black-boys

Boys II Men: Illinois’ Central High School Black Males create video “Suit & Tie in the 217″

Boys II Men: Illinois’ Central High School Black Males create video “Suit & Tie in the 217″

Boys II Men

A Counter-Narrative on Black Male Students: At Central High School’s Black History Month Celebration, the Central and Centennial High School African-American Clubs released a joint video countering the negative images of young African-American males in the media. The students affirmed the following in a video highlighting the successes of young black males within the District:
• We are not gangsters and thugs.
• We are employees and volunteers.
• We are scholars.
• We are athletes.
“The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools,” said Central School Social Worker and African-American Club Sponsors Tiffany Gholson and Barbara Cook, who worked with the students on this effort. “In this video, our students reclaim the narrative of who they are and inspire other students to follow in their footsteps.” In our assembly, we addressed the State of the Youth and highlighted what Black students have overcome from a historical perspective. The assembly also highlighted how overcoming those obstacles has helped make America stronger and urged students of all backgrounds to carry the torch for future generations.
*Video Production by Sam Ambler of Ambler Video
amblersam.wordpress.com
ambler.sam@gmail.com
*Champaign Central High School & Centennial High School African-American Clubs
*Inspired by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha–Tau Chapter
*Music “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake

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His Story: Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man: A Review

His Story: Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man: A Review

Book Of The Week

raise-him-upIn Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man (2013), Stephanie Perry Moore offers the reader some personal insights about the struggles single black women face rearing successful black boys who develop into men.  Extensive research has empirically proven that black male students academically lag behind all of their peers throughout every level of education.  The narratives of single black women who rear black boys receive limited focus in the professional literature.  This book, therefore, provides a needed account of the challenges and problems encountered by single black women rearing black boys, especially their efforts to rear successful black boys who evolve into successful black men.  Moore contends that using spiritual instruction and guidance available in the bible is essential to producing successful black boys and men.  The author relies heavily on the Book of Acts to support her suggestions and arguments.  She gives the reader prayers they can use in their work with their black male child.  One chapter is devoted to rearing a successful black male student-athlete.

While the book offers important practical challenges and problems encountered by single black mothers rearing black boys, Moore made a poor strategic choice of employing the Book of Acts as her primary source for biblical support for the things she suggested and asserted.  The biblical support is simply forced throughout the work.  The chapter on rearing a successful black male student-athlete appears tacked on and lacks adequate coverage.  The chapter on rearing a successful black male student-athlete would have been better as a separate, standalone project.

Overall, the book leaves much more to be desired.  This book is a classic case of a good idea not executed well.  During the review process of this book, someone should have made a compelling case to Moore to buttress her biblical support for her arguments and advice by choosing more relevant scriptures to enhance her arguments and advice.  Although there are some nice qualities about the book, I cannot highly recommend the book because of its many failures.

BookLook Bloggers gave me a complimentary copy of the book to compose a professional review of it.

About the Author: Antonio Maurice Daniels is a Ph.D. student and Research Associate in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dominant research interests are the academic achievement of Black male students throughout the educational pipeline, especially Black male college student-athletes, and ecological sustainability in higher and postsecondary education. This is a cultural commentary blog offering frequently published pieces on many diverse topics, including education, sports, literature, film, music, black culture, popular culture, self-help, and etc. He has published widely in academic publications and popular online publications, including Soul Train,Mused MagazineHealthy Black Men MagazineThe Black Man CanThe ExaminerFor The Masses and Up 4 Discussion.

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Positive Black Male News: 17-YEAR-OLD AKINTUNDE AHMAD DEFIES ODDS AND DETRACTORS WITH 5.0 GPA, 2100 SAT SCORE AND IVY LEAGUES KNOCKING

Positive Black Male News: 17-YEAR-OLD AKINTUNDE AHMAD DEFIES ODDS AND DETRACTORS WITH 5.0 GPA, 2100 SAT SCORE AND IVY LEAGUES KNOCKING

Boys II Men

By: Chip Johnson

When Akintunde Ahmad walked into the library at Oakland Technical High School to talk to Yale University recruiters making their annual East Bay stop in January, some of the other student hopefuls turned and stared.

With dreadlocks draping his shoulders, and his 6-foot-1 frame in the sweatpants and T-shirt he had thrown on after baseball practice, it sure may have seemed like this guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But ‘Tunde, as he is called by friends and family, was right where he was supposed to be.

The 17-year-old Oak Tech senior received an acceptance letter from Yale last week to prove it. He also has offers from Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Howard, Chapman, Cal Poly and Cal State East Bay, and has been waitlisted by UC Berkeley and Georgetown.

“People looking at me funny is so common that it doesn’t stick out for me anymore,” says Akintunde, who has a 5.0 GPA and scored 2100 (out of 2400) on the SAT. “It’s something that I’ve gotten used to.”

Young and strong, athletic and African American, ‘Tunde describes himself like “any other street dude on 98th Avenue,” the neighborhood where he grew up and lives. Perhaps that’s why he has often been overlooked and underestimated – and left alone to quietly go about his business.

“I’ll leave this school and there will be teachers who never knew I was one of the people on the honor roll,” he said.

He’s met private-school students who’ve suggested that his achievements are the result of easy classes and a low bar for academics at public schools. He doesn’t need to defend his GPA, or his appearance on the honor roll for every semester that he’s been in high school. Instead he prefers comparing SAT and AP scores, and that usually shuts them up.

‘No private tutors’

“Oakland public schools all the way through,” he says, jokingly pounding a fist to his breast. “No private tutors or private schools. This is strictly OUSD.”

He’s one of six children raised by his parents, Zarina and Mubarak Ahmad, who are, dare I say it, a stereotypical American family. ‘Tunde’s mother, Zarina, is an educator who began her career as an Oakland schoolteacher. She is now the principal at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School. His father, Mubarak, has worked as a mechanic at AC Transitfor 20 years.

The family practices the Rastafari religion – and it’s why ‘Tunde wears dreads. He’s never had a haircut in his life, Mubarak Ahmad said. The family has worked hard to raise all their children right, instill in them good values and encourage them to steer clear of trouble.

Like many responsible parents, they are willing to work for however long it takes, sacrifice everything, to ensure their kids can enjoy a better life than they have.

With ‘Tunde, encouragement wasn’t necessary, because he did things without being asked, on his own initiative – a trait he has always had.

“I’ve never tried to cross any boundaries or anything like that,” ‘Tunde said. “I’m just good at following directions, and no good ever comes from challenging a Parental Unit.”

Despite their best efforts, ‘Tunde’s parents were not able to steer their older son, Azeem, away from the dangers awaiting a young African American man on the streets of Oakland.

Father’s advice

“I’ve always told my boys that it’s very easy to get into trouble, but very hard to get out of it,” Mubarak Ahmad said.

Mubarak Ahmad worried about Azeem. And silently, so did ‘Tunde.

Mubarak warned Azeem that a person he was hanging out with would one day get him caught up in trouble, and sadly, he was right.

In 2012, Azeem was caught carrying guns to be used in an Oakland stash house robbery that turned out to be a federal sting operation. He was convicted on conspiracy charges and shipped off to a federal prison in March 2013, sentenced to 41 months.

“We got the same mother, the same father, just a different path,” ‘Tunde said. “I feel like it’s a setback for him, but sometimes it takes that kind of shock to grab your attention.”

‘Tunde’s got an old man’s brain working in a young man’s body, and while he may sound bookish, he’s anything but one-dimensional.

He’s a student-athlete who played basketball for three years – until deciding to focus solely on baseball this year. He was the MVP of the Oakland Athletic League baseball in 2013, hitting around .500 with 15 or so stolen bases. He expects to play baseball where ever he goes to college next fall.

He’s a member of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, and plays trumpet, French horn and the djembe – a West African drum.

628x471His work ethic is as much a part of him as an extremity, and his commitment to his time-management regimen may have saved his life.

In January 2013, two months before his brother was incarcerated, ‘Tunde declined an invitation from Azeem to hang out at a friend’s house because he had an essay due for school. At that house, five people were shot, including his brother, who suffered two gunshot wounds.

“There’s plenty of people I know who have been killed,” he said. “I could write a list starting in elementary school of all the people we grew up with who have been killed.”

“I could have easily been caught up in that life. You don’t have to be a bad person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Fortunately, ‘Tunde has so far shown impeccable timing, both on the baseball field and in the classroom.

Besides playing some baseball, he plans to go into pre-med or pre-law.

“That’s what I’m thinking, but I’m still undecided,” he said.

Chip Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. His columns run Tuesday and Friday. E-mail: chjohnson@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @chjohnson

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Positive Black Male News: Long Island Teen Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools

Positive Black Male News: Long Island Teen Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools

Boys II Men

teen-8-ivysA Long Island high school senior who is the first-generation son of immigrants accomplished a feat few other students have even attempted — getting accepted to all eight Ivy League schools.

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania all sent acceptance letters to 17-year-old Kwasi Enin’s home in Shirley.

“The yesses kept coming,” Enin, a William Floyd High School student who wants to be a physician, told Newsday. He said he couldn’t believe it.

Neither could Nancy Winkler, a guidance counselor at Enin’s school.

“It’s a big deal when we have students apply to one or two Ivies,” Winkler told USA Today. “To get into one or two is huge. This is extraordinary.”

Few students even apply to all eight ultra-selective universities, college counselors told USA Today, because each school looks for different qualities in their freshman classes. Each college accepts fewer than 15 percent of applicants.

Enin, a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Ghana, scored 2,250 out of 2,400 on the SAT, according to USA Today. That places him in the 99th percentile for all students taking the exam.

Enin told USA Today he got the idea to apply to all eight Ivy League schools in 10th or 11th grade and said each of them had qualities he liked. He also was accepted at Duke and three State University of New York campuses.

He says he hasn’t made a decision on which school to attend, but says his preference is Yale.

Source: Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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His Story: The Definition of a Black Man (Spoken Word)

His Story: The Definition of a Black Man (Spoken Word)

His Story

Despite all of the recent controversies and all of the images circulating through the media portraying the black man as a threat to society, this video was composed to shine light on the aspects a black man the media fails to shine light on. The true Definition of a Black Man is not the images conveyed in today’s music videos. It’s not the images we see plastered on T.V. screens that fills the world’s eyes with negativity. It is time for the world to experience what the Definition of a Black Man really is. It’s time to shine the light on the image that was fought for. In the past if you were black, you did not have a voice. You were not recognized as a man. If you were black, you could not drink from the same fountain, sit in the same seats, you were considered less than human and not worthy of the lifestyle offered to others in society. Today that image still lives on in the mind of those not willing to see the Black Man for what he really is, A MAN… with dreams, goals, ambition and the heart of gold. This video was created to not only shine light on a new image in the media, but to redefine the TRUE Definition of a Black Man.

