Monday, March 10, 2014

Mary Willingham Teaches High School Student Athletes to Get theBest College Scholarship Deal; Superman, You Are Here!;

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Making Progress; Moving Forward!
Mary Willingham Teachers Student Athletes
Superman, You Are Here
Gov. Patrick Deval on My Brother's Keeper
PNC Bank Helps with Taxes
Kwame Nkrumah Academy
I Am Asking For Your Help to Educate Black Boys
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Mary Willingham, Educator
a national hero for helping college student athletes graduate from college
was in Chicago speaking to outstanding high school student athletes about getting the best deal possible from the colleges that are recruiting them.
Mary Willingham (second from left) meets Cliff Alexander (second from right), the 2014 Naismith Award Winner for Best Boys Basketball Player in America. Mr. Alexander is 6'9", 240lbs, averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocked shots per game while leading Curie High School to the much vaulted Chicago City Championship. Also in this picture are Jonathan Jackson, National Spokesmen for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (left) and Mr. Alexander's Mother (right). Mr. Alexander will attend the University of Kansas in the fall.
Ms. Willingham teaches outstanding student athletes how to balance athletics and academics, how to negotiate for the best long-term scholarship deal, how to prepare for life after athletics, and how to keep your family and community engaged with your decision-making process.
Ms. Willingham, small White woman in yellow Educate or Die shirt, stands with a group of outstanding Chicago high school student athletes who could possibly defeat some of the best teams in the NCAA. Some of their parents are in this picture.
Mary Willingham is in great demand across the country. If you are interested in having Ms. Willingham speak to the coaches, high school administrators, parents and student athletes in your city, please call The Black Star Project at 773.285.9600.
Superman, You Are Here

March 7, 2014

Lacey Holsworth and Superman (Adreian Payne)
Recently I read an article in Bleacher Report about a little girl from St. Johns, Mich., who is battling neuroblastoma, a cancer that strikes infants and children.
Lacey Holsworth, 8, has family and friends willing her through surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but one man stands out: Adreian Payne, the guy she calls Superman.
Payne is a star basketball player for Michigan State University and he's quite a giant at 6-foot-10. He and his teammates met Lacey in January 2012 when they visited sick kids at the hospital in Lansing, Mich., that was treating her.
It is common for college athletes to occasionally visit hospitals, a good deed to make someone's day and generate positive publicity for the team. In a video produced last year by the Big Ten Network, Lacey says she asked Payne to stay with her a while longer that day because of his smile. He gave her his phone number and told her to stay in touch.
He has stuck with this precocious little girl ever since. The bond between them has gone well beyond a goodwill gesture. It transcends color (she is white; he is brown) and sport.
They refer to each other as brother and sister. She goes by Princess Lacey on Twitter, and you can see there that she loves all things pink - and green if it's associated with Michigan State.
"She's fighting so much and still has a smile on her face," Payne said by phone. "To see a young girl go through a fight like that and still have so much joy ... she's only 8 years old."
Superman, you are here!.
Thursday, Lacey felt strong enough to join Payne for his senior-night recognition ceremony after a win against Iowa. With one hand, she held his as they prepared to make their entrance. The other held a bouquet of roses. She wore a sparkly skirt, green Michigan State jersey and an eager grin.

Payne swooped her up in his arms to carry her across the basketball court. Just like Superman.
Click Here to Read Full Story

Why being my brother's keeper matters
By Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick
March 8, 2014

As a Black man, my heart aches over the disproportionate numbers of men and boys of color left back by schools, left out of jobs and caught up in crime.
As a Black public official, I am struck by how little appetite there seems to be among law makers to deal with the root causes of this. So, I am encouraged by President Obama's leadership in his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative.

We all know the statistics. Disproportionately more African and Hispanic-American boys are in poverty, ill-nourished and without adequate health care; more stuck in achievement gaps or in underperforming schools; more subject to school discipline; more "disconnected," as the social scientists say, from college education and jobs; more victims of violence or in jail. We also know how interconnected these calamities are, how poverty, for example, connects to school readiness, or how critical good fathers are to growing boys into responsible men.
And yet we listen to the statistics and the news reports with a measure of resignation, as if these realities are beyond our capacity to care about and to solve.

