Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

In an interesting moment of life reflecting art, the Walt Disney Company has announced plans to donate $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in an effort to help expand the organization’s (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.  The donation which was announced earlier this week will “include a STEM Center of Innovation to be established in Oakland, California.”  The news was reported as Disney’s smash hit Black Panther nears $750 million worldwide.

The idea of supporting STEM in Oakland and other African American communities comes in response to the final scene of the movie Black Panther where King T’Challa informs his sister Shuri of Wakanda’s new outreach program to black youth.  According to Coming Soon, the “Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use this one-time grant to further develop its existing national STEM curriculum, and also establish new STEM Centers of Innovation in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Harlem, NY; Hartford, CT; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Watts, CA, and most notably, Oakland, CA.”

While I am excited about the news, I hope Disney can understand the long-term benefit of such an action and partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Centers of Innovation to support the organization past 2018.

In a speech given by Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Iger stated that “Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is a masterpiece of movie making and has become an instant cultural phenomenon, sparking discussion, inspiring people young and old, and breaking down age-old industry myths.  It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film, so it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”

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