Randolph Burleson

Last updated: 2008

Randolph Burleson

2008 Beat the Odds Honoree

Randolph Burleson Jr. stands tall as a leader though he has endured poverty, racism, crime and a broken family. Growing up, his mother and father had an abusive relationship that had both mental and physical repercussions for Randolph. Fed up with the constant fighting, one night Randy decided to intervene in a fight between his parents and he was kicked across the floor by his father. His parents’ abusive relationship, his mother’s physical and mental illnesses, and his father’s criminal record and renowned gang activity eventually caused Randolph’s parents to divorce. Randolph lived with his mother and was plunged into a world of chaos where members of his extended family ridiculed his multiracial identity and provided him no support. Despite these struggles and not always having enough money in the home, Randy maintains over a 3.2 GPA and is involved in several extracurricular activities including basketball, Mock Trial, Academic Decathlon, and the Athletes in Action Urban Project. Randolph has developed a strong sense of faith and is an active member of his church. He also plays an important role at home, supporting his mother and grandmother in raising his brothers and sisters. Randy has his sights set high on college and says, “I cannot fail with opportunity.” The Children’s Defense Fund is proud to honor Randolph Burleson Jr. as a 2008 Beat the Odds Award recipient.