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Uplifting our young brothers

judgemathis 600I, along with my three brothers, was raised by a single mother who worked multiple jobs and sacrificed a tremendous amount for us. Despite all of her love and hard work, in my youth, I did not escape the pitfalls that commonly plague young boys growing up in low-income and single parent households.

I was arrested multiple times until a Michigan judge gave me an ultimatum to either turn my life around and get my education or serve a long term prison sentence. The goodwill sentencing of that judge allowed me to change for the better and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds that my friends I faced growing up.

I was trapped in a cycle of self-destructive behavior. It's the same cycle that far too many of our minority brothers are stuck in today.

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The grip of ‘liquid asset poverty’

assetpoor 600Today, middle class households feel the same financial stress that low-and- moderate income families have borne for years, says new research by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit organization working to alleviate poverty and create economic opportunity.

In its report, Treading Water in the Deep End, CFED analyzes the financial security of American households and public policy responses to the financial crisis.

"As millions of Americans struggle to save for emergencies, investing in their futures is increasingly out of reach," states the report.

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State of bicycling has Memphis riding high

bicycling 600All the miles of new bicycle infrastructure that the City of Memphis has constructed since 2010 would get you within about 17 miles of Jackson, Tenn.

According to the 2014 State of Bicycling Report, 71.15 miles of new bicycle infrastructure was created over the three-year period, a 114 percent increase of dedicated space for persons using bicycles, mostly along Memphis streets. The report was released on Friday.

"One way in which we keep Memphis competitive is by providing choices for our residents," said Mayor A C Wharton Jr. "In transportation, we've traditionally left the automobile as the only way to move around the city, but in just a short period of time, we've shown that with a little creativity and direction, Memphis can offer the same, if not better, amenities as any modern city."

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Three chances to hear Dr. Umar Abdullah-Johnson

johnson 600Dr. Umar Abdullah-Johnson – an educator, political scientist and pan-Africanist – has lectured extensively in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean and is a widely sought after expert on special education and the impact on black children.

Memphis-area residents are being presented with three chances to hear Dr. Abdullah-Johnson live.

Local activists and scholars will gather to hear Abdullah-Johnson offer his professional opinion on why black children represent the dominate population of public school special education programs on Saturday (March 8th) at 12:30 p.m. at Masjid Al-Mu'minun located at 4412 S. Third Street.

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The case for homeschooling African-American children

homeschool 600We hear so much about the plight of black children and their low test scores. We have not heard that African-American children who are homeschooled are scoring at the 82 percent level in reading and 77 percent in math. This is 30-40 percent above their counterparts being taught in school.

There is a 30 percent racial gap in schools, but there is no racial gap in reading if taught in the home and only a 5 percent gap in math.

What explains the success of African-American students being taught by their parents? I believe that it's love and high expectations.

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