Category: Your Voice Written by Princess Hayes
This isn’t new to us anymore. Oklahoma City, New York, Boston and maybe West Texas, and Mobile, Alabama are all places where terrorists have struck right here on our own soil. And let’s not forget the poison-laced letter sent to the White House, and even though no one has officially confirmed it, the grounding of American Airlines flights for a day.That’s how terrorism is….the acts are horrible and the worry of what they might have been and the fear of what’s coming next is just as bad.
But one thing that comes to mind is how acts like the one in Boston really proves there are two Americas. There’s the part that includes me and a lot of you, the part that lives so far away from violence and police activity that there is shock and amazement at the very idea that a city could be held captive. Then there’s the other part in almost every predominantly Black city in America where living like this has become the new normal. Not to downplay the marathon bombing or its victims in any way. But that one day of terror should make people think about the way so many people of color live every day.
The kind of America that a lot of people fear is on the way — helicopters hovering overhead, curfews, metal detectors and armed security in schools, bars on the windows of homes is already here in parts of Los Angeles, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and and the list goes on. Now that the Americans who were shocked at the possibility of being shot in their neighborhoods have gotten a taste of how many people of color live, will anything change? Probably not.
The celebration of the capture of the bomber and the great job done by law enforcement closed that chapter, until the next time. Meanwhile, drive-by shootings, armed robberies, and police corruption all keep happening in community after community, and the other America is just relieved it’s all happening on the other side of town.
Exactly one week after the marathon bombers struck in Boston, just blocks away from the president’s Chicago residence, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in a backyard. The mother of Cornelius German said she was waiting to pick him up on Monday night on a nearby street corner but he never arrived. Then she saw a lot of police cars race by. “I saw a police officer. He said a little kid got shot. Somehow, I knew it was my baby. I went back there. I saw my baby on the ground in the grass. I saw his gym shoes and his jacket.” Unimaginable for most, normal for too many.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 15:10
Category: Your Voice Written by Princess Hayes
Earlier this year the Center For Michigan published a compendium of articles and reports titled “Michigan’s Forgotten 4-Year-Olds.” This publication highlighted the major benefits of early childhood education, while also noting that there are significant numbers of children in the state that do not have access to the education that would put them on the road to success. The inability for young children to begin their education at the time when they are most inquisitive and open to learning is especially problematic in low-income families.
With the recent publication of the Detroit Public Schools Strategic Plan, it is heartening to see a goal of universal access to educational opportunities for every 4-year-old in the city. The full implementation of this goal will make a major impact on the youngsters, their families, and the schools as the children matriculate through later grades.
For the past three years DPS has had the benefit of being a recipient of Grow Up Great funding from PNC Bank Foundation. The foundation has served as the fiduciary of these funds, and has worked collaboratively with the Office of Early Childhood Education and other partners, to provide teacher professional development, arts and science instruction, and field trips to a variety of venues throughout the region. Cranbrook Institute of Science, Detroit Parent Network and Music Hall have all played an important role in ensuring that 14 pre-K classrooms in DPS are able to provide cutting edge education for more than 200 children.
As the district works to achieve its strategic goals, it will be essential for similar partnerships to emerge in every 4-year-old classroom. Everyone in the community has a stake in the education of our youngest learners. The Strategic Plan is forward looking and ambitious. It is an opportunity for everyone to get involved. It offers a framework for the DPS Foundation, and other concerned agencies to target our efforts in line with the needs and direction of teachers and school leaders.
Please visit www.detroitpsfoundation.org to make a gift, or www.detroitk-12.org to view the full strategic plan.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 14:59
Category: Your Voice Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
Apr. 4 marks the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As we recall one of the darkest days in history, we cannot help but marvel at the light his work ushered in to bring about change.
The past year has been one of many moments that would make Dr. King proud. From the second inauguration of America's first black president, Barack Obama to the established D.C. monument commemorating the legacy of fellow civil rights titan Rosa Parks. These recent occurrences would surely put a smile on the fallen leader's face.
Yet-and-still, our country continues to face its struggles. No society is perfect, and we've come along way but have a distance to go. If you turn on the television, you're sure to be reminded of everyday events that threaten the core values MLK sought to ensure for all. Crime, poverty and despair continue to threaten the livelihood of our citizenry. Minorities are still disproportionately affected by such grievances. Justice and equality remain front and center as issues of grave importance. New groups have emerged since the days of Dr. King that vow to retain the same rights once most critical to the 1960's struggle.
What would Dr. King say about our level of activism given society's current condition? Would he believe we've truly reached the "promise land" he envisioned?
