Meet Donnell Meekins, one of the 10 outstanding kids selected to be a TFK Kid Reporter this school year. Donnell is 10 years old and lives in Carson, California. Donnell likes board games and playing the drums. As a TFK Kid Reporter, he hopes to interview Beyoncé.
Finalists in the TFK Kid Reporter contest were judged on a number of factors. One of their assignments was to write an article about a hometown hero. Donnell’s story is about a social-justice champion in his community. You can read it below. We’ll be introducing the rest of the TFK Kid Reporter squad throughout September.
A hometown hero gives back. He or she stands up for justice and raises awareness to better the community. Olatunde Kosoko, also known as Tunde, is a hometown hero.
Humble and funny, when asked for an interview, Kosoko said, “I’m a hometown hero? Seriously? Me? I’m honored!”
According to the National Education Association, social justice means “providing society-wide equity for all people rather than only a few.” Kosoko has a history of social-justice work in the community. He has volunteered for Trajectory of Hope. That’s a nonprofit group focused on young Black boys’ emotional health. Kosoko’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School has helped children who experience poverty.
Kosoko has worked to further the mission of the Community Coalition. The Community Coalition helps provide opportunity and justice in South Los Angeles by organizing young people to learn about and change laws. Kosoko helped inner-city children through storytelling, by using fictional characters with similar backgrounds.
“The most frustrating part of my work is pushing students to finish work when they do not want to complete it,” Kosoko says. His favorite part of the work is pushing those same students to graduate.
Kosoko’s work at Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI), in Inglewood, California, empowers communities to educate themselves and take action for positive change. He provides tutoring and other support for students in ninth grade to college and teaches social-justice classes. Some days, Kosoko helps with college applications. On others, he plans social-justice community gatherings.
Amarion is one of Tunde's former students. They met at a pizza party. “I came for pizza and left a part of SJLI,” Amarion says. “Tunde has encouraged me to be more responsible.”
Kevin is a 21-year-old musician. He met Kosoko on an SJLI college tour. “Tunde made SJLI a comfortable and productive place to be,” Kevin says. He has followed in Kosoko’s footsteps, working with the Community Coalition.
Now, Kosoko is creating a support group at SJLI where young men can share feelings about protests, racism, and police brutality. He’s a social justice-champion who deserves the title of hometown hero.