All Articles Tagged "politics"
“It has been and still is a hard time for many…but today we turn the page.” – Barack Obama
Lets just keep it real, it has been a hard, long, bumpy road for President Barack Obama. Last night’s State of the Union address underscored the massive conundrum that POTUS still faces as he manages everything from world affairs, the economy, The resistant Republican Party, and a country on seemingly the verge of Civil War.
Parents face a quandary as well, and the president addressed those concerns in his speech.
He asked, “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well, or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”
The answer is one that each and every family, parent, and child will have to answer on their own. From an African American perspective, there must be less and less tolerance for mediocrity and more focus on economic development within our own communities. The truth is, there is no “everyone” and far too many folks have drunk on the Kool-Aid of complacency for far too long. We have failed to give our kids the straight facts in an effort to shield them from the coarse American reality.
The President also tossed out a few cliches like: “This country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” If that’s the case then the nation has never really operated at its best. As we move forward, we are going to have to be real about what is going on in places like Ferguson and move forward accordingly with your kids. Some have taken drastic measures like Lawrence Otis Graham, who monitors heavily what types of clothing his boys wear (Read: Police Brutality: Is It Time For A Black Boy Dress Code?”. Perhaps we look closer at what we let into our kids’ impressionable minds (Read: Is Empire A Good Representation Of Black Family Life? ) and bodies (Read:Wendy’s Fast Food Takes A Healthier Route). Or maybe, just maybe…we have a bit more patience for those that need more patience (Read: Who Failed Bobby Shmurda?). We have to care, people.
Like it or not, we have to do better and while police brutality is a scourge the nation must address collectively, the Black Community is going to have to come to terms with our inner Civil War. Far too many of us are looking at the president for solutions when the answers to many of our issues can only come from local activity. Again, the poor was unmentioned so we must become a village again.
Obama has the nation looking and feeling a bit better and that is a good thing. His approval rating is at 50 percent, a remarkable feat in these times of strife. He boasted about insurance rates, employment rates, a booming economy, reduction in combat mission overseas and other advances. When my big body vehicle filled up after only $41.00 I tweeted the president. So, when President Obama says the state of the union is strong, he’s not lying. The fact remains, the union he speaks of doesn’t address myriad of discrepancies that our children face.
Still, parents have a many matters to consider if the state of our families is to continue to be bigger, better and stronger.
“We are a strong tight knit family that has made it through some hard times.” – Barack Obama
There are more hard times to come, but the vigilant are already prepared.
As a mom to a busy 4 year-old toddler, I have very high expectations of my one and only son. Hopefully, through my guidance, as well as through the support of his ever evolving school system, he will one day grace the classroom of a top university, where a sea of academic options will be at his disposal. Creating a vision board for my son is one thing, but even better than that is my personal investment in his educational journey. That process begins by taking the time out of my busy schedule to help him read and write, while showing him the road map to becoming an earnest leader. I believe that early childhood nurturing, regardless if you are married or single is vital to a child’s learning compass. My goal is for my son to be an asset, and not a liability within his community. It’s easy to blame a child’s inability to thrive and become competitive on a failed school system. But, in all reality, the responsibility starts with a sound and solid foundation, and that begins at home first.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to a Media Brunch in Newark – New Jersey’s largest city. Within the beautiful spaces of the Newark Club, were media peers, waiting to hear Cami Anderson, Newark’s first white female Superintendent discuss her vision for Newark’s broken school system. Before meeting Cami Anderson, I read various opinion pieces regarding her leadership and strategy. As a mother, who has faced her own parenting roadblocks, I requested to meet with her one-on-one. I scraped the data and statistics talk. Our children are more than numbers. I wanted to see where her heart was. I wanted to see if we could connect beyond the political landscape and just be mothers in dialogue about our children’s future. We all have great expectations, but sometimes a mash-up of adversities and challenges can delay even the best laid plans. With the media fiasco aside, I sat down with Newark’s leading academic authority, who I didn’t realize was raised in a multiracial family setting and had a bi-racial 4 year-old.
Meet Cami Anderson, the Educator:
Mommynoire: Nice to meet you Cami. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. In terms of education and entrepreneurship do you think your current structure or how you are structuring Newark Public Schools will prepare children, once they graduate to be able to run their own businesses? Will Newark children be able to become leaders and not just members within the workforce.
