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Happy to Be Here: Seeking justice through education


If you’re looking for encouragement and enthusiasm you’ll find it the last Sunday in April at Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury. Guest Kimme Carlos will present the sermon at the 10 a.m. service, taking a line from the Lord’s Prayer as her inspiration.

“Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done,” Carlos said, is a promise for love and justice among all people. “It ties in to the work on educational equity that we do – God’s will is to have justice for all.”

Carlos is executive director of the Princeton Alumni Corps and board president of Foundation Academies, public charter schools in downtown Trenton, near the state Capitol and the New Jersey State Museum. The main campus on West State Street includes elementary and middle schools. The high school, FA Collegiate, is located in a former bank on Grand Street.

Students wear uniforms, which Carlos said, “bring a sense of pride and level the field for children from different financial backgrounds.” The school provides full support for parents who can’t afford to buy them.

The schools are already familiar to some in Bucks County since the Foundation Academies Collegiate Youth Orchestra opened the Concordia Chamber Players concert at Trinity Solebury with a strings rendition of the “Game of Thrones” theme song on April 16.

At noon this Sunday, Carlos will be with Foundation Academies CEO Sheria McRae and Trinity Solebury member and Foundations Academy board member Jacqui Griffith, in a panel discussing how the Trenton school works with families to equip students with the education they need.

The theme of the forum is “Justice & Equity in Education: How You Can Make a Difference.”

Princeton Alumni Corps, founded in 1989 as Project 55 by alumni of the university, “supports community organizations committed to building a more just, equitable and sustainable society by developing and engaging leaders and professionals of all ages to advance social change.” Ralph Nader, Princeton ‘55, economist and four-time presidential candidate, inspired alumni to form an organization to “promote civic engagement in the public interest.”

That organization’s mission fits neatly into the goals of the Trinity Forum, which is exploring the role urban education plays in creating opportunity for children and families and how Foundation Academies, is “dismantling injustice through education.”

It can almost be said of Kimme Carlos that fighting for justice is in her genes. She is the daughter of John Carlos, winner in the bronze medal for the 200-meter track event in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. With gold medal winner Tommie Smith, standing on the podium, he raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Australian silver medal winner, Peter Norman, wore a pin to support the Americans.

Fifty-five years ago, it was the first protest action of its kind presented by Americans on an international stage. It was a shocking demonstration of the Black Power salute and it happened at a time of upheaval in the United States. The two Americans were immediately thrown out of the competition and the Olympic Village where the athletes were staying.

Kimme Carlos, a member of Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, is aspiring to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.

She has a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and psychology from Regent University, and she’s co-founder of Sister Wellness Retreats and author of “The Window of Grace; Living in Recovery.” She is an advocate for mental health and social justice through Motivational Consulting, a business she founded to promote her focus on wellness and equity. She has two children and six grandchildren and lives in Levittown, Bucks County.

At the panel discussion, according to the church announcement, “Conversation will focus on the role urban education plays in creating opportunity for children and families.”