Poem written by: Ryan Carson (twitter: @sebastiancarson)
Filmed/Edited by: Andrew Brown (twitter: @Drewski5000)
Thug Black Man: Tilmon Keaton (twitter: @tilmonkeaton)
White Man: Gil Costello
Cinematography/Colorist: Jairus Burks (twitter: @dopbatman0078)
Lighting: Davion Baxter
Audio: Ryan Rehnborg

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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Raymond Roy-Pace

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Raymond Roy-Pace

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

The pressures of life will attempt to challenge the existence of your being, define yourself to withstand the pressure. ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

The pressures of life will attempt to challenge the existence of your being, define yourself to withstand the pressure. ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan has made its way to Philadelphia, PA to bring you another Black Man making positive and remarkable contributions in the city of brotherly love. We proudly present educator and servant leader Raymond Roy-Pace Founder and Executive Director of BeU365. Raymond sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss being a scholar-athlete, lifting as you climb, pursuing advanced degrees and advice for young men of today.

TheBlackManCan: Raymond, can you share a little about your childhood and how it shaped you into the man you are today?

RP: I grew up in an impoverished urban community in Philadelphia, PA. I spent time living with my mother and grandmother as a child.  My neighborhood was plagued with the same issues of drugs, violence and lack of resources that most urban communities are faced with. Firsthand experience with some of these issues in my own home weaved a tough skin and an unrelenting will to become better than the world I was so familiar with. I would not be the man I am today without the unwavering support I received from my grandmother and my other family members.  My uncles each stepped in at pivotal times in my development not only to help usher me in to manhood but to broaden my horizons and expose me to a world unlike my own.

TheBlackManCan: You are the perfect example of what it means to be a scholar-athlete. How do we get more young men to realize what it means and the importance of being a scholar–athlete?

RP: To get students to understand what it means to be a scholar athlete we need to give them some of those who exemplify those qualities.  Myron Rolle was a Rhodes Scholar and aspiring neurosurgeon. He spent time in the NFL but eventually choose to practice medicine.  Maurice Bennett was a 4 year Academic and Football All American that passed over the NFL because he would become more profitable working on Wall Street.  I provided these examples because these men created options for themselves.  I am an academic and scholar athlete sidelined after a subdural hematoma (bleeding in the head).  I was successful in the completion of two degrees, successful in developing my own youth development program and while also educating others in the classroom.  1 million children playing football, approximately 250 of them will make a NFL team each year. In other sports these numbers may vary but not too far off.  The world of athletics has its own fan club.  The same way we glorify the kid who made the buzzer beater shot in a game, we have to do the same with every positive note a teacher’s sends home and every A or B on a report card so our kids can began to see value in hard work and excelling in the classroom.

TheBlackManCan: You spent time as a case manager focusing on truancy. Can you tell is the three major issues behind truancy and what steps need to be taken to overcome them?

RP: The most consistent issues I saw facing students involved in truancy where the low expectations for students either imposed in them by the family or school.  For some of the families it was hard to see value in education if they did not have it. Poor coping skills within the families in dealing with life’s issues and the lack of positive role models were also a contributing factor.  So many students are experiencing “life” but they do not have the support system within the homes or schools to keep them encouraged.  It is hard to open up to people when they do not feel they understand them.

Your education does not stop when the school bell rings, keep a book handy and unlock the mysteries of life.  ~Raymond Roy-Pace

Your education does not stop when the school bell rings, keep a book handy and unlock the mysteries of life. ~Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan: How important is it to lift as you climb? How has this ideology helped you in life?

RP: I have been fortunate in my life to have incredible mentors take chances on me when I had nothing to offer but a will to work.  It would be robbery if I did not do the same for others.  We are more successful when we employ others to exercise their gifts because they then become resources.

TheBlackManCan: As a 5th grade teacher can you share with us what parents should be doing in the home to make sure their child arrives on grade level?

RP: Research indicates one of the number one indicators of student academic success is their reading ability.  It is important for families to establish a reading schedule within their homes.  Just spending 15-30 minutes a day reading or being read to would expand students’ imaginations, open their eyes to the world around them and ultimately prepare them for school. Parents should also talk to children their children because encourages them to communicate what they feel and helps them to understand why which could ultimately have a great impact on classroom and peer behavior.

TheBlackManCan: Tell us more about BeU365. What is the meaning behind the name and the mission and vision?

RP: BeU365 is a self-developed program that aspires to inspire youth through creative education, mentorship and real world experiences.  The vision came from the idea of wanting to encourage young people to be who they truly are and not conform to the expectations of society. The three pillars of the program consist of creative education, mentorship and real world experiences, all of which are geared towards various aspects of helping to create positive and independent thinking. Creative education incorporates a project learning based curriculum designed to strengthen basic math skills but from a real life perspective and the facilitation workshops. Mentorship encompasses one-on-one mentorship, the speaker series, and mentoring curriculum.  The real world experiences that are still in development focus on getting middle school students out of the classroom and into internships to apply what they are learning.

Wherever you find yourself in life it is not by mistake.  There is a lesson to be learned in preparation for your greater.  ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

Wherever you find yourself in life it is not by mistake. There is a lesson to be learned in preparation for your greater. ~ Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan: You recently obtained a Master’s degree. What did you pursue it and why is it important to show young people that they should pursue more than just a bachelor’s degree?

RP: Yes! Ma’ma I made it! (laughs)  I completed my Master of Arts and Teaching from Cheyney University in December 2012 after several conversations with my mentor Howard Jean about my career endeavors. He encouraged me to consider it if I planned to make a long lasting impact in the world of education.   The journey of completing my masters was invaluable because I was able to share it with my students.  Particularly in our urban communities, higher education is a mystery because they have so few examples of people that have obtained degrees.  Our world is changing and the status quo is unacceptable, that is to say if ever it was acceptable.  The jobs of old are no longer available and to be a part of the decision making process may also mean having those credentials.

TheBlackManCanWhere do you see yourself and your endeavors in the next five years?

RP: In the next five years I see myself back in education administration as a school leader.  When I resigned from running the operations of Birney Prep Academy, it was to gain the practical experience that will ultimately help me become an informed school founder.  There is a lot of politics that go into running schools and having my own school I believe I can limit some of that.

Young people are looking for someone to aspire to be and we must be the ones willing to be the example. ~Raymond Roy-Pace

Young people are looking for someone to aspire to be and we must be the ones willing to be the example. ~Raymond Roy-Pace

TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black Boys and Men to see positive images of themselves?

RP: We aspire to be what we see.  There cannot be an expectation of young black boys to gravitate towards becoming something they cannot identify with. There are very prominent youth and men of color making a positive impact in the world however it is not exactly breaking news at ten. Young people are looking for someone to aspire to be and we must be the ones willing to be the example.

TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black males of today?

RP: To my young black brothers understand that your life is purposed. You have gifts and talents that the world awaits to unwrap. Wherever you find yourself in life it is not by mistake.  There is a lesson to be learned in preparation for your greater.  Spend time talking to those that have experienced more of life than you, there you will find wisdom.  Your education does not stop when the school bell rings, keep a book handy and unlock the mysteries of life.  Know who you are and whose you are.  The pressures of life will attempt to challenge the existence of your being, define yourself to withstand the pressure.

Check out Raymond website here–> www.raymondrpace.com

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His Story | My Brothers Keeper : The Urgency of Now

His Story | My Brothers Keeper : The Urgency of Now

His Story

Last Thursday, President Obama and other leaders from the business and civil society announced My Brother’s Keeper, a new initiative that will take a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color. Living Cities is a member of the Executive Alliance of philanthropic leaders that is supporting this, and here’s why:

Fierce Urgency of Now. Martin Luther King used these words 50 years ago but they have never been more appropriate, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.” In fact, America is at a crossroads. In less than 20 years, we will be a nation whose population will be majority people of color. If we continue to educate, employ and build wealth for boys and young men of color, for example, at the same rate we’ve been doing for the last 40 years, we will have a majority population that is very different than the one we have now. It will be less educated (whites have 40-50% more post-high school degrees than Blacks and Latinos), less wealthy (the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of African-American households and 18 times that of Hispanic households.) and even less free (the African-American prison population is the highest of any demographic – 38 percent of state and federal inmates or more than 3 times the total number of people incarcerated in 1963 — despite the fact that African-Americans only make up 14 percent of the US population).These statistics are not worthy of the leader of the free world; and this is not the country we want. Without an urgency of now to tackle the broken systems that almost everyone agrees are not achieving the results we want, we won’t see progress in 20 years at the rates required to secure the future.

Perfect Messenger. Whatever you think of the President’s performance or politics, he is the perfect messenger for this work. He speaks eloquently and authentically of his experiences growing up as a young person of color in this country and the day to day challenges he faced in doing so at home, in the classroom, even on the street:

“I didn’t have a dad in the house…and I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”

When done right, the White House bully pulpit is incredibly effective in raising awareness and moving a national consciousness. Think about the nation’s embrace of getting a man to the moon in a decade in the 1960s or cutting obesity by 40% as the First Lady has been so effective at doing. Marrying this unique messenger with this important message is exactly what is needed to mobilize our nation with urgency.

Shrink to Fit. Because the challenge of unlocking opportunity for young boys and men of color is so great, it is not very hard for any civil society organizations, public or private, to contribute –to shrink the problem to fit their capabilities. This means taking on a piece of the problem while holding the broader vision for change. For example, Living Cities expects to bring what we have learned over the past six years, through Strive Together and The Integration Initiative, about how cross-sectoral leaders can come together in new ways to move the needle on issues such as education (Cincinnati), jobs (Baltimore), and equitable transit-oriented development (Twin Cites). We also are also looking inward, asking ourselves as an organization that is focused on fighting inequality and creating lasting systems change to improve the lives of low-income people, what should a focus on urgently changing the trajectory of boys and men of color mean to the way we function and the work we do? We are exploring how to embed a racial equity and inclusion lens across our entire portfolio in intentional and meaningful ways.

The goal is clear, but not the path. We all not only have a role in charting the course but a huge stake in its success.