Cami Anderson: I really believe strongly that every kid needs to be able to read, write, think and do math at very high levels. Because if you teach entrepreneurial skills and business skills, but you can’t do that, we just know that in the 21st century, you are going to have limits regarding what you can do. But at the same time, some of the passion you heard from me around teaching students the non-academic skills, like persistence and self-management and recruiting mentors and managing through challenges, so we do have a lot of curriculum, resources, standards and we’ve even partnered with the National Foundation On Teaching Entrepreneurship, because in many ways, what you need to be a successful student, is not different to what you need to actually further your career and start your own business.
I think part of the reason I got in education, I believe, when you look at boardrooms, The White House, higher education, and business, you just see a lack of diversity at the top in terms of gender and race. I think that’s morally wrong, but I think its a big problem for the country, because we are losing out on all of this extraordinary talent. So, some of the reasons I do what I do, is because I want to change that. The strength of our country is diversity, but when it comes to leadership, there are huge gaps.
Mommynoire: How do you combat the fears of Newark residents, who say you can’t do it because you don’t understand the Newark experience, although you come from a multicultural family?
Cami Anderson: One, I’ve had an interesting journey, as a person, given my family experience. I’m one of 12. I have 9 siblings who were adopted from some pretty tough circumstances and they are multiracial. So I feel like when it comes to some of the challenges I see our students facing, my own family experience has really given me a lot of first hand observations and passions around a lot of the same things our students are facing.
At the same time, I’ve also found that family and students, they want excellence. And if you are willing to be authentic, build relationships and stand up for what is right, a lot of folks just want to be in a great school, and they are happy to partner with whoever.
Mommynoire: As I listen to you speak, I’m not seeing a white woman in Newark. I’m just seeing an educator.
Cami Anderson: Yes, an activist. Someone who is passionate about equity. I think a lot of families want the best for their kids and they want to believe that the person at the helm, has that as their core value.
Mommynoire: I’m raising a 4 year-old boy with a busy and overactive imagination. When I look at him, he’s already been in 4 or 5 schools because he is always busy. They like to tie it to ADD. But when I work with him, I see the creative side. So my question is: how do you build programs around children who may not be special needs, but they have difficulties learning in traditional environments?
Cami Anderson: First of all we do know that when it comes to students, African-American and Latino boys are over identified, in terms of students with special needs and also in terms of being disciplined, for the same actions that their white peers are not. So, this is straight up in the research. The first thing is that we need to challenge or own systemic biases and really have frank and tough conversations about the affects of racism. With school in general, you have to be careful not to become too routinized. I grew up in the theater. I believe in giving students a lot of different ways to develop. Some are traditional, because they are going to have to learn to sit in rows to take tests, etc. and then also, non-traditional – the arts and theater. We have to focus on strong academics, but we also have to give kids a lot of opportunity to express themselves. I’m worried about this too because my son is bi-racial.
Mommynoire: Let’s take a South Ward child that is connected to the most perverse forms of hip hop music. They are heavily infused in gangs, and through music they are taught that school doesn’t even matter. And listening to a Lil Wayne, they realize they can get everything they desire without being in the classroom. They are making millions upon millions and telling our kids that they don’t need school, how do you get those kids – to not be the drop out?
Cami Anderson: I’ve spent most of my career in education, working with young people who failed out of the traditional system. I taught kids who were suspended for a year. In my old job in New York as a Superintendent of alternative high schools, I worked almost exclusively with young people, that really struggled. Many of them were court involved. I actually helped to find a network of charter high schools for court involved youth. So these groups of students are near and dear to my heart. I think you have to look at the 3 R’s – relevance, rigor and relationships. So the first is relevance – they have to feel connected to the people at the school. Schools that do well with young people that are struggling do well because they have adults who believe passionately in young people. They never give up on them, even when they may be challenging authority. That’s the relationship relevance. They have to feel like school is going to get them somewhere. You have to do a lot of things to engage them as leaders. You have to engage them as a community and also use topical issues that they are passionate about. About rigor – people think the way to recapture disconnected youth is to dummy down the curriculum. It’s actually the opposite. Because if they feel bored, or that you don’t respect their intelligence or leadership skills, which many of them have both, then they aren’t going to come back. And they certainly aren’t going to stay if they feel like they can be competent somewhere else. I’ve been blessed to be able to start charter schools and run a whole system. As a teacher, my students have been able get very significant gains. And its because we worked hard in all three of those areas.
We know it’s hard to keep up with everything happening in the tweets, so here’s a brief recap of what Black Twitter’s been talking about lately.
