December is not reserved for Christmas and Kwanzaa. Far from it. At this time of year individuals from our community receive the gift of knowledge–a diploma that signifies their hard work, determination and hopes for a brighter future. Two local institutions of higher learning bestowed this gift. (Top photo): Liberal Arts and Sciences students at MATC received their degrees during that school’s winter commencement ceremony at US Cellular Arena downtown. (Bottom photo): Black women graduates at Alverno College were bestowed Kente Cloths by family members who inspired them during the “Bestowing of the Kente” ceremony at the college’s Wehr Auditorium. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
A one man village in the raising of the community’s children
Two decades of continually providing anything, especially for youth–given all the high-tech distractions they could be and are engaged in–not to mention the Herculean task of garnering the total commitment of adults and parents in today’s “me and mine first” era. It’s a major feat to be sure.
But it’s a feat Shihan TaWau Saleem the tournament’s founder and director has taken on with relish, determination and drive.
Saleem is a sixth degree black belt and the chief instructor and founder of Saleem’s Karate-Do in Milwaukee, which was first established at the King Center and is one of the largest African American martial arts programs in Wisconsin.
Saleem has been a Karate instructor for over 25 years, with over 30 years of experience in the martial arts.
Saleem is experienced in several different martial arts disciplines: Kemp Goju (Japanese and Chinese art), Shotokan (Japanese art), Tae Kwon Do (Korean art) and Kuro-Bushi Kal.
Saleem is the holder of a Third Dan in Shotokan, Kempo-Goju and Tae Kwon Do; and a Fifth Dan in Kuro-Bushi Kal.
Saleem has taken his Martial Arts education and knowledge and put it back into the community by offering African American families an opportunity to learn a discipline that will teach them self-control, respect for others, self-discipline that they can apply to their academics, raise their self-esteem, give them a physical outlet, as well as the ability to defend themselves (when necessary) without the use of a gun.
The training Saleem has provided has helped hundreds of students become successful adults.
Saleem’s instruction goes beyond the physical. He has helped his students prepare for the real world by helping them understand the consequences of not living a proper life and preparing them for what the society will throw at them.
Saleem’s hard work and dedication to the community, the Martial Arts, and the concept of family was earned him a number of honors. He has received awards from the Professional Karate Commission (PKC), the Tri-State Karate organization, and from the Parent Committee of his own dojo for his work with children and adults.
There is an old African proverb: “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.”
Saleem is a prime example of a committed villager raising children–and adults–successfully.