- See more at: http://www.livingcities.org/blog/?id=238#sthash.nmOl9CH1.dpuf

About the Author: Mr. Hecht was appointed President & CEO of Living Cities in July, 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 22 member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low income people and the cities where they live. Living Cities deploys a unique blend of more than $140 million in grants, loans and influence to re-engineer obsolete public systems and connect low-income people and underinvested places to opportunity. – See more at: http://www.livingcities.org/staff/?id=1#sthash.xQ0EYedj.dpuf

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Positive Black Male News: NJ Teen rewarded after paying for items at store with no clerk

Positive Black Male News: NJ Teen rewarded after paying for items at store with no clerk

Campus Kings

23349958_BG1FoxNews.com – -

These football players scored a touchdown without setting foot on the field.

Four members of the William Paterson University football team in New Jersey each scored $50 gift cards after surveillance cameras captured them at a Wayne store paying for batteries and sunglasses, even though no employees were around.

Buddy’s Small Lots was actually closed Sunday night. But the lock malfunctioned and the lights were on, making it appear as though it was open.

Buddy’s management got a call from police that there had been a break-in, but upon arrival, nothing was missing from the store, News 12 New Jersey reported.

Cameras showed the men calling an audible, shouting out for a clerk. Two can be seen depositing cash on the counter, one waving bills in the direction of a camera.

“Not only did they leave money on the counter, they counted out the change,” store operations manager Marci Lederman told News 12 New Jersey.

Lederman went to the university personally to present the players with the gift cards and to thank them.

“I didn’t think it was going to blow up to be this big,” one of the players, Kell’e Gallimore, said.

His teammate, Thomas James, told the station that not everyone is a thief.

“You can’t judge people by the way they look,” he said.

The security issue at the store has since been fixed.

Source: The Associated Press  and MyFoxChicago.com contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/23349958/nj-teen-rewarded-after-paying-for-items-at-store-with-no-clerk#ixzz2tVpAHAVb
Follow us: @myfoxmemphis on Twitter | fox13news.myfoxmemphis on Facebook

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Positive Black Male News: Jahmir Wallace: What we can learn from 10-year-old, born without arms, who plays trumpet with his feet

Positive Black Male News: Jahmir Wallace: What we can learn from 10-year-old, born without arms, who plays trumpet with his feet

Positive Black Male News

jahmir-wallaceSome might think it’s amazing that 10-year-old Jahmir Wallace can already play two musical instruments at his age. What is even more exceptional is that the Green Street Elementary School student has accomplished these feats despite being born with no arms.

The young man, who also plays the guitar, decided to take on the trumpet just four months ago. He is already playing in his Phillipsburg, NJ school band.

Jahmir’s story is so inspirational, it has been picked up from outlets ranging from The Huffington Post to the Daily Mail.

Through his uncle Ryan Wallace, Jahmir told theGrio he is happy that his story is so inspirational to others, and is grateful and humbled by the attention. Jahmir was too busy doing his schoolwork to chat with theGrio on the phone during business hours, but wants people to know that he is happy that his experiences can help others muster the strength to undertake difficult tasks, no matter what their challenges may be.

A boy supported by teachers to grow

Jahmir Wallace was encouraged to learn the trumpet by his music teacher Desiree Kratzer. School administrators also worked with a local music store to create a stand empowering the youth to play the trumpet with his toes. That was all he needed.

“I kind of felt excited,” Wallace told WFMZ-TV. “I kind of felt like, oh man this is kind of comfortable, and it kind of felt like this might be the one for me.”

The young man shared words of encouragement for anyone who may be thinking about exploring an instrument.

“Anybody out there that would like to try an instrument, go ahead and try it,” Wallace said. “You never know, if you like it, you like it, if you don’t, you don’t. Keep on trying.”

What we can learn from Jahmir’s example

Jahmir Wallace’s story is a wonderful example of what can happen when families, school leadership, and teachers are able to work together harmoniously to encourage a student’s innate personality.

“Children are strongly influenced by the multiple environments in which they are placed: in the home, at school, in peer relationships,” Asha Tarry, licensed mental health specialist, told theGrio. “Therefore, it’s critical to support and nurture the emotional and social development of children in a variety of ways.”

Tarry praised the ways his parents and teachers encouraged Wallace to reach for new goals, and helped him expand his capabilities in a way that will likely build self esteem.

“In this story, this young man was born with a physical disability that left him impaired,” the owner ofBehavioral Health Consulting Services, LMSW, PLLC, elaborated. “However, his parents obviously have not allowed the impairment to narrow the focus of how he views himself in the world. The role of the adults is to foster realistic and reasonable pathways to allowing children to flourish, which this young man is doing. The way children feel about themselves begins with the way adults treat them, foremost.”

A school’s success is a model for all

By encouraging Wallace to be as independent as possible, while assisting him where needed, Green Street Elementary School properly matched Wallace’s level of growth by refusing to simplify, or eliminate, an activity that might have seemed impossible to him.

“The role of the school is to expand and compliment the parents’ earlier training of him as being an able-bodied person,” Tarry said. “Building self-esteem is continuous, and is important, in the ongoing development of the mind for all kids throughout childhood.”

At a time when public schools are often in the news for failing students — particularly young black men, who often face an achievement gap that begins early in their education — it is refreshing to see evidence of a place where all students are encouraged to thrive.

Jahmir Wallace’s confident exploration of his interests in such an environment will hopefully encourage more schools, parent and individuals to overcome their apparent limitations.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb

Source: The Grio

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His Story: Cuz he’s Black by Javon Johnson

His Story: Cuz he’s Black by Javon Johnson

His Story

BUY “cuz he’s black” and more work by Javon and other viral poets in VIRAL, an eBook anthology by Button Poetry:http://buttonpoetry.com/product/viral…

Like Javon on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/javonisms

Performing during semifinals of the 2013 National Poetry Slam for Da Poetry Lounge. DPL took second place in the tournament.

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His Story: Paying it Forward: I’m Still a Mentee but now I Mentor

His Story: Paying it Forward: I’m Still a Mentee but now I Mentor

His Story

2-R-Williams-Speaks-to-SchoolRashaun Williams didn’t realize he was being mentored until he began to see the role he played in other young people’s lives.

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Throughout my years in school, I was on the debate team, which taught me how to analyze multiple perspectives while staying neutral. Student council, which prepared me to speak for multiple voices equally. The drum squad, which showed me teams are only as strong as the weakest player, and track and field, which taught me that if the mind has the endurance to prevail, the body will only follow. However, after witnessing first-hand how poverty placed people in despair, degradation, and destitution, I felt as though the work I did in my free time made no real contribution to the world. I wanted to be a part of something greater than myself so desperately, so I took what I learned through my experiences in school and began a life of service to community. I started a volunteer community group called Phresh Philly, which promotes sustainability through social entrepreneurship and high school activism.

In 2008, while learning entrepreneurship at the Enterprise Center, I met Russell Hicks. We only really spoke to one another in passing, but the one time we did have a conversation, I learned that social entrepreneurship was my calling. Russell explained that his life was devoted to starting businesses that “do good” for the community. Although I wasn’t sure what that really meant at the time, it sounded perfect for me! After graduating the program, I didn’t see Russell again until 2011. By this time, I had given up all my extracurricular activities to focus on serving my community. Russell and I began attending town hall meetings at City Hall, where Russell knew EVERYONE in the room—and I mean everyone—but still made an effort to connect with me.

When he asked me: “What you been up too?” I proudly replied: “I am President of Phresh Philadelphia, a volunteer organization focused on community development, empowerment, and cleanups!” That moment felt great. Being able to tell Russell Hicks that I, Rashaun Williams, became a social entrepreneur like him—priceless.  He responded by saying:  “Well we need to do some work together brotha!” I went home that night, forgetting all about the town hall meeting, all I could think about was how humbled I was to have the opportunity to work with Russell Hicks. I could tell he was genuine in his statement and time proved it. From then on, Russell and I worked with community organizations and CDCs, organized clean ups in North Philadelphia and began mentoring youth throughout the city. Through his guidance and belief in me, I was given the power to empower others, and I knew this was my calling.

♦◊♦

Through a series of community empowerment events that Russell and I had planned together, I met Christopher Norris, CEO, Techbook Online Corporation, and we too began to build a solid relationship of service and commitment to community. Chris knew the city like the back of his hand, and whenever something was happening on the streets we were there. I learned more than I can put in words, but during my moments of reflection I put the lessons to practice in order to make my organization better. I shifted my focus on sporadically creating events around Philadelphia to focusing on academia, technology, business development, and environmental studies.

After spending years watching leaders, doers, directors, entrepreneurs, teachers and mentors do what they do best, it was time for me to take my service to community to the next level. I didn’t know it, but Chris was cultivating my growth as a social entrepreneur, sharpening my mind and allowing me to discover how this city operated in and out. It wasn’t long before I received a phone call from Chris, saying: “You’re applying for the BMe Challenge, and you’re gonna win!” I wasn’t sure if he was just looking to build my confidence or if he really believed I could win, but I applied and after months of working through the process, I became the youngest BMe Leader in Philly.

Chris and I eventually became business partners. We’re the Program Directors for TechKnoweldge G!™  a S.T.E.A.M powered edutainment campaign that informs the public of sustainability practices and engages schools and communities in sustainable project based learning activities. Our bond both as business partners and brothers grew as we continued to innovate, collaborate, and build on existing ideas. I had finally had a business partners who had more thoughts than me at a single time —that made business fun. Together, just like Russell and I had done in the past, we developed out-of-school time programs, mentored youth, and improved our business models together. It never occurred to me that I had surrounded myself with so many black males that were older, wiser and more accomplished than me, until my peers in school acknowledged changes in my behavior; a deep maturation that gave me an “old soul,” they said. I then began to ask myself: why so many people focused their energy on my success? Out of all the experienced, knowledgeable, and well established entrepreneurs in the world, why work with me? I was slightly confused, very humbled, but most importantly, I was afraid. My youth and inexperience could be the detrimental, and I didn’t want my weaknesses to inhibit anyone’s success. But Chris help me realize that mentorship is about seeing one’s potential, and creating an environment for which that potential can flourish.

♦◊♦

Mentors direct their mentees from point A to point B, and in between that time, mentors nurture independence so their mentees will be able and ready to go from point B to C on their own. Mentors place mirrors in front of mentees, allowing them to chisel their own imperfections; the chiseling starts when mentees are ready to grow. Mentors can’t make mentees travel down a road of success; they can only show them the way. As my mentors and I travel, synergy grows and brotherhood strengthens. I didn’t realize Russell Hicks and Chris Norris were mentoring me until I began to see how I played a role in other young people’s lives.

