The Dyslexia Awareness Foundation is the brainchild of actor, educator, author, and dyslexia advocate, Ameer Baraka. Mr. Baraka began life with the proverbial deck stacked against him in the truest sense. He was born and raised in New Orleans’ most notorious and most impoverished public housing project, the Calliope Housing Projects, known locally and celebrated in Hip-Hop lore simply as “The Callio.”
Baraka, affectionately known to his friends and fans as “The Sexy Dyslexic,” had an early life that was as gloomy and as ill-fated as a young life could have been. In and out of the “system” as a kid for transgressions ranging from youthful indiscretions to major crimes, he was seemingly on a one-way trip to oblivion. He could not read and could not keep up in school with his high-achieving siblings, all of whom went on to attend college. He was introduced to a life of crime and drugs by his father, and he was called dumb and stupid by everyone around him, including his own mother.
It was not until Baraka was in prison at the age of 23 that he was diagnosed with dyslexia and that he began to learn to read with the help of a fellow inmate.
Baraka was inspired by men like Malcolm X, who experienced a rebirth through self-education while in prison, and by reading about Nelson Mandela who moved mountains and changed the world from his Robben Island prison cell. Baraka has since authored his own book, “The Life I Chose – The Streets Lied To Me” (www.BarakaBook.com)
The mission of the Dyslexia Awareness Foundation is eponymous. To take a page from Malcolm X’s book, literally and figuratively, the organization’s missions are to raise awareness about dyslexia “by any means necessary,” and to promote early detection of dyslexia in an effort to improve dyslexics’ academic performance as a means to dismantle the streets-to-prison pipeline. Among other things, the organization has created Dyslexia Diagnosis Day™, which is an annual worldwide event designed to promote early detection of dyslexia and to make no cost or low-cost screening tools available to the public. The inaugural Dyslexia Diagnosis Day™ will take place on Monday, October 2, 2017, at schools and other locations around the country and around the world.
The Dyslexia Awareness Foundation is working with such venerable institutions as the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity at Yale University (http://dyslexia.yale.edu/succ
To contribute to the Dyslexia Awareness Foundation in the furtherance of its stated mission, please click HERE or on the “DONATE” button above or, to contribute by mail, please make your gift payable to “The Dyslexia Awareness Foundation” and send contributions to:
Help us build The Wall – the Worldwide Wall of Love™. There is power in numbers, power in purpose, and power in being proud. Use our easy upload form to upload your pictures and videos of you saying simply, “Dyslexia Is Sexy” or, if you happen to be dyslexic, “I’m a sexy dyslexic.” You can also feel free to tell us your own dyslexia story.
Ours is not a campaign, but rather it is a movement, a movement whose mission is to create a distinction between “having dyslexia” and “being dyslexic.” People “have” diseases, but people “are” somebody, and people “are” special. We want people to be proud to say “I AM dyslexic.” It’s no longer a dis. Dyslexia Is Sexy™
In collaboration with the The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity we are helping to remove the shame and stigma of dyslexia.