Compiled by MCJ Staff
Though the Milwaukee Police Department is being scrutinized by the public and media for recent unlawful activities of some officers, Ald. Joe Davis warned the criminal element not to get too comfortable or bold thinking they have carte blanche over the city.
“Let’s be clear about one thing, (the recent abuses of power by MPD) is not an invitation for lawbreakers to try and hide their crimes behind accusations against MPD officers who are simply doing their jobs,” Davis said recently as the MPD and Fire and Police Commission struggle to regain the public’s trust.
Within the last two years, the MPD has been underfire for incidents in which officers have been accused of using excessive force towards individuals in their custody.
Recent revelatiions in the death of Darryl Williams in the back of a police squad car, an officer hitting a handcuffed female suspect in the back of a squad car (both incidents caught on video tape), and allegatioins of illegal strip searches by officers of suspected drug dealers has put the department and its chief, Edward Flynn on the defensive.
Even the Fire and Police Commission has come under scrutiny. Last December, the commission reinstated the officer who assaulted the woman in the squad car. The ruling touched off a fire storm of condemnation by the community, elected officials and civil rights organization that led to calls for the dismantlement of the commission.
Though the commission reversed its decision, the dye had been cast and the governing body that oversees the fire and police departments finds itself also under the microscope of public opinion.
Davis stressed the scrutiny the MPD is experiencing is “a good thing” for both it and the community. “I strongly urge anyone who believes they are the legitimate victims of police abuse of power to come forward and report it.”
Davis, who is a member of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said officers who commit crimes can expect to be brought to justice within the confines of police procedure and the law.
“I will not advocate for police to turn a blind euye to crime,” Davis added. “If a person continues to engae in illegal activity and leaves police no choice but to utilize an appropriate level of force in apprehending that criminal, I expect police to do their jobs and enforce he law. The law-abiding public deserves no less.
“There is a balance between right and wrong,” Davis said. “Milwaukee police officers must follow the rules that have been established to protect the public, just as criminals should NOT expect to be pardoned for their wrong doing simply by crying “foul” and making frivolous claims of police brutaility.”
by Michael Cottman
It seems like a troubling trend: Racists targeting black women in the media.
The recent hate-filled note written to Jemele Hill began this way: “Hell, I don’t like women broadcasters to begin with, yet alone bitch jungle bunnies …this “spear chucker needs to go away.”
“Get her outa here before she back-slides into some ebonics -laden inarticulate mumbo jumbo tirade,” the viewer wrote.
“Short sound bites from male (black) jocks is tolerable. But, I’m not interested in spending all day listening to some thick-lipped gorilla, attempting to properly speak the king’s English.”
I suppose I can dismiss these racist rants against one ignorant bigot, but now it appears as if it’s open season on black women in television – a pattern I hope will end quickly.
Three months ago, Rhonda Lee, an African American meteorologist, was fired from her ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La., after she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station’s Facebook page in reference to her short Afro hairstyle.
Lee was hastily fired simply for defending her hairstyle after the viewer suggested that she wear a wig or start growing more hair. The viewer’s comments were racially inflammatory—yet Lee got the ax.
On Oct. 1, a viewer identified as Emmitt Vascocu wrote, “the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady. the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still it’s not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news. what about that.”
And last year, two white people who were attending the Republican National Convention had to be removed from the building in Tampa after they threw peanuts at Patricia Carroll, a black CNN camera operator, and shouted, “This is how we feed animals.”
“I hate that it happened,” Carroll told Richard Prince, who writes a diversity column, “Journal-isms”, for the Maynard Institute, “but I’m not surprised at all.”
“This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South,” said Carroll, a 34-year-old from Alabama.
“You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.”
And she offered this observation about the GOP convention: “There are not that many black women there.”
These racists are cowards –men who pick on unassuming women and men who are apparently seething with hate.
What kind of man throws peanuts at a woman and likens her to an animal? What kind of man refers to a black woman as a “jungle bunny?”
These are the rants of racists who will probably never change their warped attitudes, but I’m hopeful that in 2013 more employers like CNN will support black women who are being racially harassed instead of firing women for responding to their bigoted critics.
