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Legacy Roundtable Challenges IE Educators

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Six years following passage of the No Child Left Behind Act; Legacy Roundtable, a Southern California based African-American Think Tank, declares the African-American male an endangered species within the college preparatory classroom. Parents and educators remain equally aware of the achievement gap and continue to struggle with a sound solution to boost poor academic performance and statistics. The US Department of Education 2008 California Progress Report cites African-American 8th grade math proficiency scores in a heat for dead last at 18 percent.

Despite the disparaging statistics, African-American females are graduating from institutions of higher education at increasing rates, however the college campus remains an unfamiliar setting for her male counterpart. Through a cooperative effort, Legacy Roundtable has teamed up with local colleges, churches and community based organizations to answer the call of this forgotten scholar.

With an established goal of 500 African-American males in Calculus By 2012; Southland colleges accept the Legacy Roundtable Challenge via continued support of the 2008 Accelerated Summer Mathematics Academy (ASMA) hosted by: Mt. San Antonio College, Chaffey College and UCR. ASMA is a free eight-week intensive learning experience targeting middle school African-American males who demonstrate good academic standings (+2.0 GPA) and provide evidence of their enrollment in geometry. Classes will be held Monday through Thursday beginning June 23rd and ending on July 31st.

Phase one ASMA classes will be held at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California and Chaffey College located in Fontana, California. Accepted scholars will be immediately enrolled into a college level Intermediate Algebra course offered and instructed by Mt. San Antonio professors. The ASMA curriculum also includes a two-week intensive mathematics review aimed to assist scholars with the mandatory placement exam. This effort is then followed by six weeks of care, nurturing, development and qualified mathematic instruction. Students who complete phase one with passing scores will be eligible to receive college credits.

Phase two of the program includes a one-week residential component hosted by the University of California Riverside and awarded to the top 25 Southern California scholars based upon recommendations of program personnel. Referrals from parents, counselors, teachers, principals, school administrators, community leaders and churches are invited. Applications will be reviewed during April and scholars will be notified of their selection by mid-May 2008.

In addition to the goal of enrolling 500 African American scholars into Calculus by the year 2012, Legacy Roundtable seeks to equip and reinforce the basic math skills needed to compete inside and outside of the classroom.

Earth Day Go Green

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In honor of Earth Day, The Black Voice News has "Gone Green" by offering information to help conserve the nature's resources. Pictured above: Some of the windmill farms in and surrounding Palm Springs, generates enough electricity to power the entire city of Palm Springs and some of the surrounding areas. They can produce from 600-900 megawatts of power. Utilities buy the electricity produced by these 3,100 windmills at the wind farm.  The largest windmills on the property produce enough power for 2,000 homes which would be comparable to a mid-size nuclear reactor.

Community Action Academy Offering Free Workshops

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Community Action Partnership of Riverside County (CAP Riverside) is offering a series of free workshops in April and May covering a variety of facets of non-profit and institutional management and leadership. Workshops will include Transformational Leadership and Board Development (4 hours); Introduction to Grant Development (7 hours); Systems Development (4 hours); Program Design, Development, Monitoring and Evaluation (7 hours); and Program Sustainability (7 hours).

The first workshop will be held on Thursday, April 10, 2008. All workshops will be located at the CAP Riverside office, 2038 Iowa Avenue, Suite B-102 in Riverside. Each workshop will be offered in April and repeated in May. Pre-registration is required. To register, or for dates and times, please call CAP Riverside Community Action Academy at (951) 955-4900 or (800) 511-1110.

Inland Black Community Reaches Out to UCR Black Faculty

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By Chris Levister


The brunch in honor of UCR Black faculty at the Back Stage Restaurant in Riverside, Sunday, was a throwback to the days when Black professorate relegated to historically Black colleges were virtually inseparable from their community's nurturing umbrella.

"We ate together, worshiped together, we struggled together," recalls UCR veteran Professor of Psychology Carolyn Bennett Murray. "Everyone had the same passion and pain."

UCRBlack (l-r): Rickerby Hinds, Keith Harris, Diane Woods, Tracy Fisher, Yolanda Moses, Ray Kea, Carolyn Murray, Paul Greene, Lindon Barrett and Jonathan Walton.

Prior to the 1960s the nearly non-existent number of Black faculty in higher education at predominately white institutions (PWIs) said Murray could undeniably be attributed to deliberate exclusionary practices "so consequently the Black community played a pivotal role in Black professional's lives."

But as the walls of segregation fell and many Black professorate left HBCUs and their communities for PWIs the strong community network vital to their socialization and emotional well-being unraveled.

"We want to rekindle that vital connection between Black faculty and the African-American community," event co-sponsor Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, co-publisher of the Black Voice News told the gathering of a dozen professors and members of the Black community.

Balancing a spread of macaroni and cheese, yams, ham and beans, fried chicken and sweet tea with sweeping admiration, satire and vivid storytelling the event invoked a culturally rich environment rarely seen outside of the Black community.