Election Day – Time to hit the polls
The 2014 election season comes to a close today as voters across the nation head to the polls. Republicans and Democrats are battling it out over control of several gubernatorial races around the country, and voters will decide who will control the Senate for the next two years. No matter what side of the political fence you fall on, voter turnout groups are relying on Twitter to get voters to the polls. And from the looks of things, it’s working.
I exercised my right to vote. Will anything change? TBD! #Election2014
— Rachel Lynette (@alwayslapislove) November 4, 2014
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) November 4, 2014
— claudio (@claudioericka) November 4, 2014
We sometimes take our voices for granted, but what would it be like if we had no voice at all? As important as it is to vote–our ancestors fought and died for that right–some of us still feel voting is a waste of time and does no good. What do you believe?
ColorOfChange.org is doing a social experiment called the Election Day Project to show people how much power they give up by not voting and essentially letting someone else make decisions for you. Check the video and see these women find out what happens when others speak for them in a hair salon.
ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice. The goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone. ColorOfChange.org is comprised of Black folks from every economic class, as well as those of every color who seek to help our voices be heard.
The members are united behind a simple, powerful pledge: we will do all we can to make sure all Americans are represented, served, and protected – regardless of race or class.
Using the Internet, as with this Election Day Project, they enable the members to speak in unison, with an amplified political voice. They keep them informed about the most pressing issues for Black people in America and give them ways to act. We lobby elected representatives using email, the telephone, and face-to-face meetings.
Color of Changes brings attention to the needs and concerns of Black folks by holding coordinated events in different parts of the country, running TV and print advertisements, and demanding that the news media cover our issues. They also work with other groups – online efforts and other organizations that are doing related work – to magnify their impact.
Are you planning on voting? Do you always vote?
Celebrities can hold considerable weight in the public eye when it comes to certain issues and they can even sway a politician’s view about something. These celebrities made their way to Washington D.C. to lend their powerful voice to a cause or issue they believed in, reminding us all the power is in the hands of the people.
Funnyman Stephen Colbert first got his start in front of a national audience on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Playing a caricatured version of a political pundit, Colbert became so popular he landed his own show where he continued poking fun at staunch conservatives by acting like one. In 2010, he brought that satire to the House Judiciary Subcommittee to talk about working in America’s fields. Showing support to migrant workers, Colbert testified while sitting next to the president of the United Farm Workers, he talked about his “vast experience spending one day as a migrant farm worker,” adding that he was happy to use his star power to help the cause.
Stacey Dash just loves talking politics. TMZ recently caught up with the “Clueless” star and she spoke on behalf of Republicans in regard to same-sex marriage. According to Stacey, Republicans are definitely in favor of gay marriage.
“We are for equal marriage,” the 47-year-old actress said. “We’re not against that. We’re not against that at all. We believe everyone should have the same rights.”
Stacey went on to say that she doesn’t get why folks believe that the GOP are against same-sex marriage in the first place.
“That’s just propaganda, that’s not true. That’s just a certain amount of people. You can’t just throw a blanket over everyone because certain people have one opinion.”
Though most naturally roll their eyes when Stacey opens her mouth to discuss politics, we’d have to agree with what she says about making generalizations about everyone in a particular party. However, at the same time, it’s important to note that the official stance of the Republican party on same-sex marriage is that they’re against it. Not to mention that the party’s national platform calls for a ban against it.
As you may recall, last month it was announced that the controversial star would be joining the FOX News team as a regular contributor.
“Stacey is an engaging conversationalist whose distinctive viewpoints amongst her Hollywood peers have spawned national debates,” said Bill Shine, Executive Vice President of Programming, in a statement. – See more at: “We’re pleased to have her join Fox News.”
This should be interesting.
Tuesday, May 13, 2o14
Cast Your Vote For Ras J. Baraka
For Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
“This day, this space, this time and this condition are exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Leadership is not born out of ambition. It’s born out of time and condition.” – Ras J. Baraka/PolitickerNJ.com
This week, Diddy is doing more than dancing. The media and music mogul is lending his influential voice to support to Newark, New Jersey’s leading mayoral candidate, Ras J. Baraka via his personal Instagram:
Meet politician Ras J. Baraka, the South Ward, Newark, New Jersey native, who is also the son of the late iconic poet and activist, Amiri Baraka. A transparent leader in his own right, Mr. Baraka, who has been a community organizer his entire life is determined to carry Newark on his back for all the right reasons.