Now I am a mentor to many youth between the ages of 14 and 18, and I’m realizing that patience, understanding, humility, and wisdom are the foundation to effectively reaching others. I see the same passion for action in my mentees, and I understand how inertia antagonizes them to do more, give more, and be greater. I pay it forward by remembering that I was – and still am – a ball of energy without clear direction, but I’m not be alone. I am better off because these two mentors entered my life and now I am working to do the same for others. There’s potential in everyone, but sometimes only YOU can bring out one’s best self.

Happy National Mentoring Month! Celebrate by becoming a mentor today!

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m DJ Reezey® & that’s the DJ’s drop!™

2013 BMe Leader Rashuan Williams is the Founder/Executive Director of Phresh Philly and the Director of Youth & Millennial Iniaitives, Techbook Online Corporation. 

Source: TBO Inc®

Twitter: @therealTBOInc

Facebook: /therealTBOInc

©2013 All Rights Reserved.

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His Story: The Truth About Black Male Mentors

His Story: The Truth About Black Male Mentors

His Story

1-Alex-Peay-BMeBMe Leader Alex Peay sets the record straight: “Black men mentor everyday.”

It was just the other day when I received the shock of my life. I was talking with my mentor, Trabian Shorters, CEO, BMe, about National Mentoring Month and he informed me that there isn’t much data available on black male mentors. Doing what any millennial will do in today’s hyper-connected society, I pulled out my phone and googled it.

READ: New Year to Bring New Network, Narratives for Inspired Black Men

Across my phone’s screen quickly appeared headlines that I knew weren’t true: “Black Men Do Not Mentor” and “Communities in Horrid Conditions Due to Lack of Black Male Mentors,” were just some of the false narratives available for public consumption. Thinking about the countless hours my team of black male mentors put into building our peer-to-peer mentoring organization, Rising Sons, I said to myself: how can they say that when we are doing the work, everyday?

READ: Paying it Forward: I’m Still a Mentee but now I Mentor.

The more I thought about that lie, the more frustrated I became. My truth is, I spend my days helping to grow a network of inspired black men, many of whom spend their personal funds to operate mentoring programs for black boys. The public is spinning the wrong narrative; its not that black men don’t mentor, it’s that there’s a lack of support, funding and visible celebration for those that do.

 

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Growing up I was blessed to have a positive black male figure in my life. His name was Uncle Kenny; he was the ideal figure of a mentor. Uncle Kenny—or “Uncdad,” as I liked to call him—ran his own mentoring program for black boys in Queens, New York, called The Chosen Few.

It reminded me of a fraternity for boys. I remember vividly there was a choir of boys who would use their voices to empower themselves and inspire the community.  My uncle Kenny taught me how to properly knot a tie and even how to give a firm handshake. During the summer of 2006, before going into my sophomore year at college, “Uncdad” passed away.

READ: How A Young Father’s Death Made me a Mentor

By winter of 2006 I started Rising Sons; but without my “Uncdad” around—and not being on good terms with my father—I had no black men I could turn to, or so I thought. Rising Sons became the mentorship I desired. We were a discussion group of majority black and Latino male students who got together and talked about our lives and communities. Since we came from different cultures and backgrounds we learned from each other. We built a community where we could support each other personally and professionally.

READ: You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be a Mentor

I’m proud to say the tradition we created still lives on today, as we help each other scale the work that we do for the community. I, in addition to the others black male mentor I’m associated with, have sacrificed so much to do this work.  So it hurts to only see news about black men destroying our communities. It hurts so bad to get rejected for funding when you KNOW your program is good enough. It hurts when you have to spend your last couple of dollars to make sure your mentee gets home or eats, but we do it.

We can choose to waste our time complaining about those black men who don’t mentor or serve the community, or we can step up and support the ones that do. We all identify with the large brand name mentoring organizations, but a number of them don’t engage black men. In closing, I would like to thank BMe (Black Male Engagement) for saying yes to me when everyone else said no. A BMe Community Impact Grant  was the first real funding Rising Sons ever received and it gave us the encouragement to believe that anything is possible.  BMe views black men the way societies should see black men: as assets to the community. As a BMe Leader and one of more than 3,000 inspired black men from across the country, I support black male mentors and I hope that all of you will, too.

Happy National Mentoring Month! Celebrate by becoming a mentor today!

2012 BMe Leader Alex Peay is the Founder of Rising Sons and an inaugural member of the Philly Roots Fellows.

**Editors note: Christopher “Flood The Drummer” Norris has curated all of these stories from the mentors in his community for a special a series on mentoring. after the series is complete all of the essays will be made into a book by TechbookOnline.

Alex Peay

 

About the Author: A Philly Drummer playing a Global Beat, Christopher A. Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer endorsed by TRX Cymbals. An American businessman, Norris currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Techbook Online Corporation, overseeing a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.

Source: TBO Inc®

Twitter: @therealTBOInc

Facebook: /therealTBOInc

©2014 All Rights Reserved.

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His Story: Black Male Mentors Share, Inspire, Empower

His Story: Black Male Mentors Share, Inspire, Empower

His Story

At an event showcasing recipients of the Philly Roots Fellowship, a program supported by the Open Society Foundations that equips mentors with the tools they need to help young African-American men succeed, five powerful black male mentors sat center stage.

But it was 19-year-old Rashaun Williams who moderated the conversation among more than 60 black boys. They talked about being on the giving and receiving ends of mentoring and the importance of knowledge transfer between generations to ignite “phresh perspectives.”

The event, which celebrated National Mentoring Month, was co-organized by Techbook Online, a millennial-led news organization headquartered in Philadelphia designed to make the world aware of untold stories, and Sankofa Freedom Academy, a charter high school in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

The group of teenagers hung onto Williams’s every word. They were enjoying themselves, and the positive energy in the room allowed for an open discussion.

When Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philadelphia, revealed he was still a teenager himself, the young men reacted with “Yoooo, he a young bull, that’s wassup,” and “Nineteen? I didn’t know you could do stuff like this at nineteen, wow.” BMe is a network of black men committed to making all communities stronger. It is backed by a partnership of foundations including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Heinz Endowment.

Williams, who is also a popular DJ, told the young men that he did not realize he was being mentored until he saw the impact he was having on other young people’s lives.  “An idol is someone you look up to; a mentor is someone who looks back,” he said.

Williams then asked the boys, “What is manhood?” and “What is black manhood?”

One after another of the students popped up and gave their definitions.

“Manhood is when you do things for people but you think of others instead of yourself,” said one student.

“Black manhood is working together—having a collective responsibility,” answered another.

One student said, “Black manhood is defying the odds of what people expect you to do.”

“I think manhood is a state of mind of maturity,” said another. “I think with manhood you have to be willing to sacrifice and have priorities. Everything you do should have a purpose, because your actions don’t just affect you but everyone around you.”

Williams asked, “How does society view black manhood?”

A young man wearing a black hoodie stood up and said, “Across the world, we are portrayed as violent, disrespectful to our women, and that we don’t take care of our children. But we know that’s not true. Society is real biased, and it’s harsh on us.”

We have it within our power as a society to topple barriers to equal opportunity for everyone, including African-American men and boys, who often face steep obstacles and inaccurate depictions in the media, which can affect self-perceptions and lead to diminished self-esteem.

Despite the word on the street, African-American men and boys are not problems that need to be solved—they’re assets. Every day they’re working to build strong communities.

About the Author: A Philly Drummer playing a Global Beat, Christopher A. Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer endorsed by TRX Cymbals. An American businessman, Norris currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Techbook Online Corporation, overseeing a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.

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His Story: Things Black Men and Boys Say

His Story: Things Black Men and Boys Say

His Story

Continuing the celebration of National Mentoring Month, 2014 Echoing Green Search Partner, Techbook Online – in addition to collecting stories from black male mentors – co-organized a conversation between black male mentors and black teenage boys. 

The important dimensions of black males’ lives, such as manhood, brotherhood, masculinity and community, were just a handful of topics discussed last Friday at Sankofa Freedom Academy, located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”

2014-01-19-DJReezeyleadstalk-thumb

In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”

BMe Leader Rashaun “DJ Reezey®” Williams asks: “What is manhood?”

 

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Continuing the celebration of National Mentoring Month, 2014 Echoing Green Search Partner, Techbook Online – in addition to collecting stories from black male mentors – co-organized a conversation between black male mentors and black teenage boys.

2014-01-19-PhillyRootsFelows.JPG
(Black Male Mentors Take Center Stage to Share, Inspire and Empower: From L to R: Philly Roots Fellows: Rueben Jones, Eric Worley, Joshua Rivers and Jeff Jones.)

The important dimensions of black males’ lives, such as manhood, brotherhood, masculinity and community, were just a handful of topics discussed last Friday at Sankofa Freedom Academy, located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

2014-01-19-DJReezeyleadstalk.JPG

In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”

BMe Leader Rashaun “DJ Reezey®” Williams asks: “What is manhood?”

BMe Leader Rueben Jones, Founder of Frontline Dads, Fires up The Student Body When He Talks about the Perception of Black Males:

 

Philly Roots Fellow Joshua Rivers, Founder of FOCUSED International, Surprises The Group of Boys With His Introduction.

Many of the students in attendance had never been exposed to this level of discourse with inspired black men. They not only showed their appreciation by being attentive and fully engaged, but they asked for more opportunities to connect and share with black male mentors.

In a room full of more than fifty black teenage boys, a group of inspired black men – led by B.O.L.D member Rashaun Williams, the youngest BMe Leader in Philly – engaged the youth in a conversation that aimed to foster not only an interest in being mentored or becoming an mentor, but to encourage knowledge transfers between generations that ignite “phresh perspectives.”

2014-01-19-BlackBoysRaiseHands-thumb

What those young black teenager boys saw last Friday is something I’m privileged to witness almost every day – black men working together to build strong communities.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™

About the Author: A Philly Drummer playing a Global Beat, Christopher A. Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer endorsed by TRX Cymbals. An American businessman, Norris currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Techbook Online Corporation, overseeing a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.

Source: Huffington Post

 

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Boys II Men: Verdi Degbey

Boys II Men: Verdi Degbey

Boys II Men

Meet Verdi Degbey Sophomore at Williston Northhampton School as he performs his spoken word Oreo!!

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Positive Black Male News: At Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym, kids find athletic and academic success

Positive Black Male News: At Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym, kids find athletic and academic success

Positive Black Male News

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

By Craig Stanley, NBC News

DETROIT, Mich. — On a cold December day in East Detroit, a dozen kids form a human assembly line stretching across the parking lot of the Downtown Boxing Gym.

