Pregnant High Schoolers Arrested for Protesting Closure of Their School

Pregnant High Schoolers Arrested for Protesting Closure of Their School
Britni Daniels, Clutch Magazine, April 28, 2011

Unfortunately more people aren’t talking about this…

Recently, students and teachers at the Catherine Ferguson Academy, a Detroit-area school for pregnant girls and young mothers, got the unfortunate news that it will possibly face closure at the end of the school year.

The school is one of the only of its kind in the country, winning awards for its staff’s refusal to give up on its students. Over 90% of the young mothers who attend Ferguson graduate, well over the national average of about 70%. Moreover, Ferguson Academy provides special support services like childcare, counseling, and financial aid guidance for its students. The school also received wide acclaim for its student-created urban garden that teaches each girl how to grow food and raise animals in an urban landscape.

The plight of the Detroit public schools has been well publicized. Earlier this year, state officials decided to close nearly half of the city’s schools to deal with a budget gap, and unfortunately, Catherine Ferguson Academy made the list. (Read more)


On the Origins of Our Sexuality



So it has come to mind lately that sexuality begins with responses to someone else’s arousing actions. Completely dependent on the first occasions of sexual excitement, sexuality also stands before us freely, not committed to hetero or homo orientations. When we talk about molestation and refer to it as a crime, we talk about adults that pervert the innocence of a child; or applying similar words, we talk about adults that interrupt a child’s normal path to sexuality, while sickly achieving easy sexual satisfaction. Contrasts between deviant routes to sexual activity (molestation) and normal routes interest me because, if I think about it, sexuality is never individualistic. We cannot think about our sexuality without the encouragement of other people to use our bodies in ways suitable for privacy. At best, our disgust with molesters prefers that children develop their sexual personalities with others that are equally impressionable and curious, but they cannot avoid being acted upon.

Mumia Abu-Jamal on Prisons

The controversy surrounding the trial and conviction of activist, journalist and former Black Panther Party member Mumia Abu-Jamal is known the world over. Since his conviction, Mumia Abu-Jamal has been a rallying point for activists who decry the seeming injustices swirling around his trial and conviction. The decades long debate over his guilt or innocence resurfaced on Tuesday after news that a new sentencing hearing had been ordered in his case.

1 in 4 Children in US Raised by a Single Parent

1 in 4 Children in US Raised by a Single Parent
Associated Press (via The Grio) | April 27, 2011

MIAMI (AP) — One in four children in the United States is being raised by a single parent — a percentage that has been on the rise and is higher than other developed countries, according to a report released Wednesday.

Of the 27 industrialized countries studied by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. had 25.8 percent of children being raised by a single parent, compared with an average of 14.9 percent across the other countries.

Ireland was second (24.3 percent), followed by New Zealand (23.7 percent). Greece, Spain, Italy and Luxemborg had among the lowest percentages of children in single-parent homes.

Experts point to a variety of factors to explain the high U.S. figure, including a cultural shift toward greater acceptance of single-parent child rearing. The U.S. also lacks policies to help support families, including childcare at work and national paid maternity leave, which are commonplace in other countries.

“When our parents married, there was a sense that you were marrying for life,” said Edward Zigler, founder and director of Yale’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. “That sense is not as prevalent.”

Single parents in the U.S. were more likely to be employed — 35.8 percent compared to a 21.3 percent average — but they also had higher rates of poverty, the report found.  (Read more)


Homo-Nonexistence: “We Are Conspicuous in our Absence”

“We are conspicuous in our absence” says the democratic openly gay Senator Mark Leno. This statement is honest, but not the full story. The fight to get gay history integrated into the curriculum of schools in California is heating up.  The importance of gay history has come up before in my life as I wrote about my childhood experiences going to a school that did not once mention what gay was (besides it being used as a synonym for something negative):

Is a half-truth a whole lie? When looking back over my 6 years elementary school, 3 years of middle school, and 4 years of high school, I realized that not once did my classes teach me about any gay or lesbian figure in history. As a matter of a fact, if it is public education’s job to teach about the realities of the world, they definitely failed on letting me know that there were gay people who existed in history that did great things. I’m not sure if I can call this homophobia, a better defining term for it is homo-nonexistence. You can’t be afraid of something that doesn’t exist. This is what I am labeling the great injustice of my childhood. This non-existence of gay people in my history books [while growing up] is another reason to why I was so insecure about my sexuality in middle school and much of high school. I remember being in 8th grade and thinking “what was wrong with me” or that I was the only gay person alive. I thought I was going to hell for the desires that I kept concealed in the innermost crevices of my mind.

