Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Entire Senior Class On Their Way to Four-Year Colleges

In the mist of news flashes of Black young men with their pants "saggin" and walking around as if they are in leg irons, I thought I would share this positive picture of positive picture of our future leaders.

Urban Prep Academy is a charter school in tough neighborhood in Chicago. Four years ago a fressman class set a goal to all go to college and now four years later that goal has been met. Yes, 100% of the Senior class has been accepted to four-year colleges or universities.

Yes, 100% of the senior class at Chicago's only public all-male, all-Black high school has been accepted to four-year colleges and universities. The 107 seniors have earned spots at 72 schools across the U.S. It's the first graduating class at Urban Prep since it opened its doors in 2006.

This kind of accomplishment requires goal setting, perseverance, focus, having a dream and following that dream. These are words not associated with Black youth in the main stream media. But if it can happen in Chicago, it can happen everywhere else.

The school enforces a strict uniform of black blazers, khaki pants and red ties -- with one exception. After a student receives the news he is accepted into college, he swaps his red tie for a red and gold one at an assembly. The last 13 students received their college ties recently to thunderous applause.

College in this and other similar neighbor was merely a concept--never a goal--for most of these young men growing up. Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls using a lottery in one of Chicago's more troubled neighborhoods, faced difficult odds. Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen, according to Tim King, the school's CEO. Every single person hired four years ago knew from the day one that this was the goal: Get our kids into college.

Before the students begin their freshman year, they take a field trip to Northwestern University. Every student is assigned a college counselor the day he steps foot in the school. Even the school's voicemail has a student declaring "I am college bound" before it asks callers to dial an extension.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Does Any of This Look Familiar?

45 rpm spindles

S&H Green Stamps

Metal Ice cube trays

Drive in Movies


Washtub wringers

Reel-To-Reel tape recorders

15 cent hamburgers

5 cent packs of baseball cards

25 cents a gallon gas

Jiffy Pop popcorn

5 cent Cokes

Brownie camera

Flash bulbs

Timmy and Lassie (long before Black folks on TV)

TV Test patterns

The sad thing is that I remember all of these.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Serena Williams Opens Second School in Kenya

Serena Williams, the world's #1 womens tennis player, made a whirlwind 3-day trip to Kenya in late February. The trip included the opening of the Serena Williams Wee Secondary School, the second such school in her name in that African nation. The school is located in the remote village of Wee, east of Nairobi. This is the second school she’s opened in Kenya with help from computer giant Hewlett Packard. Serena opened her first school in 2008. Oprah, you're lagging.

Just a couple months ago Serena was all over the news for her rant against a line judge in a tennis match and the media was calling for her head. But where is the main stream media when not only Serena Williams, but any athelete does anything positive?

The tiny village of Wee was a beehive of activity as Serena and her entourage arrived in aboard helicopters to preside over the grand opening. Hundreds of school children and their parents turned out to receive the celebrated star player which they only hear about in the media. The greatest moment of the event came when Serena was decorated as an Akamba woman amid song and dance.

Wee students, having heard of a popular joke that Serena’s roots are in Western Kenya due to her imposing physique, impressed the visitor with a rendition of popular songs from the region like mwana wa mama apepetanga (mama’s girl is a star dancer). The children sang: “Serena we like you, Serena we love you, Serena come dance with us,” and Serena acknowledged by waving back with a smile.

For hundreds of Wee residents, the presence of helicopters attracted their attention much more than did the tennis star as they gathered around the machines they only see flying above the hilly region.

Serena’s school has a special class for deaf students, the first of its kind in the region.

Serena also met with the Prime Minister and Vice President of Kenya and conducted a tennis clinic with the children. And being that Serena was recovering from the flu, her appearance was all the more impressive.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

RNC Documents Reveal Use of Scare Tactics

As the Bible says, what's done in the dark will come to light. Republican National Committee leaders are once again doing damage control after a document was found revealing their plans to use voters' fear in the coming campaign season. The problem started when an attendee at the RNC conference last month Florida left a 72-page document from its 2010 strategizing session in a hotel room.

The memo states that the best path to victory in 2010 is for Republican candidates to depict themselves as the best hope for resisting the "trending toward socialism" taking shape in a Democrat-dominated Washington. The presentation calls President Obama's administration "The Evil Empire," and includes the image of President Obama made over in the makeup Heath Ledger used in his performance as the Joker in the 2008 Batman movie "The Dark Knight."

The memo candidly states that the aim of such caricature is to amp up "fear" among the Republican conservative base. RNC leaders NOW say "the language and the imagery will not be used in any capacity in the future."

The RNC will not admit to it, but evidence points to their founding and backing the "Tea Party Movement". Ever wonder why only Republicans are speakers at tea party" functions. The Obama-as-Joker image is a very familiar icon at Tea Party rallies.

It's time for Black folk to do what the actors in Spike Lee's Skool Dayz say "WAKE UP". While Black folks are still celebrating a year after Barack Obama became the first Black president of the U.S., his and your enemies began plotting, the day after the election, how to not only defeat him, but to embarrass and destroy him. And all the while, we, including the Congressional Black Caucas, NAACP, Urban League, churches, the twin reverends high five and dap.