These questions may never be accurately answered. Yet, my hope is that they at least, inspire you as a reader. How are you creating a legacy that mirrors that of Dr. King? What do you stand for? Are you satisfied with the current state of things, or do you seek change? How will you be the change that you want to see in the world?
As we commemorate MLK, we focus not on how he died but rather the way he lived. His tireless work and dedication is a part of history that's deeply ingrained in the minds of several generations. We've become well acquainted with Dr. King's legacy. The question is, what will be yours?
Follow Britney Spear on Twitter @MissBritneySp
Last Updated on Sunday, 07 April 2013 21:12
Category: Your Voice Written by Eddie Connor
So the song goes, “If you liked it, then you should’ve put a ring on it.” The “Single Ladies” anthem seems to be more than just a pop culture catch phrase, echoing melodiously from Beyoncé Knowles. Now if you’ve seen the video you would be distracted by the calisthenics and gyrations, yet there is a message amidst the madness. If I asked the single ladies across America to raise their hands, 51% of the women would acknowledge their unmarried status. There was a popular saying in the 1990s, “You go, girl!” which was used as a term of endearment and encouragement. These days the saying can be arguably rephrased to, “You go girl...and get married.” A recent Yale study indicates that fewer women are walking down the aisle, as 23 percent of white women and 42 percent of African- American women have yet to be married. The wise saying in Proverbs 18:22 declares, “He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the Lord”. So, are men not looking or are they not finding? According to Time Magazine’s November 2010 issue “Who Needs Marriage?” in the year of 1960, nearly 70% of American adults were married; now only about half are. Back then, two-thirds of 20-somethings were married; in 2008 just 26% were. Is marriage becoming obsolete? Well, according to the Pew Research Center Survey, 4 in 10 say, “Yes.” It is no secret that approximately 60% of marriages end in divorce. The troubled state of our unions indicate that marriage is becoming less popular in America. Why are 60% of marriages ending in divorce? For a myriad of reasons as we have heard on talk shows like Dr. Phil, Oprah, and a host of other programs. Did Tyler Perry get the question correct in his 2007 film asking, “Why Did I Get Married?” The question now days is not “Why Did I Get Married?", but America is asking why would I get married? As 60% of marriages end in divorce, 40% of the people feel there is no need for marriage. Our country is at a crossroads. What has brought our nation to this point? Is the institution of marriage under attack and in the crosshairs within our country? If we turn the hands of time back 50 years, it’s amazing to see how popular culture mirrors society. We have transitioned from the wholesome households of The Cleavers (“Leave it to Beaver”) to “The Brady Bunch”, and “The Cosby’s”. Now we're in a false sense of Reality TV age, with a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” style of living and marriage. Going back 50 years some women had a degree in domestic engineering. Now it’s the norm for women to specialize in fatherless home child rearing, in which Mothers are told “Happy Father's Day Mom” from 80% of black children, who grow up in single parent homes.
homes. The battle for the family is under attack. American culture shows the rapid transition in the familial landscape, as we have moved from “Family Ties” to “Divorce Court”. The Bible affirms in Mark 10:9, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Yet we’re putting our own marriages asunder. So many have “jumped over the broom” and used that same broom to sweep their issues under the rug. The woes of marriage is not excluded from our house, the White House, and even the church house. Can I get a witness? They met at church and began dating, you know how it goes. She dated thinking he was her Boaz, they got married and she discovered he was a bozo. He thought she was the Biblical version of Ruth, but found out that she wasn’t telling the truth. She had curves like the letter "S" but she was really a snake. He looked like Morris Chestnut, but he was a nut. Yes, we have heard countless stories. How does your church deal with marital issues? Something is wrong if we just continue to build churches and stand on the sidelines, while marriages are marred and families fall apart. It’s one thing to build, buildings but it’s another thing to build people. Our society has gone from "Married with Children" to shacking up with children. The soap opera baby-daddy and baby-mama drama, continues to cripple our communities. For the record, “wifey” and wife are two separate things. Yet in still, cohabitation is on the rise and since 1960, there are 8 times as many out of wedlock births. How do you introduce the relevance of marriage to an "I'm doing me" generation? How can you build a long-lasting marriage in an instant gratification society? People aren’t waiting 7 years to scratch their itch any longer. If you desire to be married, what is your motive? Is it love, money, loneliness, sense of obligation, sex, control, age, etc? A number of women flaunt their body, while many men parade their money. After the rendezvous is over she cries, “he only wanted me for my body” and he says, “she only wanted my money.” Well, that’s all they showcased. Now when it’s time for marriage he shouts, “we want prenup, we want prenup”. Read me clearly, I'm