Carroll thanked CNN, which “has been behind me 100 percent.” Although she was stationed on the floor next to Fox News, Carroll said the peanut throwers “didn’t know what I was doing. I happened to be standing there,” near one of the delegations.
“I can’t change these people’s hearts and minds,” Carroll added. “No, it doesn’t feel good. But I know who I am. I’m a proud black woman. A lot of black people are upset. This should be a wake-up call to black people. . . . People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we’ve gone further than we have.”She’s absolutely right.
For all the talk of a post-racial America after the historic election – and re-election – of President Barack Obama, it seems, at times, that America is seriously moving backward.
My hope for 2013 is that some of these misguided Americans engage in serious soul-searching and respect the nation’s ever-changing multicultural landscape – but I’m not holding my breath.
Since Michael Jackson’s death several years ago, members of the Jackson family have reportedly feuded with each, their mother and Michael’s children.
Plano, TX – Rick Robertson has a word for the wise: be careful how you use social media if legal struggles are looming. Why take his advice? Robertson was recently named as the lawyer other lawyers would hire for themselves if they needed a specialist in family law. The “Go-To Guide” was compiled by Texas Lawyer magazine and Robertson is the number one choice for his area of practice. Rating service Super Lawyers also highlighted Robertson’s skills in the courtroom and in the innovative use of technology and social media to win cases for his clients.
In one memorable case, Robertson was able to win visitation rights for his client when his client’s soon-to-be ex-wife splashed her private life all over her Facebook page. “Technology has changed family law and divorces,” Robertson says. He gives his clients a list of “do’s and don’ts,” warning people caught up in divorce, custody fights or other situations that they need to guard their privacy. “Without your knowledge, someone else may be able to monitor all your computer conduct,” he says. “You do not want to see your private life on an exhibit in the courtroom.”
His peers recognize his expertise in the use of electronic evidence and the role of social media in the divorce process. In 2007, he won the award for the best paper written for presentation to legal groups by the State Bar of Texas, for his effective paper on the use of electronic evidence. Local and national media turn to Robertson for expert opinions on international child custody law, crowded family courts in his home state of Texas, and even the Tiger Woods case. Robertson has written articles and made presentations on family law issues to local, state and national bar associations.
Robertson also speaks to church and civic groups on staying married and the many challenges that face those who decide to divorce. “The lesson is that people continue to be connected. My job is to minimize the conflict.
“We always offer clients the possibility of saving their marriages,” he says. “We don’t need to drum up business, and we would much rather see people get their lives in order. But if a divorce is inevitable, we are zealous advocates for them.”
Robertson was raised in Austin and attended the University of Texas (B.B.A., 1976) and the University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 1978). A Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation, he is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists and the College of the State Bar of Texas, a former Director of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and a member of the Collin County, Texas and American Bar Associations. He’s been listed in Best Lawyers for 15 consecutive years.
He and his wife live in McKinney, Texas. They have two grown children.
by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
For a number of years, new Black leadership and media pundits such as radio talk show host Warren Ballentine has emerged preaching the gospel of economic self-reliance; a “let’s do it ourselves” philosophy of economic self-empowerment that requires us to do business with each other to uplift the race.
Chicago businesswoman Maggie Anderson decided to put the philosophy into action several years ago. In the process she and her family made history and dominated national media headlines by applying self-help economics in the Black community.
The Anderson family lived exclusively off Black business and talent and bought only Black made products for an entire year. It was an experiment the Andersons called the Empowerment Experiment (EE) and resulted in a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.
Since the completion of the experiment, Anderson has become the voice of American consumers of all backgrounds who want to make sure their buying power positively impacts struggling minority communities.
Anderson, the author of “Our Black Year,” which chronicled their “Buy Black” journey, was recently the keynote speaker for the 53rd annual Milwaukee Urban League’s Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon held at the Pfister Hotel.
During her address before the community’s and city’s business leaders, heads of community based organizations and civil rights activists, Anderson preached her gospel of economic self-reliance, discussing the Empowerment Experiment and what it was like to live by the pledge to support Black owned businesses, talent and products.
Anderson said the death of Black businesses and consumer support was integration, which she called the perfect storm that ended Black people doing business with each other.
Noting White businesses saw that money was plentiful within our community began to cater to Black consumers using advertising with Black faces, Anderson said we became brand loyal consumers who ignored products made by Black companies.