 "The idea behind this gathering is to rekindle community connectedness by building authentic partnerships that encourage and support Black faculty contribution," said Yolanda Moses, Professor of Anthropology and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Excellence and Diversity. 

Newly named Assistant Superintendent SBCounty, Margaret Hill with UCR Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Excellence & Diversity and Professor of Anthropology Dr. Yolanda Moses.

"These partnerships ensure a healthy vibrant underrepresented student population and an enriched collegiate experience for all UCR students, faculty and staff."

Recalling an Ethiopian proverb "When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion," Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies Paul E. Greene stressed the role of community during the tough years of Jim Crow.

"Everybody supported everybody else. It had to be that way, because you were all so dependent on each other for your development and professional survival. It was like a great big extended family of role models. We stood on the shoulders of trailblazers, it was very powerful."

"Those who lived through the civil rights and Black Power movements know the Black community encompasses the academic, social, cultural and collective totality of every Black experience," said Rickerby Hinds, Assistant Professor Playwriting, Department of Theater and event facilitator. 

Assistant Professor of Women's Studies, Tracy Fisher illustrated the vital race-gender argument. "As women and African-Americans we've come a long way, still at UCR we represent 20 Blacks among a faculty of 900. At times, there's a sense of loneliness and isolation."

UCRfaculty members: Vorris Nunley, Jonathan Walton, and Keith Harris.
"From fighting for social justice to celebrating the African Diaspora to encouraging students to further explore the rich diversity of our heritage, the support network of the Black community keeps us rooted while at the same time it grounds us intellectually and spiritually." added Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Jonathan L. Walton.

"They're social scientists, role models and mentors and despite their relatively small numbers Black faculty consistently challenge the conventional wisdom and confronts the American education system with profound and unsettling insights," said Kevin Baker, president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mu Xi Lambda Chapter, who helped organize the event.  

"They can influence an entire campus, its culture, its values, and eventually its ethos," said Woodie Rucker-Hughes, president of the NAACP Riverside Chapter.

Assistant Professor of English Keith M. Harris agreed. "The concept of "role model" presents a dilemma of welcome opportunities and inevitable challenges. On one hand awareness of a faculty member of color gives some students a sense of membership, proximity or ‘connectedness'. We become highly visible and recognizable to minority students and non-minority students as well," he said.

Waudier “Woodie” Rucker Hughes (center table) with Dr. Abdulmumin and other community members enjoyed meeting UCR’s faculty.

On the flipside said Professor of English Vorris L. Nunley the same visibility and recognition that can provide opportunities can also have detrimental effects. "There's a feeling among some Black students that a Black professor represents a free pass... They say, "he's Black I'm Black that means I don't have to study or work hard." As accessible role models and  powerful predicators of enrollment and graduation of students of color we're empowered to redirect those myths."

The educators seemed exhilarated by the camaraderie they experienced proving once more that there's nothing like coming home to homemade sweet potato pie, coconut layer cake and a huge helping of the community ties that bind.

SB County Resident Crowned Miss Teen Black Los Angeles

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Brittney Williams
Brittney Williams, 14, and a resident of San Bernardino County was crowned Miss Teen Black Los Angeles on March 15, 2008.  Brittney is an 8th grader at Rialto Middle School, located in Rialto, California and an eligible participant in the Gifted and Talented Education "GATE" program.  Brittney will share a part in several events and parades to represent the county of Los Angeles.

The Miss Black Los Angeles and Miss Los Angeles Galaxy pageant required contestants to be judged in categories of talent, evening gowns, interviews, fashion wear, and swimsuit competitions in which each of the young ladies were judged on intelligence, poise and elegance.

Each contestant selected their own platform of what they considered to be an important issue to focus on today.  Brittney's platform involved emphasis from the community and their involvement to implement prevention programs to deter youth from gang violence.  She feels if today's youth were offered more programs of interest to their generation this would assist them with school academics and limit the amount of time young people have to get involved in those dead-end avenues of street violence and "gang banging."  As best quoted by Quintus Ennius, "The Idle mind knows not what it wants."  Offering more after school programs for not only the elite but also those young people struggling in areas of academics could deter youth almost unknowingly to focus on their God given talents and assist with the enhancement of their education.

All communities need positive contributors as assets as they grow older in their communities.  Brittney has made it her mission to become more involved in getting youth programs for the San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County by becoming the young spokesperson for new business ventures such as the Aspiring Stars Resource Development Center.  ASRDC is a program designed to offer an incentive for youth with a low GPA by using the arts of music as its stimulus to motivate students to improve their academic skills.  Miss Teen Black L.A. Brittney Williams has also become inspired by the new not-for-profit establishment "The Physicians House," which is a subsidiary of Twelve Tribes Musical Empire owned by the well known recording artist "Makeda".  

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BVN National News Wire