Tribute to Brother Mike, Chicago Poet, Artist and Educator (1976-2014)

Brother mikeAt the Digital Media and Learning Conference last weekend, one of the most powerful sessions was a talk on an "ecological view of equity" by Dr. Nichole Pinkard, founder of the Digital Youth Network in Chicago. Dr. Pinkard's talk was shaped and framed by the legacy of Brother Mike Hawkins, an educator, activist and spoken word artist who worked for Digital Youth Network and the YouMedia youth media space in Chicago. Brother Mike was a well-known and beloved figure in the digital learning community, who passed away suddenly in late 2014.

I unfortunately did not get to attend this session, but I just watched the entire video of it on YouTube. I've heard Dr. Pinkard many times over the years, but I don't think she has ever been more passionate and insightful as in this keynote. Even with the poor quality of the video and audio, that comes through in this recording.


In the closing of her talk, Dr. Pinkard played this moving video tribute to Brother Mike. If you are an educator, I strongly encourage you to watch it.


Here's another video that focuses on his role as a mentor and an educator, created about three years ago.

Connected Learning: Inspiring Mentors and Peers from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.


I didn't know Brother Mike well. We'd chat for a few minutes at every DML conference and catch up on our respective projects. But I, along with everyone who came in contact with him, felt his passion, his compassion and his deep wisdom, whether it was for five minutes or five years. I hope that when my day comes, that I have as rich a legacy of the lives of young people that I have touched as Brother Mike. 

You can contribute to the "Mike Hawkins Scholarship Fund" by following this link. Specify that you are contributing to the "Mike Hawkins Scholarship Fund" at the end.

A loving tribute to Brother Mike is on the DML Hub website.

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