With strong arms, the kids grab and push boxes of food from the delivery truck.

“The kids don’t go without a meal,” Coach Khali Sweeney told NBC News. “Forgotten Harvest, the local food bank, they’ll bring food here for ‘em, so we have food for the kids to eat healthy.”

According to a 2010 report, more than half of the city’s households with children under 18 receive food assistance from the state.

But that food is just one of the reasons the kids depend on this gym, which is the only building left standing on its city block.

To learn more about the Downtown Boxing Gym, please click here to visit their website. 

It is surrounded by a handful of vacant lots and remnants of abandoned buildings, where the kids sometimes run laps at night.

“It’s not, like, really safe for us to go out there and train,” 19-year-old boxer Anthony Flagg Jr. said.  “But we do it anyway. They say boxing, you’re risking your life.”

For these kids, there are risks both in and out of the ring.

Across train tracks, less than a mile away from the gym, there’s a scene of a different kind: a new Whole Foods grocery– a sign of new life for the struggling city.

“I appreciate and applaud all the efforts goin’ into [...] buildin’ the city,” Sweeney said. “But the residents themselves, they’re not gonna see that for a long time, and they’re still suffering. So places like this is a good place for kids to go. ”

We first profiled the Downtown Boxing Gym back in March of 2013. The gym, a grassroots effort to keep kids off the streets, had no heat, and was beyond capacity. Since the story aired, the gym has received an outpouring of support from their community and from viewers across the nation.

“A lot of doors opened up for us,” Sweeney said. “There was a lot of people working behind the scenes, but a lot more people reached out to us.”

Sweeney, who still goes to pick up students for practice, now uses donated Zipcars to get around the city. Rides are not limited to and from the gym; the students’ parents can call for help as necessary.

“They are my family, all of ‘em,” Sweeney said. “I wouldn’t drive across the planet, you know, if they wasn’t.”

Inside of the gym, a new ring stands, complete with a life-sized wall decal of Sweeney and the boxers. A few feet away from the ring, the tutoring area boasts new furniture, fresh paint, and updated computers.

Teach for America Detroit started a partnership with the gym, assigning seven teachers to work alongside the gym’s pre-existing tutors to help strengthen the gym’s academic program.

“Seeing kids using boxing to give them more confidence and focus on their self-esteem, I think education can be used the same way,” Teach For America Detroit community coordinator Lauren Coleman said. “Our goal is to provide students with at least an hour a day [of] tutoring and prep, and also … college and career readiness.”

Another major change is on the horizon: The gym has raised more than $175,000 in donations toward a new facility that Sweeney hopes will be able to accommodate some of the gym’s more than 150 kids that remain on the waiting list.

“That’s one of the things we can’t afford to do, just keep kids waitin’ around,” Sweeney said. “If they’re just sitting around, I mean, nobody’s helping them at that point, you know?”

Today, that help also comes in the form of mentoring and improved self-esteem.

“I think I’m turning into a role model,” Flagg said. “It makes me feel good on the inside, that kids be askin’ me for help with their homework and for advice. I never thought I’d be givin’ anybody advice.”

“You know, boxing is a male-dominated thing,” said boxer Christal Berry, 15. “I think it gives me a lot of power, because I feel really good, I feel strong.”

Parent club leader Sheba McKinney, whose daughter and son visit DBG every weekday, said the gym gives her peace of mind.

“It gives [the kids] an outlet of something to do, so they’re not just out in the streets,” she said. “This gives them something to work hard for.”

Sweeney and the kids have also found appreciation and recognition within their community. The Detroit Pistons recently invited every kid and volunteer to a basketball game, after which they received a monetary donation from the Meijer store for winter coats.

Despite the positive changes over the past year for the gym, Sweeney says there’s much more to be done—and a much larger need to fill.

“Right now, the kids need it more than ever,” Sweeney said. “Detroit is still a rough place, you know. With all the progress that we’re makin’, we can’t forget the fact that a lot of people are still suffering.”

Jessica Hauser, the gym’s executive director, believes the gym’s growth and progress thus far is proving to be a good lesson for the boxers.

“It’s okay to struggle,” she said. “It’s okay as long as you’re working towards your dream and that you can make it happen … And I think that’s what the [new gym] will show them.  That hard work does pay off.”

Source: NBC Nightly News

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His Story: Putting the ‘Man’ in Mandela: A Tribute (1918-2013)

His Story: Putting the ‘Man’ in Mandela: A Tribute (1918-2013)

His Story

No slight to women in the anti-apartheid movement, but one of the more interesting aspects of Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary legacy is that he helped found the Bantu Men’s Social Centre at 26 years old. Note the word “men” is key. Mandela knew that transformation in a society is facilitated by strong MEN at the helm. He started that in 1944.

Now 70 years later America’s men could use that splash of cold water on the state of its manhood these days. We aren’t talking chest thumpers and designer gear name-dropping idiots. We are talking about male revolutionaries in the home. The fathers, the workers, the men who see so much injustice that they are compelled to come together, as Mandela and the Bantu Club did and DO SOMETHING.

And like all men, Mandela had his faults – he had quite a few wives. He had quite a few questionable violent tactics after seeking nonviolent solutions. But like all men, he became his most gracious, most wonderful, MOST powerful self after suffering enduring circumstances and breaking through the other side of his lengthy Robben Island imprisonment as an all true man. The arc of Mandela’s life is a testament to all people, but specifically to all men that the Revolution requires an EVOLUTION of one’s soul after trial, error and hardship.

In short and to put it more direct and bluntly, we men must stay in the fight. No matter if that fight is grandiose or mundane. No job? Don’t leave your family. Fight. Acquire skills. Get better. Fight. Don’t feel respected? Fight. Get stronger. Be better prepared. Be an honest person and EARN that respect. FIGHT!

Mandela wasn’t a perfect leader. He wasn’t even a perfect man. But he learned. Adapted. Was broken down only to come back stronger. Better. WISER.

mandelaThe world doesn’t need more Nelson Mandelas. As my father said to my mom when he named his sons, “We don’t need another me. There is only one me. Let these boys be whoever THEY are.”

The Old Man, as he so often did, got it right. Men must stake their claim to the world and carve out their own identity. If we don’t we perish in ineptitude. We don’t need another man like Mandela.

The world needs more men, period.

God bless you, Madiba. Indulge in that great Travelers’ Rest. Your Revolution is over.

For a world littered with countless broken men, our Revolution is just beginning.

About the Author: J. Shawn Durham I’m a writer/journalist/social critic who mines topics that challenge the conventional wisdom of the Zeitgeist. I’m a vet of newspapers – The Durham Herald-Sun (N.C.) and The Athens Banner-Herald (Ga.) – magazines and blogs. My career has spanned two decades and I have penned numerous works that probe politics, sports and yes, even the war between the sexes. My debut novel, “The Broke Brothers’ Revolution”(The BBR for short, and is currently being taught in Marriage & Family Therapy course as well as a Human Sexuality class at Georgia Southern University), is a provocative, refreshingly honest, male-centric look at how both men and women woefully play the expectations game when it comes to sex and courtship. But what begins as a satirical take on the standard “he said/she said” fare pivots into a meaningful treatise on the current state of manhood in the 21st century and blah, blah, blah. To be blunt with you, I’m just tired of our men being feckless, spineless wimps. Fellas, put down the lattes and, for God’s sake, BUTCH UP! So read my blog, http://www.thebrokebrothersrevolution.com/ Tweet me up @TheBrokeBrosRev and drop me a line.

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Positive Black Male News: 6 year-old studies Philosophy, Math, and History at Oxford

Positive Black Male News: 6 year-old studies Philosophy, Math, and History at Oxford

Positive Black Male News

By Taki S. Raton

Joshua-Bedford-young-gifted-black

For those of you who may have taken a breath upon reading this headline, please be mindful that this feature is reflective of what has become a common norm for African American and global youth profiles in this particular Courier series.

He is young, gifted & Black. Joshua Bedford is now the youngest student to study at the University of Oxford. At the age of 6 in 2011, he earned over five Distinction Certificates in philosophy, mathematics and history.

As cited by his father, Knox Daniel in a contributing article on “10 Extraordinary Child Prodigies” in a January 11, 2012 posting of ODDEE, Joshua earned five distinctions at the Oxford, England campus and had additionally completed a master-class Research Project in Historical Enquiry on the Great Plague of 1665, earning him yet another Distinction.

Scoring mostly 95 to 100 percent on all of his assignments, Daniel reveals that Joshua ranked 4th place out of 24 “able and high-performing students” who were all older than him ranging in age from 8 to 12.

He learned to read fluently at the age of 2 and four years later began reading at the level of a 16 year-old.

A native of Tottenham in the London borough of Haringey, our talented prodigy has also studied Japanese and Chinese Mandarin since the age of three.

According to Jaber Mohamed in his May 20, 2013 Haringey Independent posting, Joshua could understand the alphabet and point to different colors on a chart when he was ten months old.

His father Daniel said he first noticed his son was “clever” when he was sitting on his lap while on the computer.

“I started telling him what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand,” reveals Daniel in the Haringey writing.

“So if I told him to point to a letter, he could do it so we moved on to colors,” he adds.

His father says that Joshua taught himself to touchtype on a computer before he had the motor skills to write using a pencil.

Britain’s Stormfront.org November 23, 2011 article shares that by the time he was three, he could name most of the cars on the road and correctly recall the country in which they were made.

“The key is you can never really start too early and we just discovered that he was really interested in all sorts of things,” says Daniel.

His father additionally shares in Stormfront that Joshua can ask “loads of questions all day long” about fairly complex matters that a child, understandably, would normally never think about.

“One morning, he got up and said, ‘Dad, I would really like to evaluate the properties of God’.” Yet another challenging inquiry poised to his father: “Is infi nity an odd or an even number?” Of course his father, in his words, “had no idea.”

In 2011, Daniel was keenly aware that his son needed to be intellectually challenged, so he wrote to Oxford to see if the university would admit him in a philosophy course for gifted children between the ages of eight and 13.

Oxford agreed to admit Joshua, thereby making him the youngest student ever to be accepted in the Online Learning Platform for Gifted Children.

As described in a September 11, 2011 VOICE posting, this online learning program is a master class designed to help children develop stronger critical and creative thinking, reasoning, and logic aptitude and further cultivates the opportunity for enrolled pupils to sharpen their debating skills.

