To Help Get the School Board Back on Track
A few months ago I called my granddaughter who was graduating from high school in North Carolina where her mother moved to after two years at Pasadena's Marshall High School. I had just read the February issue of Time magazine and wanted to share it with her. The lead article was called "REVOLUTION" and discussed what it means for the Middle East. I advised her to buy the magazine and read what was happening in Egypt and the Middle Eastern countries and how they were changing, and then think about how their movement will affect America, if at all.
I can't remember our whole conversation but I told her that this was reminiscent of the 60's in America and in Africa. In the 60's there was a revolution in America where African Americans said, in effect, that they were not going to take being treated as second class citizens any more, and they engaged in a great revolution commonly called "The Civil Rights Movement."
As the world watched African Americans throw off the mantle of second class status, the African nations saw what was happening. These countries realized that freedom was a commodity that was not given but had to be demanded. Consequently, they initiated and engaged in their own revolution to throw off the mantle of second class status in their countries. Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, one after another, realized that God did not create Blacks to be subservient as slavery taught but that words were true by men such as Frederick Douglass who said, "Those who profess to favor freedom yet depreciate agitation want the ocean without the roar of it's many waters, the crop without the tilling of the soil... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will."
Then there were the words of Dr. Martin Luther King about cashing a check that had been given to Black men marked insufficient funds, and the words of Malcolm X who, in answering the question of what a man would do to gain his freedom, answered by returning the same question on the questioner. Malcolm essentially said that whatever you would do to gain your freedom is exactly what I would do to gain my freedom. In America, we said that if Jefferson was so clear about all men being created equal, America should act accordingly. But to be able to get to cash that equality check, we needed to march, and march we did.
We marched with King, we marched with Farrakhan, and we marched a thousand other marches. Then as progress was being made, someone dropped in guns and drugs and turned us around from the path of progress. Affirmative Action programs that filled America's colleges with upwardly mobile Black youth who became teachers, doctors, lawyers and engineers and other professional and productive contributors to our country were thwarted by the haters and planners who don't sleep at night, who turned our expectations toward illiteracy and prison and away from love of learning to a love for self hatred and despair. They pumped money into our youth to promote and glorify gangsterism and thuggism.
And so now it is time to march, just as it became time for Americans who are being ripped off by Banksters, Health Insurance company hustlers, and Wall Street greed. The marchers realize that it is time to march and make their demands for justice heard.
WHY BLACK MEN? Why not? After all we are the ones at the bottom of every statistic. And aren't Black Men accused of not caring about our children, our families our communities, and our future? It's time to march to drive home the point that we do care. At a time when there are no Black men on the Pasadena Unified School District Board, we must march to demonstrate our support for those Board members and educators who are there to support our children. We must march, remembering the words of Frederick Douglass relative to the fact that power concedes nothing without a demand.
We must demand that the schools are there to: (1) reach up to our expectations and teach our children to read, write, and reason; and, (2) they should leave school with a skill that will take care of themselves and feed their families; (3) raise expectations for our youth to raise their accomplishments. We are more than fodder for privately financed prisons. We are the people who built this nation and we can still build; (4) provide the children with electives that teach them a skill beyond being a Rapper or ball player to entertain the world. We are more than minstrels; (5) re-establish trades for those who don't choose college and also give them a choice beyond college; (6) teach them Spanish, if the world is going to favor Spanish language as the alternative language of the American masses; (7) stop social promotion because the world doesn't promote socially. It discriminates in favor of those who have skills and merit promotion.
One important thing to remember as we go through the exercise of educating is, what the primary purpose of education is. I agree with UCLA education professor Mike Rose who says in his book, Why School, "the primary purpose of education is to secure a place in the economy, and with that in mind, when we have an education, we have succeeded."
My three sons graduated from Pasadena schools. All attended college. They had options. They had a choice to graduate or pursue a skill and ended up as entrepreneurs, public servants, teachers, an entertainer and businessmen. With the help of their fathers, my grandchildren have the same opportunity. My granddaughter now attends college. We had higher expectations as parents of our children, and we had high expectations of those who taught our children.
For the march to the PUSD Board meeting on November 8th, I am pleased to hear that some who are not Black Men are planning to join us. And for those who believe this is some sort of racism in calling on Black men to march, they must fear us lifting our voices for the benefit of our children. And to those who are standing in the way of progress, you are not needed. You are not important, no matter your color or ethnicity. Finally, to those who have gone so far as to call The Journal anti - anything, read The Journal for yourself and learn to do as the Bible says, "study for yourself." Don't be abused by demagogues who tell you how to think.
See you at the march!