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Gates Foundation

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a world-famous soccer player.

If you live outside of the United States, you probably know him better as a "footballer."

After scoring a goal at a Feb. 14, 2015 match, he removed his jersey to reveal the names of 50 people tattooed on his arms and chest. The temporary tattoos represent 50 of the 805 million people in the world suffering from hunger.


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Ibrahimović was issued a one-game suspension for "unsportsmanlike behavior."

But he thought it was totally worth it. And I do too.

Any time a famous person lends their time to a cause, they can be accused of hunting for publicity. But in moments like these, what does that matter?

Ibrahimović knows exactly how big of a problem world hunger is (11.5% — more than a tenth of the world). And now, so do you.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Just a couple hundred years ago, in much of the United States, teaching African Americans to read and write was illegal. In the antebellum south, this was part of a strategy to maintain racist, unjust systems. There was good reason for white enslavers to see Black Americans' literacy as a threat. Inspirational abolitionist texts brought uprisings to the Caribbean, and deep biblical readings led Nat Turner to revolt in Virginia.

Slavery ended well over a century ago, so the slave codes that outlawed teaching African Americans to read should be relics of the past. However, as a woman of color and educator, I see that their spirit lives on today.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), fewer than one in five African-American 12th graders reach reading proficiency, and Black students fared far worse than all other racial and ethnic groups that NAEP tested. The percentage of white seniors "at or above proficiency" was nearly three times that of Black seniors. Despite the immensity of African-American teens' literacy crisis and its role in their oppression as adults, we're doing little to address it.


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