San Antonio elects first African American Mayor

Ivy Taylor

 

On June 13, 2015 Ivy R. Taylor was elected Mayor of San Antonio; before this, she was appointed by the San Antonio City Council to serve as interim Mayor following Julian Castro’s departure.

Ivy Taylor is the first African American person and first woman to be elected mayor of San Antonio. Taylor is also the second female African American mayor elected in Texas history, and the first Black person to be elected in a city that is majority Hispanic.

Previously, she served as a City Council Representative for five years. Mayor Taylor also worked in San Antonio in the City’s Housing and Community Development and Neighborhood Action Departments. Additionally, she worked with a variety of community associations and organizations on city redevelopment projects. Mayor Taylor previously worked as the Vice President for Merced Housing Texas, and is currently a lecturer in the Public Administration Department and College of Public Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

Mayor Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Yale University and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from UNC Chapel Hill.

 

While attending UNC, she served as an intern with the San Antonio Affordable Housing Association and coalition of affordable housing groups, peaking her interests in housing, urban development and public policy. Taylor has served on the City Planning Commission of San Antonio, on the Board of Directors for the Urban Renewal Agency of San Antonio, Haven for Hope, and currently, is a board member for the Martinez Street Women’s Center.

 

Rachel Dolezal steps down from NAACP Leadership Role

JEROME A. POLLOS/Press Rachel Dolezal, director of education & curator of the Human Rights Education Institute, discusses the offering of Human Rights Education Institute flags Monday in response to flags flown by local hate groups.

Photo By: JEROME A. POLLOS

 

On June 12, 2015 The NAACP released a statement on their website naacp.org, regarding Rachel Dolezal, the President of the NAACP Spokane Branch. Within the statement was the following:

One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.

 

As of June 15, 2015 Dolezal has officially resigned from her leadership role with the chapter. Her full statement can be found below:

Dear Executive Committee and NAACP Members,

It is a true honor to serve in the racial and social justice movement here in Spokane and across the nation. Many issues face us now that drive at the theme of urgency. Police brutality, biased curriculum in schools, economic disenfranchisement, health inequities, and a lack of pro-justice political representation are among the concerns at the forefront of the current administration of the Spokane NAACP. And yet, the dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.

I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions – absent the full story. I am consistently committed to empowering marginalized voices and believe that many individuals have been heard in the last hours and days that would not otherwise have had a platform to weigh in on this important discussion. Additionally, I have always deferred to the state and national NAACP leadership and offer my sincere gratitude for their unwavering support of my leadership through this unexpected firestorm.

While challenging the construct of race is at the core of evolving human consciousness, we can NOT afford to lose sight of the five Game Changers (Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Health & Healthcare, Education, Economic Sustainability, and Voting Rights & Political Representation) that affect millions, often with a life or death outcome. The movement is larger than a moment in time or a single person’s story, and I hope that everyone offers their robust support of the Journey for Justice campaign that the NAACP launches today!

I am delighted that so many organizations and individuals have supported and collaborated with the Spokane NAACP under my leadership to grow this branch into one of the healthiest in the nation in 5 short months. In the eye of this current storm, I can see that a separation of family and organizational outcomes is in the best interest of the NAACP.

It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley. It is my hope that by securing a beautiful office for the organization in the heart of downtown, bringing the local branch into financial compliance, catalyzing committees to do strategic work in the five Game Changer issues, launching community forums, putting the membership on a fast climb, and helping many individuals find the legal, financial and practical support needed to fight race-based discrimination, I have positioned the Spokane NAACP to buttress this transition.

Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It’s about justice. This is not me quitting; this is a continuum. It’s about moving the cause of human rights and the Black Liberation Movement along the continuum from Resistance to Chattel Slavery to Abolition to Defiance of Jim Crow to the building of Black Wall Street to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement to the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement and into a future of self-determination and empowerment.

With much love and a commitment to always fight for what is right and good in this world,

Rachel Dolezal

Source: naacp.org; The Washington Post

34 Year-old President at Shaw University

Dr. Tashni Dubroy will become the next president of Shaw University this August.

