Let’s all just be cool.

I know it seems extremely bad, quite horrible, depression worthy and an utter catastrophe of unprecedented proportion, but…
We’ve been through worse and we will get through this. As a matter of fact this is an opportunity. An opportunity to see the depths of what we are dealing with. Now that it’s been laid bare with great anger, vitriol and malice there can be no mistaking on the depths to which the divisions in this country run.
It’s been said,

The problem is not the problem, it’s the way that you see the problem that’s the problem.

So how are we going to see this problem and better yet, what are we going to do? That’s what I implore everyone who is upset by the outcome of this incredibly long and demoralizing election, to think about what you are going to do. Think about the reasons why this happened and what you can do to stop it from happening in the future. It takes all of us to participate in this democracy in order to make it what we want it to be.

I am not happy with the outcome, but experts have said that in this election, no one was actually going to be happy because we disliked both candidates. Both candidates were weak and the lowest of the low won out because they’re stuck in a time warp and the republican candidate told them all the things they wanted to hear with full knowledge that he couldn’t deliver, nor is he actually interested in doing so.

Big Black Scholar would like to let you know that, yes it is ugly, but it will make it. So let’s all grieve, regroup and keep moving forward.

Dr. Carla Hayden to become the new Librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden

Photo from Google.com

Dr. Hayden will officially become the next librarian of Congress. Although President Obama nominated her in February, the vote was just recently passed by the Senate.

Dr. Hayden was the former head of the Public Library system in Baltimore, and also formerly served as the President of the American Library Association.  More on Dr. Hayden and her new position can be found here NPR article

Illinois, their budget and higher education

The Illinois Legislature has been locked in a budget stalemate with Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) since last summer. Rauner sought a 31.5% cut to higher education, but legislators wanted to limit the cut to 8.6%. In the meantime, schools have received no funds from the state government, nor have students who rely on state-awarded Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.

To keep their doors open, schools are deferring maintenance, redistributing funds designated for special projects, laying off staff, cutting sports teams, and considering cutting academic programs.

This is really sad. It’s a microcosm of what’s happened in the country nationally. Two sides fighting over things that do not effect them directly, but they are personally invested in, to the point of where they cannot (or will not) compromise.

And those most ill equipped to endure this kind of high level gridlock, get nothing out of it but suffering. The people who’s lives are being stymied could care less about the ideological battle that politicians are waging, and just want to be able to go to class, tend to the work of educating students and maintaining and operating a university.

This once again shows what our leadership has devolved into, they are so wrapped up in their “anger and ideals” that they are unable to agree on the the basic premise that regardless to how they feel about work still needs to be done. And they’re not getting it done. Most of the time, one’s boss is more interested in the task being completed than anything else. With this kind of failure to carry out their duties, all these “leaders” should be replaced for people who are fit for government, because these people are not.

 

notes: eab

Reflections on Racism: PWIs and minority students Part I

Photo from the NY Times

Photo from the NY Times

It has been about a week since the  incident at Texas A&M University. As I read more about how the incident is being “handled” I wonder why there is still such a lack of proactive education and awareness on diversity and inclusion at PWIs (Predominately White Institutions)?  Like many institutions, A&M has diversity officers and a multicultural/diversity office- and like many institutions, they do well in handling situations that occur on campus and impact the campus community. But one thing that I have also seen and experienced (as a higher education professional who has worked at multiple PWIs), is a lack of campus-wide education and awareness regarding diversity and inclusion in a way that impacts more than just minority students, faculty, and staff.

Implementing initiatives to attract, recruit and admit students of color, means nothing without initiatives aimed at retaining and supporting them. And now we have reached a point where the support must include educating non-minority faculty, staff, and students about how to understand and work with them. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and having organizations for black, hispanic, international, and asian students is not enough. Especially, when members of these organizations make up most of the participants at their events, programs and educational workshops. It is great support for these students, and a celebration of their cultures. But…as I have observed, there is a lack of a white (and particularly a white-male) presence at many of the events, programs, training sessions, and workshops related to cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion.They are preaching to the choir.  Continue reading

Brown University: $100M Diversity Plan

google.com

google.com

Brown University released a statement regarding a plan they have drafted to invest $100M over the next decade in diversity efforts to address racial and ethnic injustice, and promote diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. Providence Journal

Personal Reaction: A Fear of Teaching

Photo credit- www.buzzhourly.com

Photo credit- www.buzzhourly.com

Last week my brother sent me a link to a post (Urban Edge Post) by a former Texas teacher and school administrator Kristi Rangle. In the post, “I was a teacher. I’m worried my daughter will follow in my foosteps” Rangle described how her daughter grew up watching her as an educator, and helping her at school events and decorating her classroom. She goes on to describe her daughter’s surprise at disapproval of her interest in a career in teaching. Rangle expressed,

“The state of teaching has taken some unexpected twists and turns that would make any parent concerned about it as a career choice for their child.” Like many educators, Rangle fears that if her daughter becomes a teacher, she “like many other teachers- will be scapegoated as the reason public education is failing.”

Rangle raises some interesting points including: not addressing the decline and turnover of teachers in public schools; using quality teaching as the number one excuse for student’s academic success; the heavy burdens that teachers endure; and the lack of financial support. I found this post interesting for several reasons. One, my mother is also an educator in Texas, in an urban school district. She was a public school teacher for over 20 years and is now an administrator. Continue reading

“Qatar out of our schools”- Arabic Immersion in Texas

Arabic 1

Last week was the first week of school for many K-12 and college students across Texas. In Houston, last week was the first week of school for HISD’s new Arabic Immersion Magnet School. Though the district and superintendent Terry Grier were proud of the new school and its potential unique educational value for students, some Houstonians opposed and protested the opening of the school.

On Monday August 26th, students and parents were welcomed by protesters who believe the school’s half Arabic, half English immersion structure to be “anti-American.” The Arabic Immersion school is not the first immersion school in the district, but it is however the first that has been met with such opposition. In 2012 there were no protesters at the site of the opening of HISD’s Mandarin Immersion School.

According to the Chron.com, “Arabic was the second most common language other than English spoken by HISD families last school year.”  The Arabic-speaking population in the greater Houston area has increasingly grown since 2009 to over 20,000 people. Also, Houston is the nation’s energy capital, and most people believe it is beneficial to have graduates who can speak multiple languages, in particular those popular among countries included in the energy industry.

On August 26th, there were about 30 adult protesters outside of the school, who held signs including phrases such as “Qatar out of our school,” “American Schools American Kids,” and “Everything I ever cared to know about Islam was taught to me by Muslims on 9-11-2001.”

As expected, many people including school officials took to social media (twitter) to voice concerns, opposition, and support of Arabic Immersion education as well as increasing immersion programs across the district.

Personally, I think immersion programs are a huge benefit to students, families, society, and the business industries. It is unfortunate that students, teachers, and parents were subjected to this ignorance from the “protesters.” There signs indicate a lack of knowledge regarding the current and growing diversity in Houston…
Arabic 2 Arabic 3 Arabic 4 Arabic 5

 

Photo and Information Sources: The Houston Chronicle

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