Why I Hate Being Called Articulate

In my 21 years of existence I’ve been called almost every name under the sun. Some of the names were warranted, others are too foul to even mention in this blog post. Nevertheless, I always clung to what my Mom told me as a child: “it’s not what they call you, but what you respond to.” However, of all the monikers people have graciously or hatefully bestowed on me, the name that still makes my hair stand up on the back of my neck is “articulate”. Yes, “articulate”. Many of you are probably wondering why I have such qualms with a word that generally carries positive connotations. I’m glad you asked. To me being called “articulate”, especially by an elderly white person has always seemed to be very patronizing and demeaning. In fact, being called articulate at times seems oxymoronic, because those who call me this tend to be more surprised that I can put together a coherent sentence without stumbling over my words, rather than the eloquence of my oratory.

Fighting the Arrest of Tonya McDowell: Educating Your Child Should Not Be a Crime

Fighting the Arrest of Tonya McDowell: Educating Your Child Should Not Be a Crime
Dr. Boyce Watkins, Huffington Post | April 24, 2011

When I heard about the case of Tonya McDowell, the homeless mother sent to jail for sending her 5-year-old son to the “wrong” school district, I immediately thought back to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar not long ago. I wondered how the world has gone mad enough to somehow think that it should be against the law for mothers to find ways to get their children access to a high quality education.

As a result of this homeless single mother having the audacity to get her child into a good school, she is being charged with first-degree theft and also being asked to repay the $15,686 it allegedly cost to educate her child in the Norwalk, Conn. school district. No one cares that this family has no home. No one seems to care about what will happen if this child grows up without the only woman on earth wired to love him unconditionally. No one seems to care about the massive costs to the state of prosecuting this mother and eventually the child, as we deliberately trap them in an intergenerational cycle of poverty and criminal justice. All that seems to matter is that they keep this little boy out of their school.  (Read more)

April 18, 2011 – April 24, 2011

Some schools still struggle despite efforts
Tina Marie Macias, The Advertiser, April 23, 2011

Jobless rate for young workers in US highest since 1948
James Brewer, WS News, April 22, 2011

Racist graffiti found at Birmingham Seaholm High School
Tammy Stables, Detroit Free Press, April 22, 2011

NU students help close the achievement gap at ETHS through tutoring program
Susan Du, Daily Northwestern, April 21, 2011

Student to retrace “freedom ride”
Weston Pletcher, The Kansan, April 21, 2011

More Black men in prison now than enslaved in 1850
Dick Price, Toledo Journal, April 21, 2011

LAPD Changes Procedure that ‘Singled Out’ Black and Latino Students
Leiloni De Gruy, LA Wave, April 20, 2011

The voice of America’s frustrated youth, Power Shift, is on its way to the UK
Guppi Bola, The Guardian, April 20, 2011

Youth Activism Rises in D.C.
Erica Butler, Afro News, April 20, 2011

UNC-system historically black colleges and universities affected by budget cuts
Vinayak Balasubramanian, The Daily Tar Heel, April 20, 2011

Three Hip-Hop Scholars Talk About Combatting Homophobia
Akiba Solomon, Colorlines, April 19, 2011

BAYarts youth show attracts more than 100 young artists
Julie Cikra, The Observer, April 19, 2011

Hip-Hop Positivity
Garieka Godfrey, Courgar Link, April 19, 2011

The Power of Youth, Idealism and Nonviolence
Staff Writer, WITF, April 18, 2011

Giant Pictures Of African-American Males Make Law Student Feel Unwelcome
Elie Mystal, Above the Law News, April 18, 2011

Students protest lack of diversity among faculty
Mathew Davoli, BG Views News, April 18, 2011

Too many minorities in special ed, state says
Theresa Harrington
, Contra Costa Times, April 18, 2011

GPA requirement OK for minorities
Yetunde Ogunsakin, Red and Black News, April 18, 2011

Overfunding prisons while neglecting education
Ashahed M. Muhammad, The Final Call, April 18, 2011