Also contributing to the demise of Black businesses and Black on Black consumerism was the aggressive recruitment (and Black pursuit of) talented Black people by white corporations.
“Getting a job with a big white company was the dream,” Anderson said during a recent interview with Black media after her address.
“Our parents instilled in us the message of working for someone else…white,” she continued. Anderson said Blacks are now seen as consumers, not business owners.
Plus, Anderson noted the Civil Rights Movement and its leadership made the mistake of focusing solely on civil rights and ignored “silver rights”—economic development of our own community and people.
The “Black flight” to the suburbs and the subsequent abandonment of Black communities created a economic vacuum that was filled by other ethnic groups: Latinos, Asians, Indians, Pakistanis and Arabs.
Instead of doing the Empowerment Experiment for a year, Anderson suggested doing it for a week for no other reason than to raise your consciousness.
Anderson said what impedes Black people from utilizing Black owned businesses is the mentality that “only white ice gets cold; we distrust Black businesses.
Black businesses are seen as inferior by Black people.
While Anderson did encounter some bad Black businesses, her first encounter doing the experiment was awful, most of her experiences were positive.
“If you do business with three Black businesses and two are bad, don’t say, ‘all Black businesses are bad.’ You don’t say that about White businesses. Such an attitude is detrimental for good Black businesses.
Anderson suggests Black consumers keep going to good, quality Black businesses in order to break down the negative stereotype Black businesses are burdened with.
She also suggests aspiring Black business people focus on newer markets and industries not stereotypically associated with the community like low-end, hold-in-the-wall soul food joints, candy and liquor stores, barber and beauty shops.
Such businesses—where the owner has little to no business training and no investors—are too common and offer substandard services that reflect the attitude it has towards a clientele with low self-esteem and poor.
by Gil Robertson, Jet
The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has named “Zero Dark Thirty” as the Best Picture of 2012. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the Columbia Pictures release captured a majority vote by the organization, which is comprised of leading African-American media professionals from across the nation. The organization will formally present this year’s honors during a private ceremony on Friday, February 8, 2012 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.
AAFCA awarded Ben Affleck its Best Director 2012 Award for “Argo.” Denzel Washington was named Best Actor 2012 for “Flight,” alongside Emayatzy Corinealdi who earned Best Actress 2012 for “Middle of Nowhere.” Sally Field received Best Supporting Actress 2012 for her role in “Lincoln” and Nate Parker earned Best Supporting Actor 2012 for his performance in “Arbitrage.” Ava DuVernay’s “Middle of Nowhere” was voted Best Screenplay, with the film also honored as Best Independent Film. France’s entry “The Intouchables” was named Best Foreign Film with newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis awarded Best Breakout Performance for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
Rounding out this year’s selections are Peter Ramsey’s, “Rise of the Guardians” for Best Animated Feature and a tie for Best Documentary with Eugene Jarecki’s “The House I Live In” (Charlotte Street Films) & Deborah Riley Draper’s “Versailles ’73” (Coffee Bluff Pictures). Composer Kathryn Bostic & Music Supervisor Morgan Rhodes of “Middle of Nowhere” were honored for Best Music.
AAFCA’s Special Achievement Awards for career achievement are being awarded to Billy Dee Williams, Cicely Tyson, Clint Culpepper and Rainforest Films.
“The selections made this year reflect the refreshing abundance of both studio and independent work that provided a stellar array of roles for both veteran actors and new faces in front of and behind the camera,” says Gil Robertson IV, AAFCA, President and Founder.
The organization’s Top Ten list of films includes “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Life of Pi” and “Django Unchained.” “The film industry has done a great job of investing in real stories that reflect the resiliency of the human spirit and we are thrilled to commend our favorites this year,” says AAFCA’s East Coast V.P. Daryle Lockhart, owner of Black Box Office.com.
