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Category Archives: BLACK History

President Obama Makes History Again!

Viva Obama!

President Obama has made history again, this time he is the first president to get re-elected during a tough economic time with a high rate of unemployment. Some political experts felt like the state of the economy alone made him an easily beatable candidate. The Republican Party found out that he was not as easy to beat as they thought. At 11:18 on November 6th, 2012, Barack H. Obama was officially declared the winner of the presidential election. The people of the United States granted this historically significant president a second term in the White House. People waited with bated breath for almost two hours to hear the president deliver what would be the final acceptance speech of his political career. The beleaguered president took the stage with his family and one could almost see the relief they had for the end of a hard fought campaign. The votes had long since been counted and the winner declared but President Obama, like the rest of us waited patiently for Mitt Romney to finally give his concession speech. The tradition is that the loser calls the winner to congratulate him first, after which he gives his speech where he will concede the election to the winner, then the winner makes an acceptance speech. Every news organization sat on the edge of their seats as the Romney campaign was “still analyzing the numbers” even though expert analysis had already declared that he lost the election. After what seemed like many hours, but in actuality was just one hour, Mitt Romney delivered his concession speech just after midnight.

We always pay a lot of attention to the top of the ticket, but there were also some other democratic victories and important referendums that night. Victories in the Senate allow the Democrats to retain control of the governing body, while Republicans retain control of the house. Dozens of state-wide ballot questions were posed to voters, and the result of the votes cast can have a resounding effect, even across state lines. Maine and Maryland have added themselves to the list of states that now allow same sex marriage. The struggle for the LBGTQ community to achieve marriage equality has made several more strides toward success. And in an unprecedented move, Colorado and Washington state voters have passed referendums legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The drug is still banned under federal law however. In Massachusetts, voters approved a law to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes, adding itself to the list of 17 other states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana.

After the euphoria of the re-election wears off, there is a lot of work to do. Before he is even sworn in to office for his second term, Obama has to deal with the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, which Republicans want to extend for the wealthiest Americans and Obama wants these tax cuts to only remain for those making less than $250,000 a year. Right after he does that, he has to meet with Congress about increasing the debt ceiling once more, something that proved perilous when he tried to confront it in 2011.

In his acceptance speech, Obama vowed that in his second term, he would continue to listen to people who do not always agree with him and to work together with Republicans and Democrats alike for the good of this nation. He said that he is “more determined and more inspired than ever” about the work that needs to get done for the country.

Written By: Kika Ramsay

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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in BLACK Events, BLACK History, Businesses, Professionals, & Organizations, Culture, Education, Politics

 

“If I Had A Father”- The Importance Of Fathers in Children’s Lives

If I Had A Father

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

A new school year has started and the process of education is important once again in this nations schools. The educational system of this country is at a cross roads between continuing to be re-actional to the changes in society or proactive to saving youth from lives of poverty, unemployment and the media expectations of youth dropping out of school and becoming a part of a criminal justice system. What can be done to change the direction potential educational failures and societal rebellion of youth?

If I Had A Father; represents a dynamic of the involvement of fathers in children lives. This is not a specific cultural challenge it is a national goal to have fathers involved in their children’s education. History and society judges fathers by the behavior of their children, the choices children make in life and the outcomes. A father posses historical significance and importance in the shaping and molding of young minds, guiding emotions and influencing generational success, struggles, failures and even death. What could be worse than a physical death? The emotional death of children that a father does not care, does not understand and witnessing a father disrespect the mother that brought them into the world. Fathers must establish a foundation for a relationship with their children- An understanding with fathers for interaction that grows from love, discipline, consistent involvement and respect.

Fatherhood does not automatically mean that a man is going to be a responsible parent. A man has to want to be a responsible father, there is more to child rearing than creating a child, impregnating a woman or being a sperm donor.

“…parents must keep reminding their children about how important they are.”

-Archie Talley

Educational Needs

Fathers set the foundation for excellence, raise the expectations that children are smart, intelligent and worth educating. Teach children that success is not always making big sums of money, driving fancy cars or wearing expensive clothes. Success also means obtaining a quality education to provide for self and one day family. Education is the key to continued self growth and reliability on skills/talents and not dependent on the government to provide. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Fathers guard your children away from negativity and ignorance and guided them to knowledge of their individual talents, skills and abilities. Malcolm X stated as it applies to the 21st century, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Fathers remember your children will not stay children forever so fathers/daddies must help prepare their children for the Boardrooms, Courtrooms, Classrooms, Conference rooms, Presidential rooms, Mayoral rooms, Senatorial rooms and Surgical rooms of this country and world. In these economic turbulent times stated by Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, “The best economic stimulus package is a diploma,” fathers make a difference in the direction their children will take in school.