The president has wisely engaged us all. His initiative brings business and philanthropic leaders together with policy makers, educators, faith leaders and law enforcement, to consider how to save boys and men of color.
As we charge young men of color to break their destructive cycles, we as policymakers can help by breaking a few of our own. President Obama's initiative will give young men who work hard and play by the rules a chance to succeed. That's good for them and for America.
Click Here to Read Full Article
This opinion piece originally ran in the Bay State Banner.
My Brother's Keeper -
A Perspective from Mother Africa

Last week President Obama announced a new initiative with leading foundations and businesses that will take a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color - and they're getting to work immediately.
He signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother's Keeper Task Force to help determine which public and private efforts are working, how the Federal government can support those efforts, and how we can get more folks involved in those efforts across the board.

While the President should be applauded for launching this initiative, I am reminded of an example from our motherland that serves as a call to action within our communities.
We must insist that government resources paid for with our taxes should be directed to our most intractable problems. Yet, we should also support grassroots efforts that operate in the spirit of the Maasai Warriors of Kenya.
I have seen strong leadership at the grassroots level in communities all over the country. One of the concerns I have about the President's initiative is that the initiative will "cherry pick" programs of the well-connected, and many of the effective grassroots programs will suffer from lack of funding.
I am encouraged and hopeful that this initiative will gain support and strength within our communities, and outlive President Obama's term in office.

Roger Madison
CEO, iZanial
Click Here to Read Full Perspective
PNC Bank Supplies Tax Preparation
to Those Who Need Help
Register Your Child At A School
That Honors Their Heritage
Kwame Nkrumah Academy
314 W. 108th Street
Chicago, IL 60628
773.568.8000 phone
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Only 10% of 8th-grade Black boys in the United States read at a proficient level according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This predicts an absolute catastrophe for Black communities across America in the next 5- to 10-years!!! There is no plan, that I know of to teach more than 10% of Black boys to read proficiently in America.
I have spent much of my life asking elected officials for help, asking faith leaders for help, asking business leaders for help, asking parents for help. For the most part, I received very little help to teach Black boys to read.

Now I am asking you for help.
Shavelle Bell, sitting left and Tiffany Hope, right, representing the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc - Theta Omega Chapter, make a generous donation to the Young Black Men of Honor Mentor Program at The Black Star Project. Phillip Jackson is sitting between them with mentees behind them.
If only 10% of Black boys read proficiently:
  • How will they qualify for the few, precious job opportunities in America?
  • How will they support families?
  • How will they help build and stabilize our communities economically and socially?
  • How will they be able to serve as role models and mentors for coming generations of young Black Boys?
  • Who will our daughters marry???!
  • Can the Black community survive if our male children cannot read?
I have asked the White House, the State House and City Hall for help to teach Black children to read, but apparently at this time, this is not a priority for them. Is it a priority for you?
I am asking you to help us financially so that we can teach Black boys to read at a proficient level.
If you know of another organization doing as much or more than The Black Star Project to educate Black students and develop Black families, you should support that organization financially now! If you do not know of another organization doing this work, please support The Black Star Project.
I thank Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford, Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins, and Chicago Alderman Will Burns for their ongoing support for The Black Star Project. I also thank Illinois State Representative Esther Golar for her personal support for The Black Star Project.
Now, I need your support to teach Black boys to read proficiently.
With your support we can accomplish much more. Please become a member of The Black Star Project today and help us continue our nation-leading work in the area of creating better students, better parents, better families and better communities!
Phillip Jackson
Executive Director
Click Here to become a member of The Black Star Project
or you may send checks or money orders to:
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive, Suite 2B
Chicago, Illinois 60653
2011 Reading Levels of 8th-Grade
Black Males from the Lowest-Performing
Large American School Districts*
City\Percentage of 8th-Grade Black Males Proficient in Reading*
Milwaukee - 3%
Cleveland - 3%
Detroit - 5%
Washington (D.C.) - 6%
San Diego - 7%
Dallas - 7%
Baltimore City - 7%
Chicago - 9%
Jefferson County, (KY) - 9%
Atlanta - 9%
Los Angeles - 9%
Philadelphia - 9%
Austin - 9%
Houston - 9%
Hillsborough County (FL) - 9%
Boston - 10%
Miami-Dade - 11%
Charlotte - 12%
New York City - 13%
* Source: Minority Students and Public Education by Dr. Michael Holzman. This information was extracted from the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 2011.

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