The African-American Film Critics Association’s Top Ten Films of 2012 are as follows in order of distinction:
1.“Zero Dark Thirty”
4.“Middle of Nowhere”
5.“Life of Pi”
7. “Django Unchained”
8.“Beast of the Southern Wild”
10.“Think Like a Man”
Best Actor Denzel Washington, “Flight” (Paramount)
Best Actress Emayatzy Corinealdi, “Middle of Nowhere” (AFFRM)
Best Supporting Actress Sally Field, “Lincoln” (Touchstone)
Best Supporting Actor Nate Parker, “Arbitrage” (Roadside Attractions)
Best Foreign Film Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, “The Intouchables” (Weinstein Company)
Breakout Performance Quvenzhané Wallis for “Beast of the Southern Wild”
Best Director Ben Affleck, “Argo” (Warner)
Best Screenplay Ava DuVernay, “Middle of Nowhere”(AFFRM)
Best Music Kathryn Bostic & Morgan Rhodes, “Middle of Nowhere” (AFFRM)
Best Independent Film “Middle of Nowhere” (AFFRM)
Best Animation “Rise of the Guardians,” (Paramount)
Best Documentary tie “The House I Live In” (Charlotte Street Films) & “Versailles ’73” (Coffee Bluff Pictures)
Dr. Mary Ellen Strong, a Wisconsin media pioneer passed at the age of 91 years-old at her home in California on November 27, 2012. She was the first in many things in her lifetime.
“She was like a mother to me and I loved her like a mother and the mentor she was too me,” said Robert Thomas, associate publisher of the Milwaukee Community Journal. “She was a mentor not only as it relates to newspapers and communication, but business in general as well.”
In Milwaukee, she was the first publisher of the first Negro Business Directory, a publication that published from 1949 through the late 1950’s. This comprehensive business directory was the first of its kind in Wisconsin. She later founded the Milwaukee Defender, the first Black weekly newspaper in Wisconsin, that published until 1961.
She picked up and moved to Chicago in the mid-1960’s, and began working for The Chicago Courier, a Black weekly newspaper founded by the late S.B. Fuller, the first Black male self-made millionaire in the United States.
Strong was the marketing director for the newspaper, and one of her many accomplishments during her tenure there was being one of two women honored by the Chicago Chamber of Commerce with Businesswoman of the Year, the other woman was the late actress Joan Crawford, who was working with Pepsi Cola at the time.
Strong took her marketing experience and launched her own marketing company, ‘The Welcome New Neighbor Service, Inc.’, a company that did door-to-door sampling in African American neighborhoods throughout the United States. Strong’s company held contracts with corporations such as Kelloggs and Proctor and Gamble. Her company travelled around the U.S., and for weeks at a time she hired locals to work alongside her full time travellling crew and they went out door-to-door in poor neighborhoods with samples from Kelloggs and Proctor and Gamble. She also developed an investment banking program for Black owned banks, where the large corporations that she worked with were encouraged by Strong to make large deposits in the banks, a program that allowed these banks to establish corporate credibility.
After years of seeing first hand the deterioration of the Black family, she was disturbed and it led her back into publishing. This time around it was a national magazine, ‘Black Family Magazine’. The focus of the magazine was to encourage the preservation of the Black family unit, and with this in mind she refused liquor and cigarette advertisements. The magazine set a standard that forced more established magazines aimed at the African American audience to cut down on all the “fluff” and “entertainment” and develop deeper content.
She spent her later years in the field of the ministry. She was a sought after speaker in mega churches across the U.S., she even became a regular guests on the 700 Club for several years.
She made Atlanta her home many years ago, and it is where she wanted to return to be laid to rest. There will be a memorial service and burial held on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at The Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell, GA. She was preceded in death by her oldest son, Jesse Douglas Jones, and survived by her son, Jerrel Jones, daughter, Carolyn Wright, brothers, Atty. Leonard V. Brady, and Welton M. Brady. She also leaves behind grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson.
Media portrayals of families tend to show them either highly dysfunctional or unrealistically perfect. Of course, neither is generally accurate in terms of showing normal, and healthy, families.
Despite this, a healthy family is not only possible, but essential, in order to better survive and thrive in other areas of your lives.
So how do you go about building a stronger, healthier family?
Step 1. Help promote respect, honor differences and establish a no-losers policy where every family member has a voice in how to best resolve family conflicts and problems.
Step 2. Find ways to share life experiences together and play together. Once a week, enjoy a night of playing board games. Plan a visit to an amusement park. Families who are close and healthier tend to share a committment to spending quality time with each other.
