***************** RELEASING JUNE 19, 2016 ******************
We are pleased to announce our soon-to-be-released multi-contributor anthology, “Why Black Lives Matter (Too)”! Recognizing that the fight for social justice and equality is bigger than any one person and that there is room for diverse talents and expertise of anyone who is committed to freedom, this multi-contributor anthology comprises curated essays written by 50 social justice advocates from across the nation.
Our release date, June 19th, is set to coincide with Juneteenth—also known as Independence Day or Freedom Day—a holiday commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African American slaves throughout the Confederate South.
Book Summary: The Black Lives Matter movement evolved as a protest against police brutality against unarmed Black men. This book extends beyond police brutality to revolutionize the national conversation about racial injustice and inequality and advocate for freedom and justice for all Black Americans. Addressing a range of hot button issues and racial disparities that disproportionately impact the Black community, this is a call to action that will challenge you to confront your long-held values and beliefs about Black lives and confront your own white privilege and fragility as you examine racial justice and equality in a revolutionary way.
All proceeds will benefit The Sentencing Project, a leader in the effort to bring national attention to disturbing trends and inequities in the criminal justice system through the publication of groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns and strategic advocacy for policy reform. Our gift to the organization will support their efforts to promote reforms in sentencing policy, address unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocate for alternatives to incarceration.
Stay tuned, and please consider purchasing this book, when available, to support the vital work of The Sentencing Project.
***************** RELEASING JUNE 19, 2016 ******************
By Sevgi Fernandez
“What are you?”
The question that’s been on repeat since I burst into this world
A little caramel girl who would grow up with the weight of two worlds
“What are you?”
I’m LOST between two worlds at war with one another
I’m lost between two worlds that made me, yet neither will claim me
If I listen to you………
I’m too light,
like I’ve blinded u with my high yellow ass
I’m too dark,
like the pit of your soul
I must be uneducated, unemployed, and unloved
I must be stuck up, a sell out and all the above
If I listen to you I,”talk like a white girl”
Yet my “white girl speech” doesn’t erase the melanin in my skin
What are u?
Mexican, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian?
I must be black….no I must be white….no no that’s right,
I’m so tired of the labels
I’m so tired of you trying to find out what I am so you can decide whether I’m worth your respect
What am I?
I’m a mother…a daughter… .a sister….
What am I?
I am done with the labels, the stereotypes, the games
No longer will my self worth be determined by your shame
I am the bridge between two worlds
I am Found, no longer bound by the fear and ignorance that surrounds
No longer will I take the bait to hate myself because u fear what I am and what I will become
I am found
I am found
By Sevgi Fernandez
As I look at the state of our country and the racial divide I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, although formal segregation hasn’t been at play in many years, racism has never left and it plays out in our schools everyday.
With the majority of students in k-12 public schools being of color and the majority of the teachers in these schools being white, the racial biases the teachers hold are cause for great concern. Aside from parents, one could argue that teachers are the next most influential people in our children’s lives. They lay the foundation for how our young people view education and what they are capable of becoming in the future. They are pivotal in how far reaching our children’s dreams will be.
Institutional racism is a pervasive machine that begins to work on a child’s sense of self worth the moment they begin school. It’s a machine that’s been well oiled and perfected over the years. With knowledge comes power and one need only look at the history of racial oppression in this country to see why the white dominant society would want to create and perpetuate a system that makes getting a quality education equal to that of their own extremely difficult to attain for people of color.
“So while our education system is highly problematic—it is neither fair nor equal—it’s not broken. It does exactly what it was deliberately built to do.” C. Royal
If we look back at the history of education in the U.S., we can clearly see how the systematic approach to keep people of color uneducated began.
Although many slaves and free Africans found ways to self teach and there were whites who aided them in their education, there was a significant amount of time in which there were few schools available to them.
In the 1600-1700’s there was a steady increase in schools and educational options for blacks yet by the early 1800’s leading up to the imancipation proclamation, many southern states outlawed the education of blacks both free and slaves. These laws had steep penalties for anyone caught aiding in the education of blacks as well.
In the interest of keeping this an article and not having it turn into a book, I’m go to skip around a bit. So let’s fast forward to 1954 and Brown vs The Board of Education. On May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in schools. Did that change things? Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately the statistics aren’t all one would have hoped.
It’s telling that we live in a country where it took a Supreme Court order to desegregate our schools. What’s even more abhorrent is the fact that since over 200 school districts (mostly in the south) were released from this court order, many quickly returned to their segregated ways.
“But while segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious: in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino students, in particular, from everyone else. In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.” (N.H. Jones)
The effects of this systematic racism are apparent in the African American community across the country, wherever you look. It’s in the hopelessness of our youth, in the violence within our communities and at the hands of the police. It’s in the educational system that is set up to fail our kids and the healthcare system that is either unattainable or so discriminatory many fear ever seeking out the care they need. Rather than educating and nourishing the minds of our young people of color, the system is feeding the school to prison pipeline .
