MCJ March 18, 2015 Edition

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The Milwaukee

PULSE OF THE COMMUNITY Photos and question by Yvonne Kemp

Question of the Week:

“What do you think about the 47 Republican senators from the U.S. Senate sending a letter to the Iranian government and undermining President Barack Obama?”

TONY COURTNEY: “It’s showing total disresepct to the office of the presidency and the American people who believe in democracy.”

RACHAEL WOODS: “I think it is very disrespectful because he (President Obama) is the man in charge. He is our president and he deserves everyone’s respect.”

DARRIN REASBY: “I am not shocked at all. At the end of the day, they still see him as a Black man and not the President of the United States.”

SHERRY HILL: “I think the letter sent to Iran by the 47 “Republican senators” was not only unprecedented, it was underminding and circumventing the authority of the president and the powers granted to this office by the U.S. Constitution. This was no accident. It was intentional and should be outed for what it is as un-American.” 25 Cents


W I S C O N S I N ’ S L A R G E S T A F R I C A N A M E R I C A N N E W S PA P E R

(Left to Right below): MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver, Juan Cabrera, Superintendent, El Paso Independent School District, TX; Michael Hanson, Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District, CA; Richard Carranza, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District, CA; and Barbara Jenkins, Superintendent, Orange County Public Schools, FL. They are seen on the White House lawn after their meeting with President Obama.

MPS Sup. Driver among urban school leaders to meet President Obama on the state of education Compiled by MCJ Staff

MILWAUKEE--Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Darienne Driver, was among 10 other urban school district leaders to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House Monday. The president and school district leaders discussed efforts to strengthen educational opportunities for students in city schools. “I am grateful for the opportunity we had to share the progress urban districts are making, to share the innovative practices we are putting in place to accelerate our growth and to reiterate our support for being accountable for student achievement,” said Driver in a MPS press statement following the meeting. “It was also an opportunity to express concern about the proposals to reauthorize Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that would reduce funding for many of the highest-need, highest-poverty districts in the United States. Saying MPS was proud to join with other CGCS participants in serving all students, Driver said any new plan must help move the nation’s neediest students forward— not backward. “If the choice is between not doing harm or doing harm, it would seem self-evident that the current waiver system will have to remain in place until a bill can be passed that responsibly supports all our students.” During the meeting with the president, Driver and the other school district leaders provided a number of examples of programs that have made the most of federal funds provided to high-needs districts in ways that improve outcomes and opportunities for students. For MPS, that includes the district’s Commitment Schools effort, which is showing early signs of progress. In its first year, the Commitment Schools initiative is aimed at transforming underperforming schools into high-performing schools through increased resources to support school-specific rigorous academic and behavioral interventions with the ultimate goal of achieving greater college and career readiness. Driver also shared with the president how MPS partnered with the General Electric (GE) Foundation to develop scalable and sustainable in-house models of innovative learning that can now share best practices with other schools. “I spoke about our efforts to implement the rigorous Common Core State Standards and to increase the inte-

Our Interruption


“I am grateful for the opportunity we had to share the progress urban districts are making, to share the innovative practices we are putting in place to accelerate our growth and to reiterate our support for being accountable for student achievement.” --MPS Sup. Darienne Driver (shown above with MPS student) about her meeting with President Obama

gration of science, technology, engineering and math,” Driver said. “I also shared how we are beginning to work with the College Board to improve outcomes for our young men of color through the president’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.” The MPS superintendent agreed with the president on the need to focus—as MPS has done through its Commitment Schools process—on providing low-performing schools with the tools they need to be successful. “I also agree that investment in our students with special needs and our students who are English language learners is critical to our overall success.” Driver said the message of the group to the president was that urban districts are making steady progress and implementing efforts to accelerate that growth. “Any efforts to shift funds from high-need districts to less needy schools—as some ESEA reauthorization proposals would—risks reversing that progress. As the president said Monday, continuing to invest in our children is something worth fighting for.”

