It’s no secret that affordable and accessible mental health and educational resources for kids aren’t always available in every village. Derek Luke understands this reality all too well. That’s why he’s on a mission to establish change. His event called “Derek & Sophia Luke Day” in his hometown of Jersey City is laying the foundation for change. The event will be held on Sunday, September 1st and is designed to empower and uplift the community.
Prior to Derek & Sophia Luke Day, the couple will hold an event called King’s Night – a men’s only empowerment forum that takes place this Saturday (Aug. 31). Luke will be a keynote speaker at the event, held at Kearny Point. “I wanted to be able to have a very comfortable and live environment where it’s them and it’s me,” Luke tells ESSENCE of this special gathering. “There’s no one pulling punches. It’s just talking and interacting and just pouring our hearts out. I really believe that you can pour into someone based on their level of hunger.”
It’s no wonder Luke has such an innate passion for tackling this issue. As the lead in the critically-acclaimed film Antwone Fisher, he plays a U.S. Marine with a bad temper bred by an abusive childhood and unresolved trauma. Perhaps it has fueled him to connect with the real Antwone Fishers in the world. “Since my first movie, I was always drawn to men and their story,” Luke told ESSENCE. “I was a guy who really looked for male confirmation, whether it was through my father or through my uncles. Sometimes I got it, and a lot of times it wasn’t there. So for me, [Derek & Sophia Luke Day] was just about rebuilding the structure in our neighborhood and creating an entrepreneurial vibe and spirit there.”
As you might assume, another person working tirelessly behind the scenes to make Derek & Sophia Luke Day an annual success is the actor’s wife, Sophia Luke. The couple married in 1998, and she has been a fixture in this initiative. “It started out as Derek Luke Day, but it really should be called Derek & Sophia Luke Day,” he says. “I know I’m from [Jersey City], but she does so much groundwork because I’m on set and she thinks about the people as much, if not more than I do. Here’s a woman who could take the money, go on vacation, but she just has this innate [selflessness] about her and it’s really affected me in a positive way.”
“We’re never having conversations like, ‘why’d you’d buy that [Louis Vuitton]? Why did you go shopping?’ It’s always, ‘did we give too much?’ It’s always sober. It’s always spiritual. It’s always about how to make an impact on other people.”
Derek & Sophia Luke Day on Sunday, September 1st at Audobon Park is all about “Love and Unity in the Community,” and will be an outdoor celebration with food music, games, and fun for the entire family. The couple has partnered with educators to curate a day of activities that will activate the minds of the children, encouraging interest in science, math, music, art, and technology.
The event is free and for all ages.Share :