The story actually begins in 1863. It was on January 1st of that year that the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery was enacted by President Abraham Lincoln. It wasn’t as easy as flipping a switch. It would be one of many incidents in America where dragging the feet of justice would become a dance move as popular as the Cha Cha Slide. One example is the desegregation of American schools. While the 1954 Supreme Court ruled to eliminate segregated schools, actions to make it happen would “slide” into practice across the nation. In Kalamazoo, Michigan (not Birmingham, Alabama) it wasn’t until May 6, 1971, that Kalamazoo’s Board of Education officially desegregated its schools. That’s almost 20 years AFTER the ruling by the highest court of the land!
What is Juneteenth and why is the celebration significant? READ MORE!
Everyone remembers where they were during devastating events. For me, I remember clearly what happened the day of the 1980 tornado in Kalamazoo. Check out this story and the exhibit displaying this Kalamazoo Moment! READ MORE!
I would sprint 30 minutes nonstop from there to Kings Plaza Shopping Center dodging bottles, garbage cans, baseball bats, and a torrential downfall of “Nigger this and Nigger that” just to make it home safely. And then, I would immediately worry about having to navigate those same streets again the next day. This was a year or two before Yusuf Hawkins, a 16-year-old black teen, who had gone to inquire about a used car, was chased and murdered by a white mob in Bensonhurst. Already, my mother had warned me about going alone into Canarsie, Brighton Beach, Bay Ridge, and Sheepshead Bay, but somehow, she forgot to mention Ralph and K. READ MORE!
Low-income African American students and students with disabilities have been passed through the system unable to read and do math at their age and grade level. In most cases, students are two years behind. However, in some cases four or more years behind in their reading and math skills.
KPS School Board must mandate the testing of all students to determine what reading and math skill areas students are below grade level in. Each student must have an Educational Development Plan targeted to strengthen the specific skill level area of weakness until the student is grade-level proficient!
As we go on into the New Year we want you to continue sharing your stories, ideas, and comments on how Community Voices can be a vital resource to our community. We will welcome in Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States for a second term. That dream was one provided to him through the foundation of others who came before him. Those such as Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to run for presidency (1972) had already made history as the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1968. READ MORE!
Community Voices-A New Year and New excitement and changes to come. Read of our desire to continuing serving the Multi-Cultural Community of West Michigan and the variety of ways we’d like to partner with others. READ MORE!