Step 3. Establish and respect healthy boundaries. Boundaries help people to understand what they are and are not responsible for in the various aspects of their lives. For example, allowing your children to experience the natural consequences of their actions can help them to understand that, while they are not responsible for the actions of others, they are responsible for their own choices.
Step 4. Help encourage a healthier family lifestyle by embracing basic healthy habits every day, such as eating healthy meals, exercising, visiting the doctor regularly, practicing great hygiene habits and getting enough sleep.
With some patience and determination, a healthier, happier family can be your reality.
MCJ Editor Thomas Mitchell, Jr. (at right next to 1290 WMCS AM “Morning Magazine” host Eric Von) was one of four panelists who participated in a discussion on how small businesses, churches, schools and community-based organizations can effectively sell their events and stories to the media. The discussion, the signature event of Black Public Relations Society (BPRS) Milwaukee, was held at Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd. The other panelists were: WISN Channel 12 Anchor Portia Young, who was also the moderator for the discussion, Kenya Evans, a freelance journalist; James Causey, editorial writer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Von. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
MPS has the largest collection of public Montessori schools
in the United States
Prospective parents, prospective teachers, current Montessori families, the media and community members who want to learn more are invited to take a look as MPS which operates the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the U.S. hosts a Montessori Summit on Saturday, October 6.
The summit will feature a ³glass house² demonstration at 1 p.m. during which attendees can observe Montessori preschool, elementary, middle and high school classrooms in session.
Prominent author Trevor Eissler who wrote Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education will speak at 2:30 p.m. He argues that those who spend 30 minutes observing a Montessori classroom will never see education the same way again. His presentation will be followed by breakout sessions for those interested in learning more about Montessori, one for current parents and one for those interested in becoming Montessori educators.
The summit takes place at MPS¹ MacDowell Montessori School, 6415 W. Mt. Vernon Avenue, Milwaukee 53213. The school site is just south of the intersection of N. 64th St. and W. Blue Mound Road.
The MPS Montessori Community is excited to host parents, teachers and professionals from across Wisconsin and northern Illinois to talk about Montessori education and the success we¹re seeing with Montessori education in the district,² said Phil Dosmann, principal at MPS¹ just-opened Howard Avenue Montessori School.
Milwaukee Public Schools operates seven Montessori schools, the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the U.S.
– Barbee Montessori, on the north side
– Craig Montessori, on the northwest side
– Fernwood Montessori, in the Bay View area
– Howard Avenue Montessori, on the southeast side
– Kosciuszko Montessori, on the south side
– MacDowell Montessori, on the west side
– and Maryland Avenue Montessori, on the east side
In addition, MPS authorizes a charter Montessori school, Highland Community School on the near west side, for a total of eight Montessori schools within the MPS family.
Nearly every 3rd-through-8th-grader in the four longest-running MPS Montessori elementary schools Craig, Fernwood, MacDowell and Maryland outperforms the district average on state test scores. More than a third 35% exceed the state average. Two of the district¹s top 10 performers ont the most recent state standardized tests were Montessori schools.
Montessori education was developed more than 100 years ago by a young doctor named Maria Montessori and is now embraced in 110 countries around the world. In the Montessori classroom the students meet the Common Core State Standards adopted by both Milwaukee Public Schools and the state of Wisconsin through choosing lessons that have been presented by the Montessori teacher. Students have the freedom to follow up individual interests within the curriculum in multiage classrooms using Montessori materials that foster a deep understanding of concepts through hands on activities.
Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin¹s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS¹ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for the class of 2000.
by Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
The parent advocacy organization Common Sense says the average Black child invests nearly nine hours a day on ‘media’ while less than six hours a day in the classroom.
Over 80% of ‘learning’ takes place outside of school, although surveys suggests parents are number four on their child’s list of influencers—behind peers, media and entertainers (primarily rap artists).
Seventy percent of Black children live in households headed by a poor, uneducated, single mothers, many if not most of whom don’t value education with the enthusiasm their parents did. Nor do they view themselves as ‘African Americans,’ if they even understand the cultural concept.
Not surprisingly, statistics show that children emerging from those households are 10 times more likely to drop out of school, have a flirtation with the law, get pregnant and continue the cycle of poverty as if it is their birthright. Nearly 50% of all Milwaukee children live in poverty.
