SPECIAL COVERAGE: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500

Educator, speaker and author Robert Jackson works to empower local youth

This is the first in a series of stories celebrating Black History Month. In partnership with Indiana Black Expo, we’re highlighting local African Americans who have made a significant impact in Indy through their professional work, community involvement, volunteerism and more. 

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When Robert Jackson started out as an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher 20 years ago, his motto was “No More Excuses.”

He didn’t let students feel sorry for themselves or let their life circumstances define their futures, and his expectations were high.

Many of those once low-performing students went on to become lawyers, school administrators, pastors, teachers, business owners, professional athletes and entertainers.

“No matter what you’ve grown up with, what you’ve dealt with, no excuses. Change the narrative,” said Jackson, a Brightwood native who briefly played in the NFL before pursuing education. “I grew up in poverty and without a father figure, but I can still come out and do positive work in the community.”

Jackson carried the “No More Excuses” motto in the next phase of his career as a consultant, keynote speaker and author. He travels the country as a sought-after speaker on cultural diversity, working with students who have experienced trauma, how to educate black and Latino boys, and more.

He speaks to educators, administrators, parents, students and corporate groups, sharing his methods of motivating students, helping them deal with issues at home and navigating the school system. His no-excuses curriculum is used in K-12 schools and colleges across the U.S. and Canada.

Jackson is the author of five books: “Black Men Stand Up,” “A Boy’s Guide to Manhood,” “A Young Woman’s Guide to Womanhood,” “Put a Stop to Bullying” and “Solutions to Educating Black and Latino Males.”

Five years ago, he launched the annual Black Men Stand Up! Conference, which brings together some 500 middle school and high school students in Indianapolis to offer advice on not just how to get into college, but how to succeed in college. Ten scholarships are handed out each year.

His accolades over the years include the NOBLE Justice by Action Youth Award, Collaborate to Save Our Sons Award, and the Do Something Positive, Be Something Positive Award.

Jackson is married to Essence best-selling author Tajuana “TJ” Butler-Jackson, and the couple has three children.

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