Derek Rhodes was interning at the Department of Justice when the non-guilty verdict was announced for George Zimmerman. While he had multiple similarities to Trayvon. Derek hid his anguish at the social injustice facing young men of color, keeping his head down, working hard and progressing his career. A Duke University graduate, Derek’s experience includes a White House internship under President Obama, for which his tireless efforts were acknowledged by the president directly in 2015 during an East Room press briefing (watch the video here!). However, one day into his 3-month tenure at Microsoft, 8 years on from the Zimmerman verdict, Derek knew by not doing anything to change the system, he was contributing to it.
So, the Durham Success Summit evolved. A nonprofit organization, the Summit was launched in 2019 to deliver professional advice, mentorship, and personal development opportunities for young men of color in Durham, North Carolina. Derek’s belief is simple: with the right tools and the right people, traditionally underrepresented communities can have their untapped potential unleashed, benefiting families, businesses, and the local region’s economic status.