Opal Lee had a strong message for an eager audience this week.

“It’s going to be left up to y’all. We’ve got to wake up and make this the greatest country in the world,” Lee said.

Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth, spoke as part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County Black History Program on Feb. 28.

“Make yourself a committee of one,” Lee said. “Change people’s minds. If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.

The program aims to celebrate the history of Black Americans and focuses on looking forward by looking back at history, said Marcus Hicks, the chief operating officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County.

“It’s been a really good experience, especially for our youth, to get educated and create some awareness around what this month really means,” Hicks said. “I think for me, it’s not so much about the look back as it was to look forward. Create some leverage with what they’ve learned and the challenges that other folks have had in front of them and say, ‘I can do that.’”

For Hicks, exposing the youth to successful Black people who are doing incredible things is important. He said it helps children reach their full potential.

“She ended that way with that there’s this opportunity with a party of one to be great and I think that’s what this history is,” Hicks said. “We’ve come through a ton on and it’s just a reminder that they have the ability and the resources and support to be great and that’s what we’re all about.”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSotoCommunity Engagement Journalist

Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...