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Target's Celebration of Black History Month Called Dare-Dream-Do

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Target Stores or now Target Corporation, because of a recent name change, has been celebrating Black History Month since 2006 and they always notify the owners of Black newspapers to carry their message for free. The Target Corporation is one of the nation’s largest advertisers yet they fail to see us as advertising partners.

They see Black Americans and our news papers as customers and contributors to this great nation, in my opinion, but only as a means to get its message to our people.

The Target ad for this y ear shows four Blacks who are successful because they “Dare-Dream and Do.” If you s aw the ad it would say to you Target cares so come and spend your money with us so we can continue to care but share your money with other communities . Target donates over $3 million each week to community organizations but falls short when you look at what they give to Black-run organizations as benefactors o f this generosity. The other known reason for this type of ad with Black faces in them is it will attract us as loyal customers into their stores when it comes to spending money.

Target, like its competitors and other corporations in America, have policies on corporate responsibility, community outreach, and diversity in employment and supplier services. These are well meaning written policies but always come up short when it comes to the African American people. According to a statement on their website, they are proud of their diversity investment programs and opportunities but did not list those investments. They only listed one Black organization in Los Angeles that they contribute to which is the Afro American Museum. Locally, I have not seen nor heard of any efforts of the 31 Target Stores in the Inland Empire communities. Yes they have 31 stores in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Maybe you should inquire of the s tore manager the next time you visit the store in your community.

Like their ad implies I “Dare” you to ask them to give back to the community to help you fulfill your “Dream” of a good education from their scholarship program, or a job to help with their diversity employee opportunities o r better y et a contract for supplies or service. Then we can change the “Do” into a we Did it together.

Charter Schools: If You Build It, They Will Come

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on February 4th, charter schools are returning to the past of racial separation or racial isolation according to a study completed at UCLA.

This was one of the drawbacks from some voices when charter schools were first put on the table as one of the solutions to improve public education. I have no doubt that the study is correct but there is more to educating our young people than what race is in the classroom with you. It is important but only if our children are improving their education.

I remember the nation saying integrate our schools with full deliberate s peed which is still our nation’s goal. Part of the problem is we have spent the last 50 years counting bodies instead of teaching our kids to count. So I hope we don’t get caught up in that distraction again especially Black Americans. While we were counting racial bodies Whites were leaving the inner cities to legally separate school districts in newly formed communities. We were hopping on buses to segregated class rooms on integrated campuses. I witnessed whites bused into minority community schools only to be taught by experienced teachers with no Blacks or Hispanics in that special, white-only, magnet class. I witnessed the suspension and expulsion rate of Black and Hispanic students go through the rooftop especially boys. I witnessed the dropout rate of this same population hit the 50 percent level in many districts. I witnessed the dumbing down of student curriculum to Black and Hispanic students implying we cannot l earn. I witnessed the closing down of schools in minority communities which s ends the signal, education is not important to us, yet studies have shown that Blacks and Hispanics vote at a higher rate for school bond funding than any other group of people.

While all of this was going on administrators and teachers salaries were on the rise with fewer Blacks going into education. The cost of books kept going up and up with les s diversity in them to reflect a diverse nation. And I might add the integration policies o f our public schools leaves a lot to be desired as our Black students fall further and further behind.

So now that more Blacks are saying put the money in our hands so we can have a greater say in the education of our children, UCLA wants to do what they did in the sixties put another topic in the mix. They told us in the sixties we could not l earn because of our income, while it has an impact it has nothing to do with a child’s l earning ability. Mom would say your job is to learn to read, write, and count while in the class. You can eat when you get home. Now I know some people will say that some don’t have it that well but I use to put sugar in a saucer with water then sop it with a biscuit after school, then go into the tobacco field and help before dark.

So now I see the value of well intended people that are committed to putting education at the top of the agenda for African American children and I am all for that. One thing I have l earned in my years of working in education, if you build a high achieving student body, people will come regardless of race.

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