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The importance of teachers, public education and teachers of color

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week everyone!  Check out these videos of the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes:

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The importance of mentorship

Three weeks ago, I had the privilege and honor to speak at Gordon College at a panel called Multicultural Men at Work: A Place of Hope and Challenge.  One of the questions they asked to answer was: What advice would you give yourself if you could have spoken to your younger self?

The three pieces of advice I said were:

  • That the path God takes you is not necessarily what you envisioned for yourself but is so much better than what you could have orchestrated
  • That pursuing what God has called you to do in your vocation will not come easily, it will take prayer and perseverance and you will encounter opposition especially as you decide to stand up for what you believe is right
  • To actively pursue mentors in your profession – people you can trust, however, sometimes they may come in God’s time unexpectedly

Check out this video on the importance of mentors by three well known gospel recording artists, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin and Marvin Sapp, on their own panel:

Why fathers are important: a dad recites a pledge every morning with his son

Check out this video of Jenabu Williams and his 6 year old son reciting a pledge everyday as they drive to school:

How You Can Use Your Privilege to Impact Systems

Check out this clip as Joy Angela DeGruy shares a story that illustrates the power in using privilege to challenge assumptions and how it can influence a whole chain of people and systems:

7 Year Old Girl Steals the Show with Afro Puffs Made of Ice and Fire!

Together with her mom Natalie McGriff conquered her challenges with reading and her difficulties with her hair by creating a comic book based on Moxie Girl. Check her out in this video!

Children’s Literature: Who is in it makes all the difference!

Famed children’s/teen author Walter Dean Myers and his son, a children’s book author himself, Christopher Myers recently penned two articles in the New York Times, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” and “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” worth reading that describe why our young people of color in particularly need to see themselves reflected in what they read.

Here are a few noteworthy quotes to whet your appetite and chew on:

“As I discovered who I was, a black teenager in a white-dominated world, I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine. I didn’t want to become the “black” representative, or some shining example of diversity. What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me.” -Walter Dean Myers

“They are indeed searching for their place in the world, but they are also deciding where they want to go. They create, through the stories they’re given, an atlas of their world, of their relationships to others, of their possible destinations.” -Christopher Myers

Flashback to ’02 – Halle Berry is first Black woman to win Academy Award

With the Academy Awards coming up, let’s take a look at the significance of Halle Berry’s being the first Black woman to win an Academy Award in 2002, her actual speech and where we stand now in terms of diversity in the Academy Awards.

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Here’s a transcript of her part of her speech:

“Oh my God. Oh my God. I’m sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I’m so honored. I’m so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow.”