If I had A Father has become both an excuse and reason for failure for children. The lack of a father is more of a death sentence for fathers that are not involved because their children will execute them from their lives emotionally, psychologically and socially. A father that does not value his children is a man that creates damnation on his family history and heritage. Children are incarcerated mentally, jailed socially and emotionally blaming their life circumstances on “If I Had A Father.” The darkest depths of loneliness in a child’s heart because their father was not there for them. Having experienced this myself, the only way I survived this emotional death, this potential inner self destruction was to build myself up to try and be a good father for my children. Even though divorced, I did not divorce my children; I did not divorce my responsibilities to my son and daughter I did not commit fathercide to my children by leaving them.

Fathers Impact of Involvement

Fathers, Daddies, Stepfathers need to be involved in their children’s lives, spending more time with children will help keep children from dropping out of school, engaging in multiple sex partners and experimenting with drugs. Research from the University of Maryland (2000) indicates that, “children who have fathers or father figures in their lives learn better, have higher self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression”.

Fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships in a child’s educational environment. “…children who identified a father or father figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests and had a stronger sense of competence and social acceptance compared to children without fathers” (University of Maryland Medical News, 2000). Culturally ALL races are equally affected by the presence and absence of fathers in children’s lives. This is not just a Black, Hispanic or other cultural issue.

JCCI Study and E3 Forums

JCCI (Jacksonville Community Council Inc.) study shows the affects of absence fathers in children’s lives and it’s impact on infant mortality, educational success and poverty levels of children. The statistical evidence that the absence of responsible and mature fathers contributes to continued poverty of children, increase involvement of juveniles in criminal behavior, increased dropout rates among school age youth and infant mortality rates similar to that of third world nations JCCI – http://www.jcci.org/

The recent E3 Business Group Infant Mortality Making It Real and discussions about the fathers responsibility. These dialogues play an important part of the openness and honesty that needs to be displayed. http://www.youtube.com/user/e3businessgroup-Listen to the discussions from community members about fathers.

History and Heritage

Fathers your history, your heritage and your future presence either positive or negative rests within your commitment to be a real father. No one can make you do what you should do as a father. It is a responsibility that is only accountable through the efforts that you make. Fathers, consider if your children can afford for you not to be involved, will their potential be missed, the course of their destinies missed because they were without your guidance and wisdom?

“A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.”

-Edwards, Jonathan

Million Father March

A great quote by Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent over the Indianapolis Public School District stated, ”Fathers, take your children to school on the first day and don’t stop there. Become active in the education of your children all year long.’ Fathers across the country read these words, “All men, regardless of the skin you might be in, but especially Black men, can improve low-performing schools, increase graduations rated, lower jail sentences by getting involved in the education of their children.” If I Had A Father should not come out of the mouths of any child, they should not feel lost, forsaken or alone. Fathers, get involved, get active and get where you belong, with your children.

Written by:

William Jackson, M.Ed.

My Quest To Teach

Educator with Duval County Public Schools and Edward Waters College

 

JAMAICA, WEST INDIES – Home of Olympic heroes Usain Bolt & Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price

During the first week of August, a sea of people dressed in black, green and gold occupied an enormous space teeming with electricity and excitement on the grounds of the Jamaica 50 Grand Jubilee Village, formerly the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. The stadium was filled with lively musical celebrations, plays, movie screenings, fashion shows, dancing and was complete with a large screen that displayed the Olympic winning moments of homegrown heroes Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price.  Those winning moments seemed to be the icing on the cake for a country that, despite its hard times, knows how to celebrate when the time comes.  And celebrate they did, in that typical raucous Jamaican fashion when it was confirmed that both the fastest man and the fastest woman in the world both hailed from the tiny Caribbean island.

Jamaica came under British control in 1655 when it was captured from the Spanish. From that time until 1838, the British brought slaves from Africa to work the land which largely consisted of sugar plantations. After slavery ended, Britain invested in infrastructure on the island, but simultaneously had a system of repression of the nation’s Black majority and punished those who tried to buck that establishment. Jamaica started moving toward independence in the 1940s. Britain conceded to giving the colony greater economic and political power to govern themselves. On August 6, 1962, in the same national stadium that hosted the 50th anniversary celebration, the flag of the British Empire was lowered for the final time and replaced by the gold, black and green Jamaican flag that flies today.

As Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence from Great Britain, the celebration is made great through the entity that can be seen as Jamaica’s greatest asset and even its greatest export; its people. Jamaica’s national motto is “Out of many, one people,” which summarizes the diversity of ethnicities in its population which is more extensive than most people realize. There are about 3 million Jamaicans that populate the island and roughly the same amount live in other countries, helping to disperse their unique culture. For almost fifty years, this tiny speck of land in the Caribbean Sea, roughly the same size as the state of Connecticut, is a fixture on the world stage in the fields of music, athletics, academia, and international diplomacy, among others. Jamaica has made these contributions in extraordinary part through the export of its people to the farthest corners of the Earth, in particular to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America. 

Despite economic hardships, high crime rates, government corruption, these resilient people continue to smile, to work hard, and to make extraordinary contributions to the world. Here’s to the next 50 years.

Written by: Kika Ramsay

 

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Usain St. Leo “Lightning” Bolt

Usain Bolt is nothing short of a phenomenon.  He has earned his place among the greatest sports legends of all time. He is the world’s fastest man. Bolt became a professional athlete in 2004, but the he became a worldwide household name after he set world records during the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing.  Since then, we have become familiar with the graceful long strides (for every 44 steps taken by his competitors, he needs to take only 41) that bring him victory with what seems like such effortlessness. Usain is not the first sprinter to use a long, lean body to propel him forward. What makes him different is that he moves his tall frame with such ease and that is usually the benefit of a smaller runner.   After recent losses to his training partner and fellow countryman Yohan Blake, doubts arose as to whether or not he would be able to pull off a victory at the 2012 Olympics. Usain used that doubt and criticism and channeled it into training. He became more and more serious and dedicated about refining his technique. His hard work has paid off; his performance at the 2012 London games have not disappointed.

The first thirteen original Olympic Games in the ancient world consisted only of short distant sprint races.  Bolt’s event is quite literally, the heart and soul of the Olympics and only an elite few in modern times have dominated the way he has.  He has brought a level of skill, natural talent and flare to the sport from his home of Trelawney, Jamaica.  For decades, a disproportionate number of the world’s fastest men and women have run in the gold, green and black of Jamaica.  The island holds a long sprinting tradition and despite his carefree, playful and confident nature, Usain Bolt has upheld that tradition like no other in history.

Written by: Kika Ramsay

 

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Gabby Douglas Wins The All-Around Title

Gabby Douglas

 

Gabby Douglas’ gold medal winning routine will forever be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. It is hard to take your eyes off of the sixteen year old’s exciting routine as she executes with such skill. When she is competing, her energy is electric. When she is being interviewed, her glow, her beautiful smile, love of her family, her sport and her faith together make an extraordinary young lady. She’s one of the few African-American gymnasts ever to compete in the Olympic Games and the first black woman to take the all-around individual title.  She has been on the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated and she is still a teenager.  While many her age are enjoying a carefree summer before they return to high school, she is making history.  Her story is inspirational to say the least.

 

Along with the fanfare and the adulation, Gabby has to deal with the other side of being in the public eye.  She has had to endure discussions about her distant relationship with her dad, which is not an uncommon thing for young Black people to deal with except the rest of us who can relate get to deal with it privately. She has not been in contact with him, and has blamed him for the family’s financial problems.  She has also endured criticism over her hair.  Twitter exploded with people making negative comments about her gel-slicked ponytail.  The social media critics have certainly distracted attention from Douglas’ triumph, but they will never be able to take the accomplishment from her.  Despite her critics, she walks away the victor and her hard work will pay off in more ways than one. Experts have said that she is set to make between 5 and 10 million dollars in endorsements after her performance at the 2012 London games.

 Written by: Kika Ramsay

 

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HELPING JAMAICA SMILE AGAIN

When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island of Jamaica in 1494, he called it the single most beautiful place he had ever seen.  Millions of people who have visited the island have echoed the same sentiment since that time.  Jamaica has always been known for its beautiful landscape, pristine beaches and phenomenal weather.  These factors have made it an attractive place for tourists in the past and today it consistently ranks high in the top five lists of the world’s most popular vacation spots.

In its 4,411 square miles (roughly the size of the state of Connecticut), Jamaica hosts a population of over 2.2 million people. The smiling faces and majestic landscape we see in the commercials imploring us to “come to Jamaica and feel alright” put an appealing façade on what was one of the world’s slowest-growing economies of the last four decades. In the 2000s, Jamaica’s average Gross Domestic Product growth ranked 180th out of 196 countries. The nation’s ranking in terms of its economy has consistently declined since its official independence from Great Britain in 1960 until 2008. One fifth of the population lives below the poverty line.