“Young Black men — across the board — score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness. And many African American men, in turn, are virtually locked out of employment and are filling up the nation’s prisons in disproportionate numbers.” (J. Daniels)
“Nearly 75 percent of imprisonment spending happens at the state level, where dollars are drawn from a general fund that is meant to pay for a range of public needs, including health care, housing, public assistance, and education.” S. Hawkins
So when people wonder what all the protests are about, what black people are so upset about, just open your eyes!!!! Why are our youth rioting??!!! It’s not just about police brutality, it goes much deeper. Look at the reality these young people face everyday. Poor quality education, teachers who don’t understand them culturally, who don’t believe in them, who tell them what they cannot be.
“When black teachers and white teachers are asked to sum up black high school students’ potential, white teachers are much less likely to see black students as college material. And that’s true even when they’re discussing the same students.” L. Nelson
They face a school system that has been designed for whites to excel. A system that is funneling our children of color into prisons at epic proportions. A curriculum that is culturally irrelevant to a huge percentage of those it’s there to teach. A system that is funneling money into prisons while subsequently starving the programs that could keep our kids out of prison. They are insuring the continuance of the cycles of poverty, illiteracy and hopelessness.
This system is purposeful. There have been plenty of studies that have examined why the system is failing African American children and plenty that have offered solutions, yet here we are.
For example, the “No Child Left Behind” law that instituted mandatory testing with the purpose of accountability, has failed miserably. The number of African American drop outs increased by 10% in its first 10 years. One study shows only 50% of the nations girls of African American, Hispanic, and Native American descent are actually graduating high school. The statistics for boys are much lower. W.B. Harvey
- The curriculum is designed by whites for whites.
- The testing is based on this curriculum and once again was designed by whites for whites.
- Schools are concerned with test scores only, not the child, not the education
- Most of our urban public schools are non-white and subsequently underfunded
- Many African American children are misinterpreted and mislabeled due to racial stereotyping
- These children feel the effects of this stereotyping and begin to feel dumb because they are labeled dumb
If we examine this list, we can see why our African American youth are in the state they are in. I was fortunate to sit on the thesis committee of an incredible educator, Chilufiya Safaa, she summed up what these children are facing with heart piercing accuracy:
“The children act out; they take on the labels of being dumb or trouble. They then become vulnerable to the streets, jail, and death. They start fighting each other rather than fighting against the stereotypes and the system which is oppressing them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Wake up folks. We are steadily heading backwards. Racism and segregation are very real and our young and vulnerable are faced with it everyday. We can’t just complain, or close our eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist. It takes critical thinking and community action. What can you commit to do in your community to address these issues and bring about change? If you don’t know here are some places to start:
- Tavis Smiley Reports. EPISODE 5: Too Important to Fail. Fact Sheet: Outcomes for Young, Black Men. Tamika Thompson
- SELF-TAUGHT, African American Education in Slavery and Freedom. HEATHER ANDREA WILLIAMS. CHAPEL HILL: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS, 2005.
- The Impact of the Brown v. Board of Education Decision on Postsecondary Participation of African Americans. William B. Harvey, Adia M. Harvey and Mark King. The Journal of Negro Education,Vol. 73, No. 3, Special Issue: Brown v. Board of Education at 50 (Summer, 2004), pp. 328-340
- http://m.ourweekly.com/news/2013/oct/03/whats-african-american-literacy-rates/. What’s up with African American literacy rates?Story by David L. Horne, PH.D. 10/3/2013
- Racism in K-12 Public Schools: Education Series July 12, 2011, JessieDaniels,racismhttp://www.racismreview.com/blog/2011/07/12/racism-k-12/
- Racism in the classroom: the “soft bigotry of low expectations” is just regular bigotry. Libby Nelson, August 19, 2015, @libbyanelson firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nikole Hannah-Jones, ProPublica, April 16, 2014, 11 p.m.
- http://m.prospect.org/article/education-vs-incarceration. Steven Hawkins
- http://magazine.good.is/articles/our-education-system-isn-t-broken-it-s-designed-to-create-winners-and-losers. Our Education System Isn’t Broken, It’s Designed to Create Winners and Losers. Camika Royal.
Join us for the second in our three part series Unite Against Racism: Breaking Down Walls and Building Community; Challenging Racism and Islamophobia.Given the growing divide along racial and religious lines in this country and globally, we will focus this seminar on examining where the breakdowns in communication and understanding are occuring specifically between blacks/whites and Muslims/Non-Muslims. Sevgi Fernandez of Together We Stand and Dr. John P. Fernandez of ARMCGlobal, global leaders on racism, sexism and diversity training, will be facilitating. The emphasis will be to create GolbalTREE, Trust, Respect, Empathy, Ethics, through a multifaceted approach using individual and group exercises.