By Dr. Ramel Smith, “The Blaquesmith”

Before I address a predominantly White audience on issues of diversity and race, I try to establish a common ground of mutual frustration and pain. For example, I will speak of that day, December 7th, which lives in infamy in the heart and minds of many Americans. I speak about that day, September 11th, which we will always remember and never forget. These single days of terrorism had a lasting effect on our country. Many Americans lost “There was an their lives. Many Americans were outraged. interruption, but Many Americans wanted harsh and immediate actions to those terrorists that attacked there was not a Americans on American soil. destruction. An Then, I ask “Why are the descendant of involuntary immigrants often told to forget interruption, is an about the great evil of the middle passage and unwanted delay and slavery?” Our country can, rightfully, remember spe- unnecessary pause. cific days of terrorism when the casualty numbers were in the thousands, so how can It impedes progress. anyone be expected to forget about the cenIt delays progress. turies of emotional, physical and sexual cruThe resiliency and elty that was exacted upon millions? Even after the 13th Amendment abolished strength of our this barbaric institution of slavery, how can we ancestors is what not think about the educational inequalities, gave birth to Maya financial exploitation, and mental cruelties and that were still enacted upon their descenAngelou’s angelic dants. And, how can we be expected to forget words ‘Still I Rise.’ when we are still reminded in this present day of our second-class citizenship? Beaten but There was an interruption. Our ancestors were stolen and sold as mere commercial unbroken. Bloodied goods. There was an interruption. As brother but Malcolm stated, “we didn’t land on Plymouth unbowed.” Rock, it landed on us.” There was an interruption. Individual and family lives, forever, in West Africa, the Caribbean, South America and North America were inhumanely altered. There was an interruption. Our ancestors were forced to lose all remnants of their culture and identity. There was an interruption, but there was not a destruction. An interruption, is an unwanted delay and unnecessary pause. It impedes progress. It delays progress. The resiliency and strength of our ancestors is what gave birth to Maya Angelou’s angelic words “Still I Rise.” Beaten but unbroken. Bloodied but unbowed. Captives but not conquered. Our spirits stand in unison and cry in a foreign tongue with Cinque who implored the judicial system of America to “Give us Free!” My loved ones, is Denmark Vessey or Nat Turner any different from the great patriot Patrick Henry, who stated “Give me liberty or give me death!” These revolutionaries understood, people will interrupt and inconvenience you-- for their convenience. Like Frederick Douglass, we must be willing to interrupt the plans of others, especially when they don’t have our best interest at heart. Like Harriet Tubman, we must have the resolve and will to let others know they are being rudely interrupted and must help them learn how to move past the distractions. We live in a society today, where people pride themselves on the ability to multi-task. These are people who have acquired a skill on how to continue positive progress on a specific task while being mired with the duties and obligations of many other distracting tasks. Our ancestors, and other enslaved populations from civilizations past, have had to develop this skill for survival. We cannot let interruptions deter and distract us from accomplishing our goal. Yes, there are savage inequalities that exist within the educational (continued on page 7)

Black Love, Black Marriage is Still Alive EDITOR’S NOTE: Sunday, March 22, is the national observance of Black Marriage Day, which celebrates and bolsters the institution of marriage in the Black community. Because of this special day, we are reprinting an article first run in 2013 written by MCJ editor and his wife, who will again be holding their Black Marriage Day event on that same week, Saturday, March 28 at Brentwood Church of Christ, 6425 N. 60th St., starting at 2 p.m. Go to the Religious page to see more information in our Relgious event section. Or visit, or go to the Black Marriage Day Page on Facebook under, Christian Couples Ministry.

FIRST PERSON By Thomas and Clarene Mitchell First printed in May of 2013

On Saturday, March 16, the day before the national Black Marriage Day event observed across the United States celebrating the virtues of holy matrimony in the Black community, we held our third annual event, which coincided with the national observance. The attendance at Brentwood Church of Christ was impressive. We attracted couples of varying ages and years of marriage, from six months to 57 years. Also in attendance were our youngest daughter and her fiancée. We hope they were encouraged by the event and what the older couples shared as to what makes a marriage work—and that it is work. As Evangelist Barry L. Gainey, the featured speaker at our

Black Marriage Day event, stated, “When you say I do, believe me you will.” But it’s also a labor of love we married couples who are committed to this centuries old institution wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. So you can imagine our consternation when we read a story in a recent Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS). On the front page of that issue was a story about the economic decline and racial division hampering the rebirth of a city that was once the “beer capitol of the world,” and “the machine shop of the world.” The story partly blamed the economic decline and slow turnaround on— of all things—disturbingly low numbers of Black married couples in the city! The statistics for Black marriage in Milwaukee may indeed be extremely low, especially in comparison to other metropolitan areas, but Black love, and Black marriage is still alive and is still a desired value in our community. The article’s author neglected to mention this, let alone the various indicators that have led to the racial divide and decline in Black marriage in Milwaukee… and nationally. As a matter of fact, the writer should have included the history of Black marriage in America. That would have been a lot more

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