I’m not throwing out these depressing statistics to fill up space, but to lay the groundwork for a suggestion that may resurrect a long discarded, yet viable solution to the root cause of this social phenomena—a more effective, relevant educational system.
Most ‘experts’ suggest the best way to break this cycle of poverty, despair and social dysfunctionality is by providing youth with tools—the passport, if you will–to step outside of the revolving door that has become the accepted norm for the Black community.
There are few who would disagree with that conclusion, yet in the last three decades we have abandoned our quest to empower ourselves through education, and have instead fought several nonsensical battles over who holds our best interests (controls our agenda), and who should control the systems and institutions that supposedly benefit us. (Let me give you hints, most of them don’t look like us.)
Think about it: We’ve fought for two centuries for equal access, and then equal opportunity, followed by separation but never truly equal, community control and now for options and alternatives.
We’ve followed a dozen pied pipers, worn out dozens of shoes and when most of those efforts resulted in fruitless achievements and patronizing placebos, we asked the fairy godfathers in Oz to let us carve out our own yellow brick road, even through we didn’t have a shovel, concrete or map to direct us. (Actually, we left the map in Kansas, and found ourselves following someone else’s blueprint, and thus shouldn’t have been surprised when we ended back at square one.)
The battle has taken so long, and has detoured in so many directions; many can’t remember what we were fighting for. Nor do they see that outsiders have used our energies to first misdirect, then to confuse and now to have us turn on each other, while they take our resources to the suburbs and our children’s futures to the (un)welfare office.
(Hang on, this fairy tale isn’t as confusing as you might assume at this point).
Our children have become pawns as our latest battleground has been waged over delivery systems, instead of what those systems deliver.
It was at last Saturday’s meeting of Community Brainstorm that a light went off in my head, and the words that I spoke–while indoctrinating the audience on the local history of educational reform movement since 1970–struck me like a ton of yellow bricks.
My presentation followed a 15 minute diatribe by former Milwaukee School Board Director Leon Todd, who went on a rant about how the infamous Koch brothers have targeted Milwaukee for a corporate takeover, including buying the former Jackie Robinson Middle School building to, I assume, set up a slave labor camp.
Todd’s nonsensical rant (that had some of us reflecting back to his days on the school board when he fought to keep North Division closed to neighborhood students, declared the African Immersion School evil because ‘they were teaching Voodoo,’ and pushed a busing plan that wrecked the continuum of education while destroying Black neighborhood schools (Yeah, I’m saying he and others were the problem and true conspirators).
Given that the session’s theme was ‘Public, Private and Charter Schools, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’ my presentation was more to the subject, as I explained the genesis of the educational reform movement in Milwaukee, and the fact that the school choice crusade grew out of a meeting between representatives of several successful community schools and the Superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools, Robert S. Peterkin.
That’s a fact, and no amount of revisionist history will change that! Slightly less than 20 years after the Milwaukee Urban League petitioned the Milwaukee School Board to apply for a federal grant to start a voucher program in Milwaukee, the head of MPS discussed a similar program with representatives of several community based schools, including Harambee, Urban Day and Bruce Guadalupe.
Peterkin’s stated goal was to form an educational partnership, where the unique qualities of renowned community schools could be expanded upon and either replicated or supplemented by MPS.
As soon as the words left my mouth Saturday, visions of a system of schools to replace a public school system filled my mind. Where would we be today if Peterkin’s vision had materialized?
Following my presentation, MPS Board President Michael Bonds probably shocked some die hard status quo antagonists in the audience when he said the issue wasn’t the delivery systems—public, choice or charter—but instead how do we as a community work to educate all children within the structural paradigm that currently exists.
Dr. Bonds also talked about major reforms taking place at MPS, and how his administration has moved away from prioritizing the needs of adults and the status quo monopoly (my word, not his), to what is best for children. (Wow, that’s a novel, if not revolutionary concept I would say).
Adding the final piece of the puzzle was noted educator and Africentric consultant Taki Raton who (re) introduced the unprecedented accomplishments of the Africentric curriculum as an educational paradigm.