Dr. Dubroy is a native of Jamaica, is 34 years “young”, and will be the 3rd female president of the university. More information and a video regarding this news can be found here: I AM Jamaican

 

Higher Ed. professional fired over Assata Shakur mural

Mural

If college is the marketplace of ideas that should be open to freedom of expression and diversity of ideals, was it really right to remove a mural depicting Assata Shakur from a “remote” area on the campus of Marquette University? Furthermore, was it appropriate (or right) to fire  the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (who was responsible for the creation of the mural)? Some regard Shakur as a terrorist, cop-killer, and dangerous black militant, especially after her murder conviction and escape from prison in the 70’s. However, some regard her as a powerful black activist, a leader, and a feminist leader.

A statement was released on behalf of Marquette University recently regarding the removal of the mural and the dismissal of a well-respected campus administrator:

“This is extremely disappointing as the mural does not reflect the Guiding Values of Marquette University. It is being removed immediately. We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the mural and will take appropriate action.”

Continue reading

11 African American students named “2015 Truman Scholars”

2015 Truman ScholarsThis year over 600 candidates were nominated by over 200 institutions of higher education for the Truman Scholarship, awarded and funded by The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Of the 58 students selected for this prestigious honor, 11 are African American and represent a wide range of colleges and universities across the nation. According to www.truman.gov, “students were selected based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement.”   Continue reading

The “Devil” made her say those things…

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I usually do not post or disseminate information like this, but honestly, this made me sigh, shake my head, and honestly chuckle a bit so I had to share:

A video of a Georgia Principal went viral over the weekend after a graduation ceremony where she looked to have become upset with the attendees. Apparently she skipped over the valedictorian’s speech during the ceremony and became upset when people attempted to leave before she could make up for it by allowing him to give his speech. The situation escalated when she made a remark about “Black people leaving” in front of the entire audience and several people left in an uproar.

Later, she went on to apologize stating that “the devil made me say those things”…and ironically, her son posted a comment on twitter addressing the “niggers” who had an issue with her comment….What a wonderfully, well trained, diverse group of professionals we have in education (yes, that is sarcasm). Feel free to post thoughts and comments! Links to the video from the commencement ceremony and a story regarding the young man are available below.

Graduation Video

Son’s Twitter Reaction

 

 

Tuition Exemption for Texas Veterans: Open Discussion

Some public institutions of higher education in the state of Texas have requested funding from the state legislature to cover or subsidize the cost of tuition for veterans. Under the Hazlewood Act, Veterans and their dependents and spouses are exempt from paying tuition for up to 150 hours at certified institutions. Even though the act is mandated by the state government, the institution or system has the responsibility of paying for the tuition. The University of Houston system has requested full funding from the state legislature because of the great expense the university system has had in the past covering tuition. Here is a link to a story from The Cougar regarding this matter: http://thedailycougar.com/2015/04/29/uh-seeks-hazlewood-funding-legislature/

What do you think: Who should pay for tuition for veterans under the current Hazlewood model? Should it be an institutional or state responsibility? Please feel free to post comments below or tweet them @BigBlackScholar using  #HazlewoodTX

A History of Violence Part One

In lieu of recent protesting and more specifically, the “riots” in Baltimore, let us take some time to think back on the birth of our nation and the struggles that people had to endure for the American Revolution. We do indeed have a history of violence in this country. There were protests, riots, and looting. Remember this? Sons of Liberty

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Closing the Literacy Gap: Barbershop Books

Barbershop Books 2

Alvin Irby (former educator) created the “Barbershop Books” program, as an initiative to promote literacy for young black males. The program is also targeted at helping Black boys associate books and reading as a part of their identity. According to Irby, the idea is simple: identify barbershops that Black families frequent, and set up a shelf of children’s books. Continue reading

Race Together with USA Today and Starbucks

USA Today will expand on the initiative that Starbucks has taken to promote conversations and understanding on Race in America. What are your thoughts? Article Link