Regarding his competence in debate, Daniel is cited in VOICE stating that his son has argued his case in typed assignments on such philosophical treatments as Plato’s “The Myth of the Cave.” In mathematics, Joshua earned a Certificate of Achievement for solving 9,000 math problems on IXL, the online primary mathematics program.

On top of being the youngest person to study at Oxford, Joshua also became the youngest to get all distinctions in a course for gifted children.

“I feel happy for my courses because I get a prize,” he is quoted in VOICE.

“I want to be a surgeon. I want to complete my studies and go to level five and later go to Oxford University full time,” he visions.

Level five, according to the published posting, is an accelerated math program for children ages 11 and older.

Daniel further submits that Joshua is already practicing simulations of surgical operations on his laptop.

As commented in VOICE: “He reads advance books on the body.

He learns all the different organs and what they do. He can name every part of the brain using the technical terms in Latin.

He’s also good at Japanese.

I buy the programs for him.

Basically, he’s self taught. He goes to Japanese restaurants and he orders in Japanese.

I feel proud of him,” says his father.

In his spare time, Joshua designs Power-Point presentations on human anatomy and has often been invited for speaking engagements at adult fund raising events.

And despite his achievements, “he is a well adjusted normal six-year-old who likes to play and have fun with other children.”

The Daniel’s family no longer notices that their son, now 8 years-old, is different.

“Most of the time, I don’t notice his intelligence because he is just Joshua to us.”

He adds in Stormfront that his son’s fascination with science cast no surprise “that his favorite program on TV is not a cartoon, like other children his age, but the weather report.”

- See more at: http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2013/11/23/6-year-old-studies-philosophy-math-and-history-at-oxford/#sthash.4FYChJKB.dpuf

- See more at: http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2013/11/23/6-year-old-studies-philosophy-math-and-history-at-oxford/#sthash.4FYChJKB.dpuf

- See more at: http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2013/11/23/6-year-old-studies-philosophy-math-and-history-at-oxford/#sthash.4FYChJKB.dpuf

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Book of the Week: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Book of the Week: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Book Of The Week

the-other-wes-moore

Two kids with the same name, liv ing in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, dec o rated com bat vet eran, White House Fel low, and busi ness leader. The other is serv ing a life sen tence in prison for felony mur der. Here is the story of two boys and the jour ney of a generation.

In Decem ber 2000, the Bal ti more Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local stu dent who had just received a Rhodes Schol ar ship. The same paper also ran a series of arti cles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police offi cer in a spec tac u larly botched armed rob bery. The police were still hunt ing for two of the sus pects who had gone on the lam, a pair of broth ers. One was named Wes Moore.

Wes just couldn’t shake off the unset tling coin ci dence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same news pa per. After fol low ing the story of the rob bery, the man hunt, and the trial to its con clu sion, he wrote a let ter to the other Wes, now a con victed mur derer serv ing a life sen tence with out the pos si bil ity of parole. His let ter ten ta tively asked the ques­tions that had been haunt ing him: Who are you? How did this happen?

That let ter led to a cor re spon dence and rela tion ship that has lasted for sev eral years. Over dozens of let ters and prison vis its, Wes dis cov ered that the other Wes had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in sim i lar neigh bor hoods and had dif fi­cult child hoods, both were father less; they’d hung out on sim i lar cor ners with sim i lar crews, and both had run into trou ble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across sim i lar moments of deci sion, yet their choices and the peo ple in their lives would lead them to aston ish ingly dif fer ent destinies.

Told in alter nat ing dra matic nar ra tives that take read ers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of sur pris ing redemp tion,The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a gen er a tion of boys try ing to find their way in a chal leng ing and at times, hos­tile world.

Purchase The Other Wes Moore Now Click Here!!

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Positive Black Male News: Young N.J. athlete Quai Jefferson juggles football and caring for his sick mom

Positive Black Male News: Young N.J. athlete Quai Jefferson juggles football and caring for his sick mom

Boys II Men

Quai Jefferson is a 17 year old starting wide receiver for St. Joseph of Montvale, the number one ranked team in the state. He’s blessed with all the markings of a star athlete who has a bright future. But when school and football end each day, he faces a very different reality. Quai is the primary healthcare provider for his mother who is sick with multiple sclerosis. He has always been the man of the house because his father was in and out of his life. It has always been Quai and his mom. The responsibility of her care, falls mostly on him. Quai shops, cleans, handles bills and cooks as well. All this, while still maintaining his rigorous school and football schedule. But now, Quai is about to open a new chapter in his life. He will begin college next fall raising the concern of what will happen with his mom. (Video by Andre Malok/The Star-Ledger)

Click Here to read story.

Source: The Star Ledger

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TheBlackManCan Institute- Baltimore Video Recap

TheBlackManCan Institute- Baltimore Video Recap

Cuts & Conversations

TheBlackManCan travels to Baltimore, MD! TheBlackManCan Institute designed to uplift, empower, educate, motivate young men of color. The purpose of TheBlackManCan Institute is to provide comfort and support for boys of color. Boys of Color attending TheBlackManCan Institute can be assured that their cultural needs will be addressed and they will be free to express themselves while fostering brotherhood. Learn more athttp://tbmcinstitute.theblackmancan.org/

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TheBlackManCan Institute-Hartford Video Recap

TheBlackManCan Institute-Hartford Video Recap

Cuts & Conversations

TheBlackManCan Institute touches on several key elements: Entrepreneurship, History Chasing Dreams, Financial Literacy, Style & Fashion, Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Hip-Hop. Our success is measured by the number of students able to walk away with more knowledge, resources, practical guidance, and a useful network to navigate their paths to achieve their goals. The Black Man Can Institute is a deliberate step forward in creating a roadmap to success for young men of color.

The Black Man Can prides itself on leading the way for our current and upcoming generations of intellectuals and leaders. We understand that we are examples and must also create outlets for learning and opportunities. The Black Man Can Institute is one way to achieve these goals. The institute is a one-day series of workshops that focus on different ways to uplift, empower, and inspire young men of color. Learn More athttp://tbmcinstitute.theblackmancan.org/

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Positive Black Male News: JetBlue pilot inspires young aviator

Positive Black Male News: JetBlue pilot inspires young aviator

Positive Black Male News

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 by 

Captain Eric Scott is a pilot for JetBlue airlines and his job has inspired a young black boy who has dreamed of a career in aviation.

Scott first met with the inquisitive boy nearly 10 years ago, when 5-year-old Elijah Hedrington first became interested in becoming a pilot.

Now the two have reconnected and Hedrington is currently enrolled as a sophomore at New York’s Bronx Aerospace High School. Scott has also eagerly agreed to serve as his mentor.

“The first time I saw him he became my role model,” Hedrington said. “A black man, being a pilot, a job I wanted to do.”

Watch the full video clip above.

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works

Source: The Grio

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His Story: Black on Black Crime: #LightSkin Vs #DarkSkin

His Story: Black on Black Crime: #LightSkin Vs #DarkSkin

His Story

History has taught Black America many things but the most relevant and detrimental is the impact of psychological enslavement. The idea of being oppressed without an individual laying hands on you is what keeps Black America in the state of status quo self- hate. I wrote a piece on Black on Black crime and I asked how do we end this epidemic and I received great responses. Recently, I overheard a conversation about Light Skin vs. Dark skin. This has become popular in recent times due to videos on Vine and other media outlets. The basis of the conversation is centered on people light skin being viewed as a blessing and dark skin is a basically a curse. Numerous thoughts ran through my head, like should I take out my belt? But that would probably result in me being forcefully put on the other side of my desk at my job as a federal case manager. The next two thoughts that popped into my head were: (1) when did black people become the slave masters that oppress other blacks and (2) Did the theory of the curse of Ham come back into the forefront? Black on Black crime has moved beyond the violence, which is still a crucial issue, to the psychological aspect. We are keeping an outdated ideology alive every time we hashtag our skin color. #Teamlightskin vs. #Teamdarkskin is what psychological enslavement looks like in the age of vining and self-hating.

The idea of slaves out-numbering slave masters on a plantation but refusing to over take and free themselves by any means necessary always startled me when I was learning about slavery, but it was not until I learned the psychological aspect of making a slave that things became clear. People commonly attach the making of a slave to Willy Lynch, but we now know that he was a fictional character. The means of breaking down an individual remains true. Make them hate themselves more than we ever could is the means of breaking down an individual. As I sat and listened to this conversation I was not only frustrated by the hierarchy that black people and society as a whole placed on the color of ones skin but how it has created a generation of youth that are only concerned with the look of the world and not the seeds that grew into racism. As I watch Vine videos it puts into perspective the value we place on our own history. We were enslaved because of the color of our skin and our unfamiliarity with the cultural norms the original colonies established.

The violence is not brutal but viral and spreading like wild fire. Malcolm X warned our grandparents about our inability to love ourselves more than we love the people who are perpetuating the crimes against us. This is the outcome of the second-class citizenship that we accepted.  This is the outcome of allowing our history to be taught to us through the eyes of racists. This is the outcome of wanting a desegregated lunch counter and not our own diner. This is the outcome of allowing corporate to steal hip- hop and this is the outcome of not having a strong family structure. Light skin vs. Dark skin has to stop because we are continuing to preserve an ideology that said everything darker than white skin is evil. So before you watch the next Vine, Worldstarhiphop, etc. video just remember that blacks both #lightskin and #darkskin were all strung up the same tree.

About the Author:

Mr. Sharif Rasheed graduated from Wright State University with a degree in Sociology. He is the youngest person to be honored with the university program’s ‘Outstanding

Alumni Award.’ He periodically goes back to lecture to students about  psychological slavery, the black male image and the effects of hip-hop on today’s society.

Mr. Rasheed has a background working with troubled youth and drug addicts. He has worked with both male and female juveniles. He uses his experiences to enhance his writing today. He has been featured on sites like ‘Urban Media Today,’ ‘Pittsburgh Urban Media,’ ‘The Soul Pitt,’ and an original piece was also published in ‘LA RAW’ Magazine.

He is also locally involved with his community in the city of Pittsburgh. In 2012, he held a ‘Black Dolls Rock’ toy drive that donated black dolls to young girls whose parents are incarcerated. He also previously held a ‘Save the Youth’ rally that attracted media attention and was seen on the local news.

Mr. Rasheed’s thinking comes from a very relatable place that reminds you of the power we all hold within ourselves. His passion extends from personal experience and his heart is all from his mother, who he gives his greatest accolades to.