Taki explained why most Black children are not learning under the current educational paradigm, and then laid forth the reasons why small, independent Africancentric schools around he country are having phenomenal success. Students in many of those schools, outperform White students in the best public and private academies. That accomplishment is all the more inspiring given that the Africentric schools are grossly under funded, and many do not have ‘traditionally’ credentialed teachers
Raton explained a common thread of those schools is that children grounded in a strong cultural paradigm, which gives them a sense of purpose and direction. Knowing who and what they are empowers them and when combined with strong expectations and fundamentals in the three ‘Rs’ propels them to greatness.
These schools have consistently proven that they can level the playing field and fill the void created by a cultural of poverty and social dysfunctionality.
Interestingly, progressive, culturally attuned Black leadership advocated for the introduction of Africentricism in the 1980s, only to be drown out by a loud chorus that opined desegregation was the track to freedom and equality. Twenty years later, the achievement gap between Black and White children is as wide as the Grand Canyon, and the cycle of poverty is cemented.
Obviously, Black Milwaukee must pause and reconsider where this current educational train is taking us.
Is it possible that an Africentric core curriculum, replacing the school system with a system of schools, and prioritizing the needs of children over that of bureaucracies and special interests is the key to reversing the abysmal state of affairs? Did we have the answer 30 years ago but instead of actualizing the concept, allowed ourselves to be caught up in the politics and economics of education?
One of my favorite poems declares, “in the end, we’ll arrive at the beginning, and know it for the first time.”
I suggest we’ve come full circle, and the solution is slapping us right in the face. Hopefully, this time we won’t turn the other cheek.–Hotep.
Place editorial and photo under MCJ Editorial under perspectives–
That feeling overwhelmed us as we watched the tape of Derek Williams struggling to breath in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car last year just minutes before his subsequent death, which was ruled a homicide by the County Medical Examiner’s office a year after first calling it death by natural causes, which sparked comparisons to Ernest Lacy.
For those who may not know–or remember as if it was yesterday, Lacy was a young Black Milwaukee man who died 30 years ago at the hands of the police after being stopped because he “allegedly” fit the discription of a suspect in a rape that took place in a neighborhood near Wisconsin Avenue.
Lacy’s death moved Milwaukee’s Black community to anger and action. Led by Michael McGee, Sr. (before he became an alderman) and Howard Fuller (before he became one of the nation’s leading advocates of education reform), Black Milwaukeeans took to the streets and the courts calling shouting defiantly ”justice for Ernest Lacy.”
Some justice was received. Five officers involved in Lacy’s death were found guilty by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission for failing to render first aid to Lacy.
A new law, introduced by then State Sen. Gary George, was passed limiting the tenure of the Milwaukee Police Chief, who at the time was Harold Brier who, not long after the verdict and the new law came down, resigned as chief.
Fast forward to 2012 and the eerie feeling that comes over us when we realize how much the Williams tragedy mirrors the Lacy one: Police brutality, a questionable, needless death; outrage, demands for justice and calls for…no, demands for change within the police department.
We congratulate the members of the Common Council, the NAACP and Mayor Tom Barrett for calling for a federal investigation into the Williams death.
Yet their demands and expected actions of the justice system won’t soon–if ever–heal the damage done to community-police relations.
As a matter of fact, it could be argued the relationship died with Williams July 6, 2011.
No amount of mia culpas by the MPD, the coroner’s office, the DA’s office; no amount of legislation to increase “transparency” within the department and “communication between the community and police” will bring Williams back to his family or reconnect the fragile bond that had been carefully forged with the city’s minority communities by MPD Chief Edward Flynn since taking over as head of the department.
Not only must the officers who acted so callously in Williams’ death answer for their actions, Flynn too must answer for his officers’ behavior. Just as he has aggressively worked to reduce crime on our streets, the chief must be as aggressive rooting out the “bad actors” under his command.
He must also institute training procedures and policies that will change the “culture” on the force so that his officers respect human life, dignity, and the right citizens have to respectful treatment.
Only then can he and his department expunge the feeling our community is experiencing having witnessed this tragic situation–and the pain it caused–before .
Place article and photo under Letter to the Editor–
President of closing Everest
College vows not to abandon its students
To the Editor:
Last month, I arrived in Milwaukee to become the new President of Everest College, a downtown campus that currently offers practical, career-oriented courses to about 280 students. I will also be the school’s last president.