not saying she's a gold digger, but she ain't messing with no...I think you get my point. Where is our value? What are our values? If you're exchanging your self-worth and character in hopes of carats, you will face the spectrum of disappointment. If you have to give an ultimatum, bribe, or convince someone to marry you, then you will have to do all of that to keep them from straying or leaving you. In the societal 18-35 age demographic, is the spectrum of marriage only relegated to a woman being the envy of her girlfriends or splashing her engagement ring on a Facebook profile? Do we only marry for the wedding? There are some weeds that grow after the wedding is all over and if the garden of marriage is not pruned, then it won’t last. In marriage, the husband must be the house band and a wife should offset strife. I know they say, “behind every good man is a good woman”, yet a wife may be better suited beside you than behind you. Marriage is a merger and if you partner with the wrong person, the ramifications can be taxing. We must think critically and evaluate ourselves. Marriage is not some type of taste test or product with a money back guarantee. In the marriage liturgy, “Till Death Do Us Part” does not mean until things fall apart. We must be sincere, sure, and committed to be true before we ever say the words, “I Do.” - Eddie Connor
Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 09:30
Category: Your Voice Written by Jesse Jackson
Imagine Gov. George Wallace of Alabama in 1963 appointing an emergency manager in Birmingham with broad powers to dismiss elected officials, renegotiate contracts, sell assets and become sole authority of the city’s pension funds a month after the voters rejected the emergency manager law in a statewide referendum? What would Dr. King have written from his Birmingham jail cell?
Emergencies can force people to come together. They can also be used by the powerful to impose policies that would otherwise be rejected. Author Naomi Klein called this the “shock doctrine,” using a crisis to overcome democratic resistance.
The state of Michigan is in crisis. The Great Recession added to the collapse of the auto industry. Wrong-headed trade policies hollowed out a proud manufacturing center. When the recession hit, revenues sank, costs rose. Conservatives took over the state government and cut funds to cities in revenue sharing. Detroit, Flint and other cities hit the wall financially.
Conservative Republicans passed a harsh emergency manager (EM) law that empowered the governor to appoint virtually a czar with powers to strip elected officials of their powers and their salaries, break contracts, sell off assets and act as a virtual dictator. Benton Harbor, Allen Park, Ecorse and Flint were placed under emergency managers.
Last November, Michigan voters struck down the EM law in a statewide referendum. A stunning 82 percent of Detroit voters rejected it. But the lame-duck Republican state Legislature scorned the majority and enacted a new EM law the following month.
And now conservative Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed his czar to take over Detroit beginning this week. Almost one half of African Americans in Michigan are governed by these czars, effectively having their democratic rights stripped away.
Financial crises force gruesome choices. Work forces have to be reduced; services cut back. Pension and health-care promises come under review. These difficult choices — and the shared sacrifices needed — make democratic representation most important. Elected leaders must seek to gain public support for harsh choices. And the public can hold them accountable if the choices seem unfair or unwise.
Trampling democracy and installing an outside emergency manager opens the way not for tough, accountable choices, but for plunder. Assets are sold off at fire sale prices. Creditors are made whole, while unions are busted and contracts broken. Appointing an emergency manager will not only, as state Sen. Coleman Young Jr. concluded, “destroy democracy in Detroit,” it will expose people to predatory choices.
In Pontiac, crisis management has yielded the sale of the Silverdome for $583,000 — although it cost nearly $56 million to build. In Benton Harbor, an emergency manager sold city-owned, lakefront property to a development company for a prestigious golf course that the majority of residents cannot afford to play.
Much of this crisis is not of Detroit’s making. Detroit didn’t hollow out the auto industry. Detroit didn’t blow up the housing bubble and sink the economy. Yes, the citizens of Detroit will face even harder times, but they don’t need an unelected czar to sell off the city and break its unions. They need a plan to rebuild Detroit.
When Wall Street’s excesses blew up the economy, Washington devoted trillions to bail out the big banks and ensure that the financial system would not collapse. Now we need a plan for urban reconstruction, one that will provide hope to cities that are acting responsibly. We need a plan to rebuild Detroit, not a czar to sell off its assets in a fire sale to private interests.
Keep up with Rev. Jackson and the work of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition at www.rainbowpush.org.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 09:50
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit Begins A New Chapter as Detroit Bankruptcy is Allowed to Proceed (1)
- Joyce Hayes Giles retires after 35 years with DTE (2)
- Sarah Palin accuses Obama of Libya ‘shuck and jive’ (1)
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)