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His Story: Being a Young Black Man in America

His Story: Being a Young Black Man in America

His Story


1Hood Media participants explore what it means to be a young Black man in America.

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Book of the Week: Khalil’s Way by David Miller

Book of the Week: Khalil’s Way by David Miller

Book Of The Week

way

An exciting illustrated children’s novel by author David Miller highlights the journey of Khalil Joseph an 11 year old boy growing up in a tough New Orleans community after Hurricane Katrina. Khalil’s journey shows how a young boy who is gifted in math and chess but struggles with being diagnosed ADHD, asthma, numerous food allergies and growing up with a single mother struggle to deal with being bullied every day in school. Khalil’s Way is funny yet serious journey that encourages children to make making healthy decisions. Khalil like so many children is bullied every day in school. When you finish reading Khalil’s Way, you may be surprised at how the skinny kid with glasses was able to win over his bully, and deal with his own disappointment of growing up without his father. Khalil’s Way is illustrated by award winning artist Jerry Craft.

Click here to Purchase!

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The Village: Beyond the Bricks

The Village: Beyond the Bricks

The Village

BeyondtheBricks-2

The Beyond the Bricks Project (BTBP) is a media and international community engagement initiative to encourage and promote community based solutions to increase educational and social outcomes for school age Black males. The BTBP takes a grassroots approach to improving those outcomes by engaging community members including the young men themselves, educators, civic leaders, and other stakeholders to craft solutions to the challenges the young men face in their schools, neighborhoods, and cities. Importantly, we encourage the young men to examine their roles as leaders and community citizens.

The BTBP believes that taking an asset-based attitude that seeks to build on young Black males’ strengths, both individually and collectively, helps to prepare them to be leaders in advancing themselves, each other, and their communities. To that end, the project aims to create a national network of communities, organizations and foundations, universities, industries and individuals who are committed to shifting the trajectory of all our young people towards success and community advocacy.

We work towards establishing partnerships throughout the country and the world to encourage communities to address not only the educational and social inequities that contribute to failure, but also to look at the change that’s necessary within communities so that everyone is accountable and takes responsibility for the success of our children.

We at the BTBP operate from the standpoint that we all–both individually and as members of various institutions and communities–must be accountable for how we recognize, invest in, support and structure the removal of barriers for all our children, and our Black male youth in particular. When we carefully attend to and provide a holistic network of support for our Black male youth, we are connecting to the ideals that have framed our nation–that when we view all of our children as untapped resources and sources of greatness, we are encouraging them to dare to expand the spectrum of who they are and be better positioned to be leaders in their lives, their communities and the world.

There are 3 overarching objectives for the BTBP as a social change project:
1) Help refocus the agenda away from merely identifying the problems among Black male youth to promoting and encouraging schools and communities to work together on solutions to educating and supporting these young men
2) Increase positive community engagement in the everyday lives of Black male youth
3) Encourage the development of youth achievement, leadership and activism through emphasizing community citizenship

________________________________

The BTBP is organized into 4 project streams to address our 3 overarching objectives for this work. The 4 project streams are the following:

Media and Film Productions and Screenings
Out of School Programming
BTBP Focused Research and Research based Publications
Direct Community Outreach

Visit Beyond the Bricks Now Click Here.

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Campus Kings: Anthony Bell

Campus Kings: Anthony Bell

Campus Kings

Meet 18-year-old Anthony Bell Freshmen at UCLA

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, much has been said about, and to, young Black men. At College Bound Brotherhood, we wanted to hear from young Black men themselves.

Over the month of August, we will be sharing powerful responses by young men like Anthony as part of the “Our Lives Matter: College Bound Brothers Speak” video series.

Join the conversation at #‎OurLivesMatter.

Facebook/CollegeBoundBro
Twitter: @collegeboundbro

Full series: http://bit.ly/197GDME

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Positive Black Male News: 10 Black child geniuses you should know

Positive Black Male News: 10 Black child geniuses you should know

Positive Black Male News

by Amir Shaw

If you only watched the evening news or depended on pop culture to paint a picture of young Blacks, you would probably think that the majority of Black youngsters were only ambitious about sports and music – or caught up in crime and debauchery.

However, the face of Black success isn’t limited to the fields that are occupied by Jay-Z, Beyonce and LeBron James. There are a multitude of young Blacks who are achieving at a high level in science, math, classical music, chess and other knowledge-based areas and preparing to change society.

 

Stephen R. Stafford II

Stephen R. Stafford II

Stephen entered Morehouse College at the age of 11 and picked up three majors. Now 16, he is currently studying computer science and mathematics. He will likely graduate at 17.

 

 

Mabou Loiseau

Mabou Loiseau

By the age of 7, Loiseau spoke French, Creole, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian. She also plays the harp, clarinet, violin, drums, guitar and piano.

 

 

Andrew Koonce

Andrew Koonce

Andrew is a master violinist based out of Atlanta. He was named concertmaster of the Georgia Music Association’s All-State Middle School Orchestra. The title goes to the most skilled musician in the section.

 

 

Autum Ashante

Autum Ashante

Raised by a single father, Autum was ridiculed by highly regarded conservatives at the age of 7 for writing a poem that highlighted the travesty of slavery. Autum never wavered and mastered languages such as Arabic, Swahili and Spanish. She scored 149 on the standard IQ test. At age 13, she was accepted into the University of Connecticut.

 

 

Imafidon family

Imafidon family

The Imafidon family is known as the smartest family in the U.K. The youngest siblings, Peter and Paula, made history by becoming the youngest students to enroll in secondary school. Their older sister, Anne-Marie, was the youngest student to pass A-level computing at the age of 13.

 

 

Rochelle Ballantyne

Rochelle Ballantyne

At 17, Rochelle Ballantyne is one of the top chess players in the world. She is currently on the verge of becoming the first Black American female to earn the title of chess master.

 

 

Ginger Howard

Ginger Howard

Ginger Howard is the youngest Black American woman to become a pro golfer. Howard is competing to become the fifth Black American woman to join the LPGA Tour.

 

 

Tony Hansberry II

Tony Hansberry II

Tony used failure as inspiration. After he didn’t place in the eighth grade science fair, Tony interned at Shands Hospital and developed a method of reducing the amount of time it takes to perform hysterectomies and potentially reducing the risk of complications after the procedure. He was honored for his contributions.

 

 

Chelsea Dock

Chelsea Dock

Chelsea has been an accomplished pianist since the age of 5. Now 13, Chelsea has performed at Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Steinway Hall. She’s also an artist and straight A student.

 

 

Daquan Chisholm

Daquan Chisholm

Daquan created a walkie-talkie, bulletproof helmet at the age of 12. He’s currently working with Johns Hopkins University to gather funding to patent the idea.

Amir Shaw is a filmmaker and music and sports director for Rolling Out magazine. Follow him on Twitter @arshaw. This story first appeared in Rolling Out.

Source: http://sfbayview.com/2013/10-black-child-geniuses-you-should-know/

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His Story: When Schools Ain’t Enough for Black Boys

His Story: When Schools Ain’t Enough for Black Boys

His Story

In this lyrically infused talk, Crystal Belle challenges listeners to reconsider issues related to freedom and education. Drawing upon personal experience, Belle compares the success of an African-American female to the experiences of African-American males undergoing a series of trials and tribulations, both attending an inner-city public school system and coexisting within the same home environment. Belle is an educator, freelance writer, and poet and is currently a Doctoral student of English Education at Teachers College.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.*

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Positive Black Male News: 17-Year-Old Graduates From Florida Atlantic University

Positive Black Male News: 17-Year-Old Graduates From Florida Atlantic University

Positive Black Male News

By NewsOne Staff

While most 17-year-olds are contemplating which college they plan on attending next fall, James Martinis thinking about where he wants to attend graduate school.

WSVN-TV 7 reports that Martin, of Marimar, Fla., just received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) during a ceremony Tuesday. The baby-faced teen was by far the youngest graduate in his class of 1000 other students; he was also one of the most accomplished, finishing with a 3.9 GPA.

“James Martin, Suma Cum Laude,” said announcer at the the ceremony. That he is so young is a fact that does not elude the young scholar.

“It’s funny, because I have a really young face, so they all knew this kid doesn’t belong here,” Martin said. “They end up seeing you almost as a peer because you study like they do, you work like they do and at the same time, you’re interacting.”While Martin is clearly a super-talented young man, his mother, who home-schooled him as a child, admits that her son was not always so studious. “His early years, he tended to be a little lazy,” said Joan Martin. “He daydreamed a lot and then, about 12 or 13, he started getting really serious.”

Martin was so serious that his improved habits landed him on FAU’s campus at 14-years-old. It was a successful journey that didn’t go without its challenging moments, however. “It’s been some nights, man,” he said. “It’s been some nights where I’m just like, ‘Ugh!’”

While Martin is not sure of what his next steps will be, he does eventually want to pursue higher education.

“In a couple years, hopefully, I’ll be on my way to getting a PhD, and so that would be a tremendous blessing,” he said. “In another eight years, I’ll be a professor somewhere.”

Congratulations to another fine young man doing great things!

Source: NewsOne

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Positive Black Male News: Young African-American Males Culminate FAMU’s Summer Program Especially Tailored for Them

Positive Black Male News: Young African-American Males Culminate FAMU’s Summer Program Especially Tailored for Them

Positive Black Male News

famuThe Florida A&M University (FAMU) Black Male College Explorers Program will host its end of the yearbanquet on Thursday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Grand Ballroom.
More than 50 young African-American males participated in the FAMU Black Male College Explorers Program this summer.  This program provided six weeks of highly concentrateddevelopmental experiences, which includes weekly seminars, workshops and motivational trips.
FAMU alumnus Edward G. Tolliver, who is the director of FAMU’s Black Male College Explorers Program, expressed his thoughts about the program.
“We know that this program works and has worked for so many years,” said Tolliver, who has been a part of the program for the past six years. “Replication is a must. It isreally gratifying to see what happens here. It makes you really proud of the fact that FAMU is partaking in the future of the next generation and future generations. It is moving.”
The objective of the Black Male College Explorers Program is designed as an at-risk prevention/intervention program specifically to prevent black males from dropping out ofhigh school; facilitate their admission to college; and significantly increase their chances of earning a college of degree. Middle and high schools from Tallahassee and major cities all over Florida are participating in the program.
Participating schools are asked to identify at-risk males enrolled in grades 7 through 11.
Participants in this year’s program were from Florida cities Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. One student came from as far as Connecticut.”
“We are excited in terms of the diversity,” Tolliver said. “We had three Latino participants from Hillsborough County this summer.”
One of the highlights from this summer’s program was a trip to Washington DC, where the youth had the opportunity to participate in a symposia onblack males at the National Press Club.
The group also traveled to Atlanta, Ga. for a three-day motivational field trip, which included stops at the Georgia Aquarium, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site,Six Flags White Water Park and church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. During the service, the137 participants from the FAMU, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida Memorial University, and Edward Waters College Black Male College Explorers Programs were allin attendance.
“I hope we did a good job in elevating consciousness of the trials that young men of color face from nativity to maturity from our trips,” Tolliver said. “Moreover, by advancingthis type of responsiveness, we may have added to guiding principles and systems that can improve these boys’ academic and survival prospects, for their improvement and that of our Sunshine State.”
For more information on the Black Explorers Male Program, contact Edward Tolliver at (850) 561-2407.
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His Story: The Black Male Body: Dead on Arrival (Fruitvale Station & Trayvon Martin)

His Story: The Black Male Body: Dead on Arrival (Fruitvale Station & Trayvon Martin)

His Story

nyc

With Zimmerman found not guilty, and Director Ryan Coogler recapping Oscar Grant’s last days on the big screen, the reoccurring injustices to the Black Male Body are painfully evident.

