary career in his 13-year NBA career, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a member of five championship teams and was selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He also was a member of the gold medal winning Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics.

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