The economic factor is only one of the major elements that promoted a large exodus from the island beginning mainly in the 1970s.  Over two million Jamaicans live in other countries.  They immigrated mainly to the U.S, Canada and Great Britain, but there are Jamaicans in a number of other nations across the world.  People took great measures in escaping the crushing poverty that still cripples the island nation.

Jamaicans outside of Jamaica generally assume a supportive role with their families who remain in the Caribbean.  It is not uncommon for people who live abroad to regularly send money and other goods to help their families survive. The current global economic crisis is also taking its toll on the small country.  The reduced employment that many face around the world result in a reduction of the help they can get from families living overseas.  The high rate of inflation and low productivity (which result in an increased dependence on importing goods) make for a bad combination for the Jamaican economy and the people who reside on the island.

Once a year, the Word in Action Mission tries to do their part in helping to alleviate poverty in Jamaica.  The team comes out of the New Beginnings Family Worship Center located in the suburbs of Atlanta.  The majority of the people who participate in the four year old charity endeavor annually are of Jamaican descent themselves and have family who still reside on the island.  The mission is a very personal one to them.  They spend the year collecting clothes, shoes, school supplies and monetary donations and when they get to Jamaica, they not only distribute the donated items to the people there, but the nurses that go on the trip provide basic health care services  and education that we here in America often take for granted.  They feed the people, some of whom express that the meal they received was their first in days. And they try to educate them on sexually transmitted diseases, teach them about self-breast exams and the importance of maintaining their health in whatever way they can.  A simple thing such as alerting someone who has never seen a doctor that they have high blood pressure can be life-saving.

Living in poverty can mean that there will be days that people will have to find a way to survive without food and other basic needs.  Some of us who have been more blessed than others should never forget those who are less fortunate.  There are many ways to give back without spending a lot of money.  There is a great website called FreeRice.com where you can play games and answer trivia questions.  For every question you get right, they donate 100 grains of rice to someone living in poverty abroad.  We should all try to find the means to help spread the love that we tend to take for granted.  There are millions of people in need across the world. There are times when we feel like maybe we don’t have the financial means to do a whole lot, but you might be surprised at how the small things we do can make a big difference in other people’s lives.  Check out the video to see some of what Word in Action actually does to help Jamaica.

Written by: Kika Ramsay

 

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DR. KING THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD

Today brings me back to the day when I first heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As far as my mind can remember, I was in first grade creatively coloring the face of a handsome man with a brown crayon. My teacher cleverly didn’t tell us which color to color his face in but she simply said, “This man was a man with great power, intelligent, kind, and wise. If you can pick one color, what would that color be?” So we all pick a color from the the plastic cup at her desk. We silently worked at our masterpiece. After about twenty minutes, we were asked to hold up our photo’s. I was a bit taken aback to see that out of a predominately black student class, only six of us had chosen a brown or black crayon. The rest of the class, a total of nineteen students, either colored him with a peach, yellow or  white crayon.

My teacher asked the class do we know who this man was or recognized him from anywhere, we all shook our heads no. She then told us that this brilliant man was indeed a Black man. I remember her taking the whole day to talk about him. She began to tell us what kind of environment he was raised in and the mindset of people of his time. She told us he grew up to be a man of God, a great speaker, and a believer of peace and equality for the unjust done to the Black communities.

“I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream…a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

She read this famous quote of Dr. King at the Lincoln Memorial Center in August 1963 in front of more than 200,000 people.. Since that day the words “I have a dream” have become the symbol of Martin Luther King Jr., and his nonviolent efforts to secure justice for black Americans.

It was King’s leadership that inspired SCLC’s nonviolent policy. King based his philosophy on the teachings of Jesus and those of the Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi. To those who opposed SCLC’s efforts, King said: “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering…. We will not hate you, but we cannot…obey your unjust laws…we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process.” These words summed up King’s philosophy. His pursuit of justice won him the Nobel peace prize in 1964.

I am happy that my White teacher deemed it necessary for her class to learn about this great man. She told us Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was indeed more than a dreamer. He created hope among a community. He aspired everyone to be someone greater. An individual who fought all odds. Though he was brutally assassinated, his legacy lives on today. In my eyes, my six year old mind, he is a hero….a superhero.

Here is his “I have a Dream” speech:


Written By: Judith Jacques

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in BLACK Corner, BLACK History

 

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