By Tinsel & Tine Blog Contributor: Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris

While the “Not Guilty” verdict is saturating headlines from print to post, it’s not the only tragic story of an unarmed black male being crucified by an overzealous, gun-wielding “authority figure.” Millennial Movie Maker Ryan Coogler, 26, has bought his award-winning story Fruitvale Station, of a 22-year-old Bay Area resident Oscar Grant to the big screen. Produced by Forest Whitaker and starring Academy Award winner Olivia Spencer as Oscar’s mom, the 90 minute feature film pulls and tugs at already broken hearts, reminding us all that Lady Liberty never gave birth to a black baby.

photo2“A lot of times people who don’t regularly interact with males of color – particularly black males –don’t look at us as full human beings; they dehumanize us on arrival. White people in particular will look at someone like Oscar Grant or Trayvon Martin and automatically think: he’s a thug, a criminal, anything but human. Seeing us as less than human empowers them to do things to our bodies – take our lives – in a way that they would never want done to them,” says Director Ryan Coogler, a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. (See more Tinsel & Tine Interview with filmmaker Ryan Coogler).

“Lady Liberty is now blind, deaf and dumb,” remarks Rashuan Williams, 19, while reading a poem off his smartphone at the Trayvon Martin Brotherly Love Vigil. Held this past Sunday in response to Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict, more than 800 people convened in Philadelphia’s iconic Love Park – the site of a March 2012’s event bearing same name – to grieve with the Martin family and make a visual statement to the state of Florida.

“Freedom ain’t free for a black man,” continues Williams, wearing a hoodie and holding a can of Arizona ice tea. “The thirteenth amendment makes freedom free only behind bars at six feet beneath our feet. Manslaughter can be only considered manslaughter if you’re killing a man. So the current comprise is to equate the black man to 3/5 of the human, 3/5 of the man.”

photo3

Pouring out a bottle of Tropicana Orange juice and calling names out like Oscar Grant, Emmit Till and Trayvon Martin, activist Manwell Glenn called for an indefinite boycott of the state of Florida, including its crown jewels – oranges and Mickey mouse.“This is the last time we’ll ever drink a god damn thing from Florida,” he exclaims. “Florida you are dead to us! We can go to Disneyland instead of DisneyWorld.”

photo4

“The system can’t fail those it wasn’t meant to protect,” reads a sign held by a protester.“I felt like Trayvon Martin was part of my family. I’m heartbroken and completely disgusted by the system. If I had any faith in the system, it’s completely gone now,” states a protester during the open mic portion of the hour long event.

As the sun went down on Love Park more than 500 people stood; passing the microphone; sharing stories. The world today took notice. While the law views black male bodies as disposable, people across the country view them as assets. People across the country have embraced black male bodies they’ve never met. If you ask those people the value of the black male body, they’ll more than likely respond priceless.Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™

Twitter: @therealTBOInc
Facebook: /therealTBOInc

About the Author:  Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Christopher Norris is an award-winning journalist and online content producer whose works can be seen on www.PhillyinFocus.comwww.FounderSync.com and Comcast’s Xfinity OnDemand. In 2013 Christopher Norris was recognized as a BMe Leadership Award Winner (Knight Foundation), Philly DoGooder “Emerging Leader” (Here’s My Chance) and “Brother of the Year” (Brothers’ Network). Norris currently serves as the CEO of Techbook Online Corporation, an integrated marketing and news organization he founded in 2009.
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His Story: A Poem for Trayvon: Rainbows and Rope Burns

His Story: A Poem for Trayvon: Rainbows and Rope Burns

His Story

trayvon_martin1

At the end of some rainbows lay Olympic size pools of blood from a body that once was… breathing. In search of  a pot of gold, or hell maybe just tryna get home. Cause Skittles commercials ain’t supposed to end this way, cause drowning at the end of the rainbow isn’t the way Trayvon wanted to end this day. Trayvon wanted to get his cousin some Skittles. Not boycotting for Civil Rights or protesting some capitalistic sin. And the only thing Trayvon was occupying was his skin. He just wanted to get his cousin some Skittles. But as a young black man Trayvon’s body was inherently political. Because the rope burns around our necks are residual. Because our skin, the vault that houses the narrative of our collective souls has a memory that is impenetrable. So as Trayvon lay there, drowning in a pool of blood, I can’t help but thinking the experience was unforgettable, because his blood had been there before. Whether from the extended branch of a tree, or from the metallic bumper of an SUV, his blood had been there before. Whether from the asphalt of a New York street, or the fields of the Confederate elite, his blood had been there before.

At the end of some rainbows lay Olympic size pools of blood, from a body that once was… breathing. And on this day that rainbow gave Trayvon rope burns. Because his Skittles were Emmett’s whistle, and therefore Zimmerman considered that rope earned. Earned not by reading Pedagogy of The Oppresed, earned not by looking deeper into the incomplete Autobiography of Malcolm X, earned not by sitting in a seat when being told to move, earned not by staging a revolt against being owned and abused. Earned because Trayvon wanted to get his cousin some Skittles. You see when you’re black being political ain’t got shit to do with being “political,” cause our politics ain’t just personal; it’s residual! And the process of rainbows closing in on us is continual.

So as you sit there doubting whether or not rainbows can give a person rope burns, you may want to pause and ask Trayvon’s mom what her son earned? You may want to ask her what was her sons favorite color? Ask her if he’d earned the chance to one day find a lover. Ask her if he’d earned the chance to bring his family wealth. Ask her if he’d earned the right to live, so that he could protest about himself or so that he could care less. You see the freedom to be indifferent is what we’re gonna lose next. What is a family to do, when they are told the reason their son died is cause he looks like you?! Because his soul was housed in skin that was home to flowing narratives that had been there before. The gunman who took his life is still on the streets… don’t think I need to say much more. I just want Trayvon’s family to know that we care. And that even though his physical body may be gone his narrative is here… and there. We carry him with us each day not just in our thoughts at day or night, his story courses through our bodies, and therefore his story gives us life. Our blood has been there before.

At the end of some rainbows lay Olympic size pools of blood from a body that once was… breathing. The lynch mobs never disappeared they just got licensed handguns and badges. And as they try to wipe us out, there’s one thing that they haven’t accounted for, and that’s our spirit of always fighting back… Our blood has been here before. Taste the rainbow.

chrisrobertsAbout the Author: Chris Roberts is a Poet. Scholar. Activist. B.A. Maryland ’11/M.A. SF State ’13/Incoming PhD student, Temple University. Write 2 free. Speak 2 hear. Listen 2 liberate. Elevator of Thought · Check out his blog ietherevolution.wordpress.com

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His Story: Why Fruitvale Station is a Game Changer for Young Black Men

His Story: Why Fruitvale Station is a Game Changer for Young Black Men

His Story

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I was blessed to attend the Oakland premiere of Fruitvale Station and as a person who does most of my work around race and specifically how Black men are portrayed in the mainstream media. This movie is a Game Changer! If the jury of the Zimmerman trial saw this film, George Zimmerman would immediately be found guilty.

What’s so great about the movie is the masterful way in which writer/director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan, both of whom should as least be nominated for Oscars, show Oscar Grant as a complete human being. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he was a good person with a huge heart, and definitely did not deserve to die like he did.

Even though I wrote a song about Oscar Grant, and his murder by BART Police Office Johannes Mehserle, I feel like I didn’t know him as a person nor his spirit, until I saw this film. Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan, and Producer Forest Whitaker essentially immortalize Oscar Grant, creating a living memorial of the last 24 hours of his life. Although I had never met Oscar Grant personally, after watching FruitvaleStation, I feel like I did.

The humanizing of Oscar Grant makes the ending of the film that much more powerful and heart wrenching. No longer is he just some nameless/faceless “criminal” who was justifiably killed by the police. Anybody who watches this movie, regardless of age or race, will relate either to Oscar Grant or his mother, beautifully portrayed by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, in some way. The movie leaves no doubt that Oscar Grant’s death was completely wrong and unjustified.

I encourage everyone to do what you can to get the word out about Fruitvale Station! Go to FruitvaleFilm.com and commit to using whatever resources you can to help promote it. If we can just get people to the theater, I believe this movie will absolutely change people’s perception of being a young Black man in America. It’s that powerful.

Originally Posted on: Black Youth Project

jasiri-x-42-150x150Article by: “This Week With Jasiri X” the groundbreaking Hip-Hop news series has taken the rap world by storm. Each Episode of “This Week With Jasiri X” features Your Hip-hop News Anchor Jasiri X reporting the National news over the hottest beats. For weeks Jasiri X has provided a rapidly growing internet audience with a most creative and interesting delivery of the weekly news. Using lyrical skills, controversial subject matter, and phat beats, Jasiri X shows and proves that real Hip-hop is not in the least bit dead. Chuck D of Public Enemy once boldly declared that “Hip-hop was the CNN of the ghetto”, no artist has better embraced and embodied that concept than Jasiri X.

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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Jerry Craft

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Jerry Craft

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

Syndicated Cartoonist Jerry Craft interviewed on Cablevision’s Neighborhood Journal. He talks about how he created his Mama’s Boyz comic strip and why he publishes his own books.

League of EXTRAordinary is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Men who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society.  Nominate a Black Male today on the contact page or e-mail us at team@theblackmancan.org.

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