Education

This Is How A Prison’s Debate Team Beat Harvard

Harvard University vs Prison debate

Bard College, New York is creating real change in the prison industrial complex. Beating Harvard University in a debate is only a small feat when we take into account the many who will be released from prison with a leg up over some that have never seen prison walls. The international “Ban the Box,” which counsels employers across the globe to eliminate judging employment applicants first on whether or not they have been imprisoned, along with prisoners leaving prisons work ready heals societies already burdened with economic trials.

The BPI is the largest prison education program in the U.S. Almost 300 incarcerated men and women are currently pursuing degrees in six prisons across New York State. Yet, gaining admission to the program is no small feat. Applicants are required to write an essay and go through a rigorous interview process.  “It’s a very difficult, very grueling process,” Kenner noted. “But it’s one that rewards student initiative. And something that we take very, very seriously.” In July, BPI was awarded a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation to help support its work for higher education in prisons and innovations in criminal justice reform.

Source: This Is How A Prison’s Debate Team Beat Harvard

Advertisements

Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

DeRay McKesson, like most of our young protesters, has had to have a thick skin during the past year. He has been the subject of many attacks surely aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and is now referred to by some journalist and agencies as a “professional protester.” Now, Yale University is giving this new civil rights activist and chronicler a platform to show that he is more than any of the disparaging symbols forced on our conscience.

Those that have not supported McKesson, nor championed his energy during the many protests against Black genocide held around the country, may have to rethink all of what they have heard and seen. What lies behind the mask?  
If not for Twitter and Instagram, Missouri officials would have convinced you, one year ago, that we simply did not exist. Or that we were the aggressors, rather than the victims. That we, and not they, were the violent ones.

But social media was our weapon against erasure. It is how many of us first became aware of the protests and how we learned where to go, or what to do when teargassed, or who to trust. We were able to both counter the narrative being spun by officials while connecting with each other in unprecedented ways. Many of us became friends digitally, first. And then we, the protestors, met in person.

Social media allowed us to become our own storytellers. With it, we seized the power of our truth.

Source: Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

Three Girls Stood In A Line On National TV. What They Do? I Have CHILLS!| Little Things

“Get Lit” – Changing the World, One Word at a Time!

What these girls learned in school is not pretty, but well articulated.


These outspoken, brave girls are part of Get Lit, “the leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs in Southern California,” according to their website.

The remarkable young girls were featured on the Queen Latifah Show to perform a slam poetry piece called “Somewhere in America,” and as you will see, their powerful words strike up many emotions in just a few seconds.

via Three Girls Stood In A Line On National TV. What They Do? I Have CHILLS!.

Why Marcus Garvey’s Teachings Are as Important Today as They Were in His Time – Atlanta Blackstar

Marcus Garvey

Despite the legislation which emanated from the Civil Rights Movement, Black people are not free and they have no power, including power over their own communities.  The larger society will not employ us, but they will imprison us, as they have by the multitudes, separating our families and destroying our communities, as we are used as raw materials for the prison factories.

And whether by the police, the courts, or vigilantes, this society continues to kill Black women, children and men—in the streets, in the police car, in the jail house and elsewhere, all because we have no power, and they know it.

via Why Marcus Garvey’s Teachings Are as Important Today as They Were in His Time – Atlanta Blackstar.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

President-NC NAACP

REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II
PRESIDENT OF THE NC NAACP

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

President of the North Carolina NAACP and convener of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Peoples Assembly Coalition, a broad alliance of more than 140 progressive organizations with over 2 million memberships to champion a 14 point anti-racism, anti-poverty, anti-war agenda, Dr. Barber is very much in the national spotlight.  Dr. Barber and this coalition has aided in the passage of the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed death row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias in the court system; and successfully advocated for voting reforms such as same-day registration and early voting, and has re-framed marriage equality as a civil rights issue and helped mobilized black churches to support a ballot initiative in 2012.

In opposition to regressive policies pushed by the governor and state legislature including draconian cuts to Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and public education funding, Dr. Barber has mobilized the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, a multi-racial, multi-generational movement of thousands for protests at the NC General Assembly the people’s house, and around the state. Hundreds, including Dr. Barber himself, have also engaged in non-violent civil disobedience to expose what the politicians in North Carolina are trying to do in the dark.

via President-NC NAACP.

“Black Americana” Seeks To Deconstruct Negative Stereotypes About Black Love |The Culture

Featured in The Culture, “Black Love”

Black Love | The Culture

Black Americana” is a project aiming to deconstruct negative stereotypes through redefining and “reappropriating” relics of black americana. The goal of this first installment, says artist Tanisha Pyron, is to explore the dynamics between black women and men at various points in the African-American historical timeline. “[We’re] looking to quantify and establish what it took for one black man to love one black woman in the past and what it takes now and cast vision for it will take generations to come,” she writes.

