The Tennessee state legislature is currently debating two versions of a bill that would bring school vouchers into existence in our state. The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) welcomes and encourages the delivery of means-tested school vouchers to Tennessee, but our reasons for supporting vouchers aren't for any of the politically charged ideas that are often cited when school vouchers are discussed.
No, we support vouchers simply because they can help low-income and working class families access quality educational options for their children that would otherwise be out of reach for them.
The side that typically opposes school vouchers is interested in making sure the financial stability of public school systems remain in tact. The opposition is also well known for its willingness to fight to prevent parents from utilizing vouchers as a way for their children to leave failing schools. And while some may find their arguments valid, BAEO rests with our message that all families need access to high-quality options despite their income-level and geographic location. Access can come in form of a voucher, tax credit, charter school, or even in a traditional public school.
Do you know about Elizabeth Keckley? Maggie Lena Walker, Sarann Knight Preddy, Gertrude Pocte Geddes-Willis, Trish Millines Dziko, Addie L Wyatt or Marie-Therese Metoyer?
What about Ernesta Procope, Dr. Sadie Alexander, Or Dr. Phyllis Wallace? What about Bettiann Gardner, Lillian Lambert, or Emma Chappell? What about Ellen Holly, Mary Alice, or Edmonia Lewis?
If we knew anything about these women, it might cause all of us, African-American men and women, to walk a bit more lightly, hold our heads a bit higher.
This past week I had the opportunity to spend time with just over 100 women leaders who were part of BET's Leading Women Defined. These leaders are changing the perceptions about the potential of women to preside over companies, households and break barriers.
Part of the experience was being in the room while Robin Roberts interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama. Robin Roberts, one of the first women sportscasters on ESPN, is herself the epitome of strength that is so often seen in women. She broke barriers in sportscasting that ultimately opened doors for other women who are now commonly fixtures in sports reporting. But, more recently, her fight against breast cancer led people to see the true warrior that she was as she exposed her fight to the world.
It's that story of strength that is interwoven anytime you hear about women who are at the helm of a corporation, household, church, or plainly, at the top of their game. As Beyoncé said, women are able to bear the children then write a check for millions. We are leaning in, working, mothering, serving and often doing it at the same time. It would be easy to think that women, as strong as we are have reached the pinnacle of our success. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to do. Simply put, this is a man's world and to this day, women are blocked from achieving true equality with their male counterparts.
By all accounts, Ben Carson wowed them at the CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, this past weekend in Washington.
The retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon rallied the troops with a fiery speech and he came in third place in the CPAC straw poll behind Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (R- Texas), a strong showing.
Might Dr. Carson be the conservative movement's political reincarnation of Herman Cain? It certainly looks that way.
Dear Lucy: I have been ill for some time. I read your articles and you have said that the most important part of healing is forgiveness. I have tried to forgive those who have hurt me so much but I cannot forget what they did to me. My pastor says that when we forgive it is not complete until we forget. How do you forget?
– Still Sick
Dear Still Sick: Most of us have been told that forgetting and forgiving go hand in hand. I don't agree. Memories always live in us at some level, conscious or unconscious. There are many things I thought I had forgotten only to have them pop up one day under unexpected provocation.
It is not that we forgive and miraculously forget the slight or the hurt. What we must do is forgive and also let go of the sting, resentment, vengefulness and anger over the memory of the hurtful event.
For me, nothing could eclipse my happiness for Lupita Nyong'o when she won her Oscar as Best Supporting Actress a few nights ago. I was not only thrilled for her but for the profound, timely and necessary message brought to the world by the movie, "12 Years a Slave." This young woman has taken Hollywood and the movie-viewing world with her extraordinary poise and humility wrapped around her awesome talent.
What may not be widely known is that just a few days before her Oscar win, Lupita received an award at the seventh annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon hosted by Essence Magazine. Her award was for Best Breakthrough Performance. On this occasion she delivered the speech below.
I concur with most who heard it that it is (sadly in 2014) a speech about beauty and self-image that every young brown, black, red or yellow girl should get to hear. It was first posted online by Time Magazine. I found a video and transcript at upworthy.com.
In all organized sports, there are clearly defined rules that must be adhered to. In all universities, there are clearly stated guidelines for admittance. In all religions, there are shared beliefs that all members must adhere to. Without these clearly defined rules of engagement (ROEs), there can be no order within groups; and without order there is nothing left but chaos.
Groups and organizations, by definition are all predicated upon certain agreed upon principles and values. These agreed upon principles and values are the raison d'etre of these entities.
You join the Boy Scouts, for example, because you are a boy and you join the Girl Scouts because you are a girl. You are a male because you are born with a penis and you are a girl because you are born with a vagina. These things used to be unquestioned statements of fact.