The plan was to interview Dr. Michael Allen, principal of OaktonElementarySchool, and his brother Gilbert about their beautiful new book, Brotherly Love. But time got away from me and Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens found the brothers and the book, and wrote a great piece about them yesterday!
I recommend this book to anyone, but especially people with children, for a kind, thoughtful, gentle-but-tough and empowering story about how two brothers believed in each other and worked together to succeed in the face of racism and poverty.
Read Heidi's column here.
Read the words Dr. Allen spoke in January 2020 to the young men at the Evanston Police Department's The Officer and Gentlemen Academy graduation ceremony, where he talked about finding a mentor, and encouraging the young men to:
1. Try to remember that you’re more than enough.
2. Find a mentor — and that’s not hard for you because you’ve got this program — and be vulnerable with him. I told you my story because I want you to understand the power that lies in the emotions that radiate in your body. You cannot hold what you experience inside and expect to accomplish your dreams and your goals. You have to let it out. And your mentors will be able to help you make sense of it in a way that will allow you to make your dreams real.
3. Find your own dream. Many people are watching people like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant on TV live their dreams. But we’re making a mistake if we think that’s the same dream as our own.
4. Live your dream, not with pride but with dignity and integrity. Treat people with respect all the time, even people who don’t seem to deserve it.
Congratulations, Dr. Allen and Gilbert Allen. Thank you for sharing your courageous story.
Michael and Gilbert Allen will be signing copies of Brotherly Love at 11 a.m., May 23 at Booked, 506 Main St. in Evanston.
Find our more about the brothers and the book here.