To learn more about “Black Americana”, check out their Facebook page. Take a peek at some of the photos from this first installment below!

via “Black Americana” Seeks To Deconstruct Negative Stereotypes About Black Love.

Challenge | Barbershop Books

Harlem has always been the east coast mecca for Black culture and art. I remember my days at Hunter College, trolling the uptown bookstores for that rare author. With this tradition Alvin Irby‘s project, Barbershop Boys, recognizes and meets the challenges that prevent young Black youth from developing a healthy love for books.   

NBC Today: How Barbershop Books Is Getting Young Boys Excited About Reading

In 2013, former kindergarten and first-grade teacher Alvin Irby launched “Barbershop Books,” an initiative that targets young black boys who frequent barbershops and aims to improve their reading comprehension by encouraging them to dive into the world of literature. 

The Barbershop Books website describes its purpose: “To close the reading gap for young black boys by using child-centered, culturally relevant, and high-impact strategies.” According to the White House, 86 percent of black boys are below proficient reading levels by the fourth grade, compared to 58 percent of white boys in the same category. 

 

Barbershop Books

via Challenge | Barbershop Books.

Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up – The New Yorker

Brit Bennett’s review of “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, for The New Yorker magazine, is the best I have read so far. Bennett writes from an African American Feminist perspective drawing clean lines between what it means to be black and female in America. You can expect classy and exact references examining the relationship of black authors to black women, the black father to his son, and their relationship within the scope of institutional racism.

My favorite paragraph from Bennett is as follows:

 As a child, I once heard that slavery was worse for black men than black women, because black men were pained by their inability to protect the women they loved. In this retelling, black women’s pain is incidental. The systemic, relentless rape that black women endured is only meaningful because of how it hurt black men. I believed this for a time, in deference to the black elder who told me, until I realized that trauma is not a competition, that there is no better or worse; there is only pain, and a woman’s pain is equally worthy of mourning.T. Coates|New Yorker Mag 2015

Bennett’s piece opens:

The night Trayvon Martin’s killer walked free, I stood outside a Los Angeles movie theater, in line to watch “Fruitvale Station.” Maybe I would’ve picked a different movie had I foreseen the verdict, but I was young and hopeful, and I believed that someone would be held accountable for snuffing out a seventeen-year-old’s life. Instead, I blinked back tears as a well-meaning white woman approached—she couldn’t believe that verdict, she said, the injustice of it all. I didn’t want to hear her disappointment. I didn’t want to be a conduit for her guilt. I wanted to understand how a jury could determine that a child’s unarmed black body posed more of a threat than a grown man with a gun.

via Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up – The New Yorker.

Viewpoint: It’s Easier to Remove a Confederate Flag Than a Racist Teacher | emPower magazine

emPower

After the massacre of 9 people in a South Carolina Black church, media outlets, politicians, and various leaders grasped at available narratives to regain control of a national devastated community. The one prevailing focus has been a piece of cloth designed to represent so much over the generations during and post United States Civil War. Yet behind this rambling distraction, the hashtag #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches, whispers, and noted silences signal that there is a lot to be done and highlights the confusion. Author Andre Perry draws upon this quagmire to note our malaise in allowing control of our education, health, and welfare to slip through our fingers. We leave our children naked and afraid with those who do not respect us and chastise these same youths for disrespecting their communities once they have survived captive racial attacks. But I digress… Perry says it best.

Andrew Perry:

Taking down the vestiges of a segregated past also means weeding out racist teachers from the profession and supplanting them with people who can produce more Bree Newsomes. Climbing the education flagpole also means that we must bring down curricula that ostensibly adjust students to injustice.

schools

In his eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine church goers slain in the Charleston church shooting, President Barak Obama said, “Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty or attend dilapidated schools or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career. Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate.”

via Viewpoint: It’s Easier to Remove a Confederate Flag Than a Racist Teacher – emPower magazine.

National Review’s Racism Denial, Then and Now | The New Republic

New Republic|Politics

Courtesy of Media Matters for America, this article by New Republic compares and contrasts the media coverage of two explosive racially-motivated events, 52 years apart, by the National Review; the bombing of Birmingham, Alabama’s 16th St. Baptist Church in 1963 and the murder of 9 people at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlotte, South Carolina this 2015 by Dylann Storm Roof. It begs to remember that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” 

Both National Review’s 1963 theory that about a “crazed Negro” and Delgado’s notion that Roof doesn’t “look white” spring from a profound commitment to the myth of white innocence. The underlying idea is that white people have only good intentions, so horrific crimes like Birmingham in 1963 or Charleston in 2015 must somehow spring from another source, most likely a dark-skinned person.

Roof

Parallel to the idea that Roof is not white is the desire to deflect attention from Roof’s racist motivation in the church killing, the evidence for which has been steadily accumulating. “He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Roof’s roommate told ABC News. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

via National Review’s Racism Denial, Then and Now | The New Republic.