Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Rebuilding Together Baltimore(formerly Christmas in April Baltimore), a non-profit organization that provides home renovation to low-income families across the city, recently lent a helping hand to a small family in the Park Heights community.
RTB team members along with community volunteers worked tirelessly to implement accessibility modifications to the home of Tavonia Randall, who cares for her 72-year-old disabled mother Gladys Cole. The home alterations will create a more safe living environment for Cole, a measure that will possibly prevent falls or other accidents from occuring.
Changes to the home included the widening of doorways, installation of a wheelchair lift and the beautifying of a playground for Randall's two grandchildren.
RTB now operates all year around and will assist eligible homeowners in Baltimore. This year they are set to repair and renovate homes for up to 60 homeowners.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Ah yes, racism. The steaming topic always gets America's blood boiling and is perfect cannon fodder for media pundits. It doesn't matter whether your on the side of an advocate for discriminatory practices, civil rights activists battling for equality, or even the middle man touting "Can't we all just get along!" Racism is always good for discussion.
People eat it up when the media brings it to the table. In 1984, Rev. Jesse Jackson said a mouthful during a "private" conversation with reporter Milton Coleman when he referred to Jews as "Hymies" and New York as "Hymietown".
Actor Mel Gibson's private dispute (well at least he thought it was private) with his former girlfriend will now and forever be infamous. Gibson used the "n*****" word in a heated conversation with his estranged girlfriend .
And in 2007 cable network A&E suspended production of the reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter" after its star Duane "Dog" Chapman, made racist slurs during a private conversation with his son.
I was compelled to write this piece after examining the news of late and contemplating on the fact that bigotry, although dismissed in public, is some how given a pass in private conversations and settings.
I am not in the minds and hearts of these men previously mentioned. I won't go as far as saying they are racists or bigots soley based on these incidents. However, I will say their poor judgement stems from years of cultivated ignorance.
At one time or another in private a great deal of us have heard or said unpleasant comments about race in humor or anger. Yet, when we stepped out of our homes the next day we still gave a helping hand to any man/woman in need.
The belief should be that there is no place for biogtry....period. But are we really sincere about our desire to end racism if we spew madness in private and learn to hold our tongues only in public?
That does not eliminate ignornance, it only puts it to bed for another day for it to rise its ugly head.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Malaika-Tamu Cooper is the organizer and sponsor of Poets in the Park, an annual festival held at Gwynn Oak Park in Baltimore County. The event features Hip-Hop/Spoken Word talent from across the country.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
(Thursday, July 8, 2010) Youth and youth advocates stood in front of City Hall demanding a meeting with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Governor Martin O'Malley to discuss investing in youth jobs.
Led by The Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP), a student ran organization comprised of Baltimore City youths, the small crowd gathered in the sweltering heat to make their voices heard. For months, the group along with other youth programs have clamored to be heard by public officials as jobs for youth decline while efforts to build more juvenile detention centers increased.
As a result, BAP claims public officials are perpetuating a vicious cycle where youth are led through the school-to-prison pipeline. According to BAP member Bryant Muldrew, there have been several attempts to reach out to the mayor's office but they were repeatedly ignored.
I can only described this as neglect on the behalf of state government and parents who stand idly by and do nothing. An epic failure in not only youth empowerment, but community development. A $100 million investment in a new juvenile facility is a denouncement of our future and an abandonment of our responsibilities.
People fail to realize this point because "Team Do Right" never had that many cheerleaders, so therefore it wasn't popular. I'm not going to get into bashing public official—even though some do deserve it—instead I will say that priorities and goals for Baltimore City are a little twisted. If we are to be serious about preparing city youth for success we need to place them in the position to do so. No, that position is not behind bars.
Don't get me wrong; juvenile offenders need to be held accountable for their actions. If a child picks up a gun and shoots someone, he needs to face the consequences. However, for kids that WANT to succeed there needs to be opportunities in place for them to do so. The agonizing fact is the streets of Baltimore offer plenty of opportunities.
If a kid wants to be a dope dealer, the door is wide open for him to flood the corners with it. I've been inside the classroom and I can honestly say we're fighting for their lives. We are competing for their respect and their attention; because once their attention shifts they are ONLY facing the edge of a cliff.