Excerpts from the 'Pact'

"We grew up in poor, broken homes in New Jersey neighborhoods riddled with crime, drugs, and death, and came of age in the 1980s at the height of a crack epidemic that ravaged communities like ours throughout the nation. There were no doctors or lawyers walking the streets of our communities. Where we lived, hustlers reigned, and it was easy to follow their example. Two of us landed in juvenile-detention centers before our eighteenth birthdays."

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"The three of us were blessed. We found in one another a friendship that works in a powerful way; a friendship that helped three vulnerable boys grow into successful men; a friendship that ultimately helped save our lives."

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Dr. George Jenkins on University High in Newark: "We had a few dedicated teachers at the high school who pushed us to learn and forced us to do our work, but too many others just didn't know how to reach us and didn't seem to care. They expected and accepted mediocrity or less, and unfortunately, we usually gave no more."

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Dr. Davis: "A simple encounter during my third year of medical school pointed out clearly to me why more black children don't choose medicine as a career. They're just not exposed to it in an intimate way. You can't aim for what you can't see. ... I stepped into an elevator with a schoolmate who began talking about his weekend visit with a six-year-old niece. He said he had spent some time teaching her how to listen to the heart through a stethoscope and how to test the reflexes in the knees and arms with a reflex hammer. Can you imagine how comfortable she's going to feel with those same instruments if she ever decides to become a doctor? I was a twenty-three-year-old medical-school student the first time I held a stethoscope or even saw a reflex hammer. My only exposure to medicine as a child had been an occasional visit to a doctor's office or an emergency trip to the hospital."

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