Please RSVP to Diversewc@gmail.com, we will be emailing attendees an exercise to do prior to the workshop.
Register now, space is limited!!!
Unite Against Racism: Breaking Down Walls and Building Community
Saturday, Jan. 23rd 2016 at 2:30-5:30pm
2930 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA
Welcome – Introductions
Individual – Group Exercises
Closing – personal commitments to change
Western Institute for Social Research
Since 1975 WISR, the Western Institute for Social Research, has been a multicultural academic institution of higher learning devoted to social change and community improvement. WISR, is a community-based, globally connected degree granting institution of higher learning. WISR’s students can earn Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines related to community improvement and leadership, educational innovation, counseling psychology, and progressive social change.
2930 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA, United States Mail@wisr.edu 510 655-2830 wisr.edu
Advanced Reaearch Management Consultants
Advanced Research Management Consultants Global, LLC– is a full service human resources, executive coaching, diversity, mentoring, marketing, e-learning and video production firm. We specialize in assisting organizations realize their competitive advantage on a local and global scale.
ARMC Global develops and delivers seminars in such areas as leadership, global virtual teams, teambuilding, communications, generation gap, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender), work and life balance, cultural clashes, conflict resolution, Proactive Inclusion® and GlobalTREE℠ (Trust, Respect, Empathy, and Ethics).
701 West Allens Lane, Philadelphia, PA, United States JPF@Globaltree.com 215 247-4547 armcglobal.com
Sevgi Fernandez – Together We Stand – Diverse World Coaching
Diverse World Coaching specializes in working with blended, cross-cultural and interracial families as well as individuals struggling with racial identity formation, anxiety and depression.
Together We Stand advocates for victims of racism, discrimination and police brutality across the country. We are developing a youth leadership academy that will train participants to become social change agents and prepare them to enter college with an excellent foundation in social justice advocacy.
Together We Stand also offers the following workshops:
Racism and White Privilege
Parenting Mixed Race Children: Understanding their Racial Identity Development
Navigating the Blended Family
Youth Empowerment through Community Action
Richmond, CA, United States email@example.com
Dear Neighbor, I don’t know who you are, but you surely know me. We’re a pretty conspicuous family: two dads—one white and one Asian—and two young kids—one black and one Latino—who live right up the street from Thoreau Elementary. Maybe you’ve seen me reading on the porch while my kids play soccer in the front […]
Video: An incredibly moving piece by The New York Times Magazine writer.
Jan 13, 2014 | Updated Jan 23, 2014
On a recent episode of “Oprah’s Lifeclass,” Iyanla Vanzant joined Oprah to discuss the issue of colorism, the prejudices people can face based on the lightness or darkness of their skin tone. While many understand colorism as the discrimination against darker-skinned African-Americans, two of Oprah’s lighter-skinned audience members surprise Iyanla with the colorism discrimination they face as well.
Though one of the women has seen first-hand how some of her darker-skinned family members are treated, she says that she, too, struggled with discrimination. “Being a light-skinned girl, you get called names,” she tells Iyanla. “You get called ‘lite-brite,’ you get called ‘high yellow,’ ‘redbone.’ This is a reality every day.”
Having longer hair or lighter skin, she continues, makes others in her community assume she thinks she is prettier than them — something she says simply isn’t true. “You’re alienated from your own people. You’re never black enough,” she says. “But we’re still black in America. None of us feel advantaged.”
Iyanla finds this prejudice against lighter-skinned black women very interesting. “Both the dark and the light are experiencing the same thing at different ends of the spectrum,” she says before turning to the woman who had shared her story. “You got insulted by being called ‘high yellow’ or ‘redbone,’ but somebody [darker] being called a ‘coon,’ a ‘jiggaboo,’ and a ‘monkey,’ –
“We’re called that too,” another light-skinned audience member interrupts. “We’re called ‘coon’ and ‘jiggaboo’ and all those same things too. We’re still called that on top of ‘light bright’ and all those other things.”
“So the outside world that sees you as just a black person heaps the black stuff on you and then within the community, you get it,” Iyanla says. “Wow.”
Also in the video, one of the audience members explains the only way she believes real healing can begin, prompting Iyanla to give Oprah a “tweetable moment.”
For video- http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4588825
This article discusses what many will not, personal bias. The author even goes one step further in examining her biases against her own people. It gives a clear and frightening look into how people of color can internalize the racism and oppression they’ve experienced and turn it on themselves and/or their peers. The messages portrayed in the media, school curriculum, and society as a whole are so negative and demeaning and pervasive that we as people of color often apply them to ourselves without even being aware.
I harbor prejudices about people like me: Black and living in the inner city. However, I wasn’t fully aware of it until one night I hobbled on to the number one subway train on Manhattan’s Upper West Side using my cane.