Dr. William JacksonFounder of Village of Wisdom Raleigh-Durham, NC Award Year: 2022
William Jackson is the Founder and Chief Dreamer at Village of Wisdom (VOW), a nonprofit that works to protect Black Genius by organizing and mobilizing families committed to the healthy development of Black youth. Dr. Jackson developed a dynamic platform and approach to community organizing that engages and empowers parents to partner with school leaders, nonprofit leaders, and community members to recognize and systematically address the negative cognitive implications of racial bias on Black students. Most recently, Dr. Jackson and VOW began to engage families in their Black Genius planning process to help children navigate systemic racism. Through Black Genius planning, Black children hone their growth mindsets, become more aware of their interests, deepen their cultural and racial self-esteem, expand their ability to navigate cultural spaces, and develop strategies for establishing trust with individuals they love. VOW also works with families to ensure negative stereotypes about Black youth and inequitable access to resources does not impede these children’s ability to become Black Genius. A former teacher, Jackson has a PhD in educational psychology with a research focus on how Black parents make decisions related to their child’s racial identity and education.