I envision a country where all those who dare greatly have the ability to thrive.
My earliest memories are about sitting at the dinner table with my family debating ideas and dreaming big dreams. My father, Reginald F. Lewis, was the first African-American to build a billion-dollar business.
He passed away in 1993 when I was 12. And before he died, he named me to the board of his foundation, which launched me on a path to finding my life’s work in helping Black people and other historically-oppressed communities participate fully in the American Dream.
As a national business journalist in the 2000s, I saw firsthand how individuals with assets reap seemingly ever-increasing rewards. I began investigating the nature of success and wrote a book called “Lonely At the Top.”
In 2011, I attended a 1,000-person technology conference and noticed a minuscule number of black or brown faces. I realized that tech startups were an amazing engine of innovation and job creation and that if people of color were not participating our communities would fall even further behind.
To tackle this problem in 2013, my mother Loida Lewis and my friend Tarrus Richardson, helped me start All Star Code, an organization that teaches computer science to young men of color. Our goal is to create economic opportunity by developing a new generation of boys and young men of color with an entrepreneurial mindset who have the tools they need to succeed in a technological world.
Why the focus on young men? If my father were a young man today, he would no doubt be working in technology, the growth industry for building wealth in the 21st century. My research found a number of programs that addressed the lack of women in the industry, but few resources for young men of color.
My aim is for All Star Code to be an organization that gives young, intelligent, driven men of color access to this exciting and dynamic field rooted in black excellence. With the right skills and support system behind them, and just knowing that their success is possible, there is no limit to what our young men can do — my father proved it. This organization will continue to be a legacy of The Lewis family. Now we need more people of color making it real.