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We worked for Dr. Ben Carson. We know Dr. Ben Carson. Canceling him is just not right

We worked for Ben Carson. We know Ben Carson. Letting cancel culture erase a school name honoring him is a rejection of his heroism and the American Dream.

Education is the gateway to opportunity. It’s the medicine that cures most ails, and it is the means by which we equip our next generations with the tools they need to confront the challenges of the future. The schools we construct and the names of the individuals we honor on our school buildings stand as a good barometer for the sort of people we want our young people to emulate. 

That’s why we are so perturbed that in mid-November, the Detroit School Board voted to change the name of the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine despite an administrative recommendation and student poll to keep the name as is.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, who recommended keeping the name, said that "history should always be recognized and that there’s an opportunity to make up for the mistakes of the past."

We, former staff for Dr. Carson at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, write to set the record straight and celebrate the incredible accomplishments of the good doctor, with the hope that more focus is shined on students and less on perceived political slights.


Dr. Ben Carson was born into poverty in Detroit and raised by a single mother. He grew up attending Detroit public school, and his mother worked multiple jobs to provide for him and his brother, Curtis.

Although things were tough, his mother instilled in him and his brother the values of hard work, perseverance and faith. She taught them that through education, anything was possible in America.

Thanks to these values that his mother worked so hard to instill, Dr. Carson earned a full scholarship to Yale and began his undergraduate education there. After his time at Yale, he went to the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and then on to Johns Hopkins University for their neurosurgery program.

After residency, Dr. Carson returned to Johns Hopkins and served as the director of pediatric neurosurgery and led a 70-surgeon team to conduct the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head. This famed procedure thrust him into the national spotlight as one of the highest-profile surgeons in the world, particularly due to his specialty in pediatric neurosurgery.

After retiring from medicine, Dr. Carson launched a bid for the Republican nomination for president and served as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Today, he continues his work as the founder and chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute, a nonprofit aimed at restoring the "four cornerstones" of American greatness: faith, liberty, community and life.

But Dr. Carson’s accomplishments are not just professional; we have had the blessing to see his leadership firsthand, and we can attest that his inner virtues match his outward successes.

Dr. Carson first and foremost greets everyone — friend and foe alike — with the sort of warmth and kindness that can only come from a genuine disposition of the heart. Dr. Carson operates on the belief that if we just put aside all the noise and sit down with each other, we will soon find that what we share in common far outweighs our differences.

Dr. Carson is always good-natured, and any meeting with him is sure to have a few of his light-hearted jokes and quips. He can quote Shakespeare and the Bible alike, and be it Hamlet or Proverbs, you can bet there’s a timeless lesson buried in the wisdom he shares.


The reason that we adorn our buildings with the names of heroes is to continually remind us of their examples. Their life stories provide us a roadmap to follow, and these lessons are meant to inspire us to live up to their example.

In today’s culture plagued by anger, violence and division, Dr. Carson is exactly the sort of man we should highlight for our children. In an age where honor and virtue are increasingly scorned, he stands as an example for our future generations to look up to.

Dr. Carson is the epitome of the American dream. Only in our country could a poor boy from the inner city grow up to be a world-renowned neurosurgeon, presidential candidate, and Cabinet secretary. He personifies the very promise of America. Through hard work, opportunity and faith in something above self, just like Dr. Carson we can achieve anything we set our minds to.

But even for all his accomplishments, Dr. Carson’s own words sum it up better than we ever could: "When we have done our best, we also have to learn that we still need to rely on God. Our best — no matter how good — is incomplete if we leave God out of the picture."

The truth is, Dr. Carson should have dozens of schools named after him. We firmly believe removing the name of a man like this leaves us all the worse off for it, especially the students this political stunt purports to set an example for. We hope each student aspires to be the type of leader Dr. Carson is: a compassionate and humble man that cares deeply about the future of our children.

These are the additional 56 signatories to the letter:

Alex Coffey, Alfonso Costa Jr., Anna Maria Farias, Ashley Ludlow, Barbara Gruson, Ben DeMarzo, Brad Bishop, Brian Montgomery, Caleigh Gabel, Caroline Vanvick, Casey C. Cheap, Coalter Baker, Colleen O'Kane, David Tille, David Woll, Deana Bass Williams, Drew McCall, Elie Greenbaum, Elvis Solivan, Eric Mahroum, Evelyn Lim, Evonne Heredia, Garrison Grisedale, Grant Cooper, Holly Ham, Irv Dennis, Jacklyn Ward, Jalen Drummond, Jason Mohr, Jimmy Stracner, Joe Ballard, Joe DeFelice, John L. Ligon, Joseph P. Galvan, Joshua Orlaski, Kelsey Holt, Len Wolfson, Lynne Patton, Maribel Gatica, Matt Schuck, Michael Burley, Michael C. Nason, Michael Williams, Nichole C. Wilson, Esq., Paul Dans, Phil Trometter, Reid Wilson, Representative Beth Van Duyne, Richard B. Everett, Jr., Sadie Thorman, Scott Knittle, Scott Turner, Spencer Chretien, Steven Rawlinson, Todd Thurman and Zach Barnes. 

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