The Howard University graduate who majored in both Political Science and History notes that his alliance to Newark stems from his family’s roots which span over 70 years in the hardened ‘Brick City.’ With such a deep legacy, its no surprise that Ras Baraka is sincerely vested into transforming Newark into space that is economically healthy, academically rich, and community safe.
Truly impressed by his track record and his commitment to reviving Newark, Mommynoire contacted Ras J. Baraka to hear why he believes he is the most prepared to be mayor.
Kay Hudson, the Deputy Editor, shares her notes from her conversation with the busy politician determined to rebuild Newark into a city that is not recognized for its imperfections, but recognized for its power.
Mommynoire: Why should the residents of Newark call you their mayor?
Ras Baraka: I have built a strong grassroots movement of people, schools, businesses, colleges and universities, health care institutions, organized labor and more to work together to rebuild Newark. I know that a mayor can’t change a city all by himself from the top down. I tell people that “when I become mayor, you become mayor”. I ask people to believe in Newark and in their power collectively to transform our city.
Mommynoire: And if you become Mayor, what core changes would you like to see during your tenure?
Ras Baraka: I would like the city to concentrate on redeveloping our neighborhoods, not just downtown, to end the culture of gangs and violence, and to help strengthen our economy to create more jobs. To transform Newark, a mayor must focus on reducing poverty.
Mommynoire: For those who only hear the negative about Newark, shed light on the pulse of the people who make up the city. Who are they? What is their story?
Ras Baraka: Newark is a city of extraordinary people who are struggling to provide the basics for their families. Newarkers respond passionately when asked to get involved in transforming their city. Very few are involved in the crime that dominates the attention of the news media. The people of Newark, many of them recent immigrants, are deeply involved in the life of our communities.
Mommynoire: What is your solution for the gang and gun culture that plagues Newark? Do you want to clear the trouble makers out? Or do you want to empower them through targeted support based programs?
Ras Baraka: My strategy for dealing with the gangs, Project Chill, involves more than just a police crackdown. I will mobilize the full resources of law enforcement, community leaders, our educational and health institutions and city government . We will directly meet with gang members and give them a choice: If you continue a life of crime, you will be shot dead in the street or spend most of your life in jail. But, if you put down your guns, you can rebuild your life. You will be welcomed with job and literacy training and another help you might need. This concept in endorsed by President Obama’s Department of Justice, and has worked successfully in Boston, Compton, and Minneapolis. My opponent calls that “negotiating with gangs.”
Mommynoire: What are your thoughts on the education climate in Newark? Can the school systems be saved? As a principal, what steps did you take to rebuild Central High School and whats steps will you take to build the rest of the endangered school system?
Ras Baraka: At the present, Governor Chris Christie is trying to shut down our neighborhood schools and turn them over to profit-making companies. I am leading the fight to stop him. As the principal of Central High School, I turned around a failing school and eliminated the gang culture and increased the graduation rate from 50% to 80%. We accomplished this by involving parents in the school, creating activities that are more appealing than gang membership. We worked with feeder schools, brought in colleges and universities to help with curriculum and to provide scholarships. We trained teachers in practices that have proven successful in other urban schools. What we accomplished at Central High School, we can accomplish in all of our schools.
Mommynoire: How has your father’s literary history influenced your life? What core values did he instill in you that you would like to instill into your community?
Ras Baraka: At an early age I was exposed to the arts and to the international struggle for justice and human rights. I was blessed to grow up in my household. My parents Amina and Amiri Baraka exposed me to riches that were literary and also grounded in the reality of the unfair distribution of power and wealth. My parents taught me that the only way to stop injustice is for people to join together and work collectively. All of my life I have been a community organizer.
Mommynoire: Let’s talk about your competitors. How different are your visions for Newark?
Ras Baraka: Shavar Jeffries is the candidate of Wall Street hedge fund operators and political bosses. They want to privatize our schools. They don’t care about our neighborhoods. They are not from Newark or even from New Jersey for that matter. It is so important for them to control Newark that they are spending nearly five million dollars for Jeffries. Shavar is their lapdog in every way.
Mommynoire: Celebrities from entertainment mogul, Diddy to filmmaker, Spike Lee are supporting you and your mission – why do you think they believe you are the man for the job?
Ras Baraka: The celebrities supporting me are those who devote their lives to fighting injustice and to building a better world for all of us. I have worked with them for years, and they know that I am about bringing people together to create change. Like myself they understand that change is possible only through collective action.
