Monday, December 20, 2010

African American males are not waiting for superman - they need mentors, coaches and heroes

They were climbing the ladder for 33 years during the desegregation era.  But the support programs of that era have been increasingly removed in recent years by design.

Dallas ISD Trustees were recently presented information on the African American Success Initiative.

The mission of the Success Initiative is stated in these words:  “Dallas ISD is committed to the achievement of each student and is moving to eradicate the achievement gap and increase access to opportunities for its African American students.”

Growing out of the Success Iniative is an offshoot identified as The African American Male Leadership Team composed of Principals and other district leaders. These leaders recently held the first Dallas ISD Speak Out.

Speak Out: Obstacles Keeping African American Males from Graduating from High School and Going to College

An Op-Ed piece by Principal Earl Jones of Kimball High School, a member of the Male Leadership team, was published today in the Dallas Morning News.  It is well worth reading.

Choose one young man to mentor

"One of the most powerful moments of the speak out came from a student who challenged each adult present to look around and choose one young man to mentor and encourage, so the young man would know someone is pulling for him."

A wish that school was a hotel
Principal Jones described “a young man who shared his story of an incarcerated father, a mother who had given up her parental rights, brothers who didn’t want him in the family - and told him as much.  This determined young man, president of his senior class, wished only that his school was a hotel so he could live there instead.”

These young men don't need a superman myth, but they do need the support and help of mentors, coaches and heroes.

Book - Black Males - An African American View on Raising Young Men - Harvey Alston Best

Little Eyes Upon You
There are little eyes upon you
and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
take in every word you say.

There are little hands all eager
to do anything you do;
And a little man who's dreaming
of the day he'll be like you.