Category Archives: Education

Show the White People in Your Life what Institutionalized Racism ‘Looks Like’

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*Some of my friends and family must get so frustrated with me. I think I naturally tend to see the good in people — whether that’s deserving or not. Oh I’m no pollyanna, trust. I have my moods just like you. But I have a tendency to go there first. And if I can be completely “transparent” for a moment, I believe they truly recognize this in me when it comes to talks about race.

I know racism is rampant. Even now I am working on an article detailing my own upbringing in the racist south, and how, in spite of it, as one of my idols, Dr. Maya Angelou, once wrote: and still I rise. Yet, and I don’t know if this comes from my background in education, or the fact that I have lived in such diverse communities and have even done a bit of international travel, I recognize a nag within me that says, maybe they just don’t know what it looks like.

Oh I know ‘they’ should…and oftentimes do. Hey, my honest feeling is that I should be wealthy, but dammit, I’m still far from it!

And therein lies the aforementioned frustration that I sometimes feel fester inside the people in my life. Continue reading

Professor States a ‘Blacks Only’ Nation is ‘Fairly Easy’ (to Accomplish)

Christian Davenport
Christian Davenport

*Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? The racial divide is wider than ever now, what with the heightened tensions between the men in blue and Black folk. As if African Americans and other Black folk being killed in cold blood by police — seemingly with little to no provocation — wasn’t enough, now it is the police who have begun to find themselves facing the barrel of a bullets escape.

Good lord! How on earth did we get here? 

Now the idea has been introduced to consider the thought of a “Blacks Only” nation. Or it might be more accurate to say, REconsider; seeing as “there are large sections of the United States that have nothing but black people in them already,” according to what Christian Davenport, a University of Michigan political science professor told the Atlanta Black Star during an interview. “There are cults and militias as well as private corporations that do whatever they want behind their closed doors” Davenport added, saying, “The idea of Black folk coming together thus does not seem that difficult to me.” Continue reading

Watch: State of New Jersey Says ‘Being Murdered’ is No Reason to Forgive Student Loan

Kevin DeOliveira and his mother, Marcia
Kevin DeOliveira and his mother, Marcia

*As many of us know, the student loan business has become a big, unforgiving, setup for failure. And today, a multitude of college graduates, young and old, continue to struggle with the burden of balances that never get any lower, due to the high DAILY interest rates that eventually become part of the principal. After a while, your loan has become so huge it is unrecognizable to you. Former students have filed bankruptcy in an effort to get rid of the loans. No dice, says Uncle Sam. Bankruptcy does not erase your student loan. And now, one agency in the state of New Jersey wants you to know, not even your murder will release the debt.

Nope. I wouldn’t joke about something this serious.

The son of Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti was murdered last year. And even amidst her grief, the single mother kept busy helping the police gain access to her son Kevin’s phone and email. She cancelled his subscriptions, credit cards and bank accounts; and arranged his burial in New Jersey.

Thankfully, when she called about her son’s federal student loans, she was met with sincere condolences and a promise that Kevin’s remaining balance would be written off.

This, however, was not the case when she contacted the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority – a New Jersey state agency that had also lent her son money. Continue reading

Prince William to Appear on Cover of LGBT Magazine, Speaks Out Against Bullying

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*Long live the Queen!

It’s a refrain that’s been used — and heard — for generations in the UK, and Queen Elizabeth II is one of history’s most beloved world leaders.  But today, I’m wondering when the old girl, 90, might kick the bucket — or at least abdicate her throne.  Maybe just live out the rest of her days as a great-grandma.

I’m kidding.  Kinda.

I certainly don’t wish Queen Elizabeth II any ill will, but her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, has an agenda that I like a whole lot.

Prince William will appear on the cover of the July issue of the UK’s Attitude, which bills itself as “the UK’s best-selling gay magazine.” Typically, the mag features athletes, models and other stars on its cover.

But after the future king invited the mag to “bring members of the LGBT community to Kensington Palace to listen to their experience on bullying,” he posed for the cover shot. Continue reading

Study Says Our Kids ‘Benefit’ from Being Put to Bed Earlier

Mixed race girl sleeping on sofa

*According to studies, if we put our kids (ages 7-11) to bed earlier, they are going to do better in school because their cognitive, emotional and physical development will benefit from the additional rest.  So now the question is, what does earlier mean?

Researchers say children should be put to bed between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Its hard to even think about trying to put your kid to bed when the sun is still up. Heck, who can sleep, right?

But you can’t argue with the hard-core facts from proven research. Continue reading

Nice! Homeless Teens Taught to ‘Code’ at Boston Shelter

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*There is little more honorable than stepping outside of the proverbial box and taking a chance on something — especially when it comes from  a sincere desire to empower another. I am thinking of Brookview House, a homeless shelter and affordable housing complex in the Dorchester Center neighborhood of Boston; where a group of volunteers come together to teach teens aged 13 to 18 how to code.

Now, I’m no “techie,” but I do know that anyone living on planet earth without computer skills in this day and age is either unemployed, underemployed or somewhere in between. Technology is both the “wave of the present AND the future” and knowledge of how to work your way around a computer (not to mention a mac) is more likely to not only get you a job, but keep you on one longer than someone with limited computer skills.

So imagine knowing how to actually CREATE code. Hell, now we’re talking building your own tech business and just sitting back and waiting for the customers to roll in.

I pray this incredibly thoughtful experiment (for lack of another word because it is unprecedented) catches on with similar establishments. Continue reading

Wow! 67-Year-Old Former Harlem Drug Dealer Graduates from Columbia! (Watch)

Norman

*That’s right. You read the headline right. And this story is proof that one can turn one’s life around. I’m talking 360. And further, that its never too late to do so. It’s a pleasure to report a positive outcome for 67-year-old David Norman, who traded in his orange jumpsuit for graduation attire as he joined the graduating class at the prestigious Columbia University last Wednesday, after acquiring his long sought after Bachelors Degree in…wait for it…

Philosophy.

I have yet to meet a felon who didn’t come out of prison with a greater depth of all things philosophical. Think about it — all the time they get to do nothing but sit. And. Think. You have two choices in prison, I would think: Go with the flow or step outside of the box and do you.

It appears to me Mr. Norman chose option #2.

This man’s life from an early age was anything but normal. Just a glimpse of his beginnings show a kid who was drinking liquor by age 11, and doing heroin before his 15th birthday. And as for education?

He spent an entire day in high school. Continue reading

Great Beginnings Hosts: ‘It Takes a Village’ to Celebrate Healthy Babies, Friday May 27

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(Los Angeles, CA) –  Paying homage to the history, heritage and culture of people of African descent, Great Beginnings for Black Babies, Inc. will host its annual Celebrate Healthy Babies extravaganza beginning at 11 a.m., Friday, May 27, 2016 in the Zion Hill Baptist Church, 7860 10th Avenue, Los Angeles, where the Rev. Seth Pickens is senior pastor.

Under the theme, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child:  Straight Out of Africa-We Are Who We Were,” Great Beginnings invites the public, and especially former  members of its Black Infant Health program (BIH), to join in the celebration, which will include a Children’s Village, griot storytellers, puppeteers, jugglers, African dancers, drummers, resource vendors, free lunch and more.

African attire is encouraged. Continue reading