Emmy-Nominated Actor Tyler James Williams Celebrates Educators And Early Child Care Heroes In New Campaign


Award-winning actor Tyler James Williams followed up with ESSENCE on his partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to launch a storytelling campaign putting the spotlight “on early child care and education,” and its significance for communities of color.

According to a 2021 report, “research consistently shows the benefits of high-quality early care and education for Black children, particularly for children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The campaign will highlight the “[e]ducators, caregivers, communities and organizations [that] are working tirelessly to break down these barriers every day so that all children can be successful in the classroom and beyond.”

This initiative launched at the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture, where Williams and WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron engaged in an onstage conversation, discussing “the state of early child care and education, the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Affirmative Action and the need for educators of color.”

“Our goal in this partnership is to showcase and applaud the creativity, persistence and strength of those who have dedicated themselves tirelessly to helping children grow and reach success,” said Tabron.

As part of the campaign, Williams is the narrator on “a new video series which can be found on EveryChildThrives.com, @kelloggfoundation on Instagram and @wk_kellogg_fdn on Twitter.”

As Williams explained to ESSENCE, “as artists, we have a responsibility to be very cognizant of the worlds that we create when we write stories and when we put narratives out there. Because we know it for a fact that people can start seeing a world differently or the world they want to create once they see it presented to them.”

Williams said that if he had entered education instead of acting, he would have been a seventh or eighth grade history teacher, relaying that “at the end of the day, I like telling stories. History is just really one big story. And at that age, I feel like they can really come and get involved.”

Williams shared how he’s particularly keen to promote educators of color, because he “didn’t have any. I don’t think I really realized it until now. I don’t think I really saw somebody in the educational process pouring into me, from a perspective that I could relate to. I always saw education as something that was a relationship between somebody outside of your community, somebody outside of people who you knew intimately.”

Williams added that he believes “that’s one of the reasons why so many people grow up feeling disconnected from the educational system and educational pipeline… I just wish there were more of them [educators and mentors of color], and I think that that’s what we’re trying to do” with this campaign.

“We need to remember that it’s not just our job to present the stories, but to make the art meet the action,” Williams continued, “And that’s why this partnership I have with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has been so important. Because I don’t want to just present an idea of what could be. I also want to show you the real stories of what’s happening with people on the ground. There are people who are actually cultivating this life in the world that we’re trying to head toward. And we need to uplift them as well as the fictional characters.”


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