Mommynoire: Let’s reflect back, what was Newark like when you were growing up? How has Newark changed since then?
Ras Baraka: Newark has come long way from the aftermath of the rebellion. But we have a long way to go in rebuilding our city. Minority and immigrant business are growing, the downtown business district has attracted new businesses and our once industrial waterfront is in the process of redevelopment. Newark has made enormous strides for the very wealthy. It’s time to focus on the needs of the rest of us.
Mommynoire: Where do you see Newark 5 years from now?
Ras Baraka: I envision a Newark in which citizens are empowered to do for themselves and for their city. Our neighborhoods will be reborn and our local shopping districts rehabilitated. We will have a stronger economy because we will have helped our small businesses to grow. The culture of gangs will have been replaced by a culture of love of self and community.
Take a peek at some of Ras Baraka’s accomplishments on the next page:
While Shonda Rhimes provides a gripping look into the dark and twisted world of politics with her hit primetime TV show, “Scandal,” and draws us in with her engaging characters and compelling storylines, most Americans can shut off their televisions each Thursday night with the comfort of knowing that the majority of the insanity going on during the show is not happening at the White House. However, as it turns out, Chinese television viewers may have been led to believe that the political thriller is a “true reflection” of what’s happening in our nation’s capital. Thankfully, during a recent trip to the East Asian country, Michelle Obama was able to clear up some of those misconceptions.
The fashion-forward First Lady learned during a chat with Chinese outlet Caixin that Chinese TV viewers are addicted to a “certain American TV series about Washington politics,” and that many of them are “getting their primary impressions of the president and the first lady” from said series. While there are several TV shows out there that focus American politics, naturally, most assumed that “Scandal” was the show the interviewer was referencing. Lady O, however, made it clear that the White House is nothing like what you see on TV.
“I hate to disappoint people, but real life in the White House is nothing like what you see in that television show,” she explained. “In real life, everyone in the White House — my husband and I and every member of our extraordinary staff — is there for one reason: because we love our country and want to serve it.”
“And that’s what we focus on every day: how to give more Americans a chance to fulfill their dreams, to get a good education, get a good job to support their families, and so much more.”
Well put, Lady O. Well put.
Are we just letting all of this go?
Remember When We Were Going to Shut Barneys Down?
An historic event took place and it got buried in the news! Maybe too many folks were worried about the latest RHOA news to notice. In Washington, D.C. at the end of Black History Month (February 25), more than half of the blacks who have ever served in the Senate gathered for a special panel discussion at the Library of Congress to celebrate Black History Month.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) led the gathering, entitled “Honoring Our Past And Celebrating our Future,” reports The Daily Beast. Five of the seven living black senators attended and spoke of their trailblazing journeys. Scott and Cory Booker (D-NJ) were joined by former senators Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Roland Burris (D-IL), and William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA). Former Senator Ed Brooke (D-MA), who is ill, and Barack Obama, who was senator before he was elected president, did not attend.
While these politicians have made history, there is still much more progress to be made. So far only nine blacks have served in the United States Senate.
“In the history of the Republic, we’ve never had this number of African-American Senators in one place—truly an historical event…that is awesome,” said retired Navy Rear Admiral Barry C. Black, the 62nd Chaplin of the Senate (who is also African American), as he opened the session.
The Senators shared how they overcame obstacles. Moseley-Braun, for example, talked about of how gender and racial bias caused so many difficulties she nearly quit the job once due to the stress. “My Senate years were very difficult,” she said. “Why did they want to run me into the ground? Whatever brickbats and reputation damage they did, it was up to me to take it.”
Burris experienced racism and skepticism. “I had many black people tell me I was crazy or divinely misdirected to think they would elect a black state-wide in Illinois,” said Burris, who in 1978 became the first African-American elected to statewide in Illinois after winning as first as comptroller and then as attorney general.
But Cowan told The Daily Beast “that the American experience would not be complete until both Democrats and Republicans elected blacks to the Senate from every region of the country with frequency and regularity.”
Added Scott, who was elected to finish the term of retiring Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and will have his own election this November, “Our country needs people to represent them based not on what they look like but based on their values and beliefs… I think that in the first 150 years we’ve had four black senators—in the last few decades we’ve had five.”
Building diversity has to happen in the coming elections if the government is truly going to reflect what the nation looks like. Are there any notable politicians in your area? Let everyone know about them in the comments.