As the Milwaukee Community Journal reported on September 14, Everest has made the difficult decision to close our Milwaukee campus after about two years of operations. We came here in 2010 with a terrific new facility, many years of experience in higher education for working adults and high hopes.
Unfortunately, our campus did not achieve the academic and professional results that we and our accreditors demand for our students. We fell far short of the expectations we set for ourselves and we regret that deeply.
But we are not turning our back on this community or our current and former students. The national organization that owns Everest, Corinthian Colleges Inc., has made a substantial financial commitment to ensure that students who did not succeed will not be left in debt. And all of us at Everest Milwaukee are committed to offering those students who have enrolled with us a quality education throughout the remainder of their programs.
When Corinthian Colleges opened the Everest Milwaukee campus, we had good reason to expect success. Corinthian serves 91,000 students in 26 states and Canada, on 116 campuses and online. Some of our campuses have thrived in cities with challenging economic conditions, such as Detroit. Last year, Corinthian’s schools had more than 49,000 graduates and 68% of them found employment in their fields of study.
Corinthian’s schools demand, and routinely deliver, solid results. We are closing Everest Milwaukee because it did not perform. But we still have much hard work ahead of us. We will continue to conduct classes until all our currently enrolled students complete their programs next spring. And we will offer our students career services and job placement assistance for months after they graduate. As a veteran of 30 years in career education, I’m personally committed to helping our students succeed in the classroom and in the workplace.
All of us at Everest are sorry to leave Milwaukee. But in the months ahead, we are determined to do a good job for our students and our community.
President, Everest College Milwaukee
Article and photo (of Tammy Baldwin at Obama Rally) for Perspectives–
Tommy Thompson: Definately NOT What We Need in the United States Senate
by Phillip Walzak
What kind of person does the community need and deserve in the U.S. Senate? Who will represent our needs, our issues, and our interests?
These are some of the critical questions we need to ask ourselves less than six weeks before the November 6 election for U.S. Senate.
There are two candidates running, and the facts are clear–one will fight for us on every issue, every step of the way; the other will not.
Take the issue of Medicare. Medicare is a very successful, highly popular program that provides health care to our seniors. Thousands and thousands and thousands of our grandmothers and grandfathers rely on it every day–including many in our community right her in Milwaukee.
Tammy Baldwin has always fought for Medicare, and in the U.S. Senate she will work tirelessly to strengthen and defend this great program.
But Tommy Thompson, her opponent, has an entirely different view.
Because of his connections to the huge drug companies and powerful pharmaceutical special interests, Thompson says if elected to the U.S. Senate, he will repeal President Obama’s successful reforms that have improved Medicare coverage. He actually wants to do away with one of Barack Obama’s greatest achievements.
Instead, Thompson wants to reopen gaps in coverage that Obama closed. This would line the pockets of big drug companies, and increase out of pocket costs for seniors–many on tight fixed incomes.
Thompson also backs an extreme, conservative plan to end Medicare as we know it, and supports a voucher program that makes seniors pay higher health care costs. And when he worked as a senior partner at a powerful DC lobbying firm, he worked to make Medicare more expensive for seniors–while swelling the profit margin for the tycoons running the big drug and pharmaceutical companies.
Thompson even cut a sweetheart deal with the big drug and pharmaceutical companies that cost taxpayers a staggering $156 billion. This unbelievable arrangement was made when he worke for George W. Bush, and it actually made it illegal for Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors.
Thompson received a number of perks for these big giveaways to the special interests. Documents show he earned at least $724,100 from the pharmaceutical industry after leaving the Busch administration.
This is part of the stunning $13 million Thompson raked in over the past few years as a partner at a powerful DC lobbying firm, leveraging his insider connections and friendships with the special interests to get rich.
It is this awful record on Medicare that Thompson brings to the race for U.S. Senate. That’s why it’s essential to answer some basic questions before you go to the polls on November 6. What kind of person does the community need and deserve in the U.S. Senate? Who will represent our needs, our issues, and our interests?
As his record on Medicare shows, it certainly isn’t Tommy Thompson. His history shows he’s NOT looking out for our grandparents, for our community, or for people in Milwaukee working hard to get by in these challenging times.