Ashanti Branch, M.Ed, was born and raised by a single mother on welfare in Oakland, California. He took the road less traveled to get out of the ghetto and attended one of California’s premier engineering colleges, California Polytechnic - San Luis Obispo, where he studied Civil Engineering and worked as a construction project manager. But after tutoring struggling students and realizing his true passion was teaching, Mr. Branch changed careers. In 2004, as a first-year teacher, Ashanti started The Ever Forward Club to provide a support group for African American and Latino males who were not achieving to the level of their potential. Since then, The Ever Forward Club has grown to serve both young men and women and become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Ever Forward Club has helped 100% of its members graduate high school and 93% of them have gone on to attend college. With over 19 years mentoring youth and 10 of those years as a math teacher educating inner city youth, Ashanti was awarded with a Fulbright Exchange Fellowship to India, a Rotary Club Cultural Ambassadorial Fellowship to Mexico and a 2010 Teacher of the Year Award from the Alameda-Contra Costa County Math Educators. Today he spoke to Esalen’s Greg Archer about his life, what it has been like to be a black male in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, and the 100K Mask challenge.