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What Black Parents Must Do This Summer

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

There is a 3-year gap between Black and White students. Many people love to believe it’s due to income fatherlessness, educational attainment of the parent and lack of parental involvement. I believe a major reason for the gap is we continue to close schools for the summer as if we are an agrarian economy. Very few Black youth will be farming this summer. If you multiply 3 months by 12 years you will see the 3-year gap. There is nothing wrong with Black youth if their schools remained open during the summer and/or their parents kept them academically engaged.

Middle-income parents who value education enroll their children in some type of academic experience during the summer. They also visit libraries, museums, zoos and colleges. Other parents allow their children to sleep longer, play more video games, watch more television and play basketball until they can’t see the hoop. These students will have to review the same work they had mastered in May in September.

Black parents cannot allow their child to lose 3 months every year. Black parents cannot say they cannot afford the library. It’s free! Most museums have discounted days. A male friend of mine shared his experience with me when he took his family to the museum. He wondered why so many people were staring at him. His wife and children had to tell him he was the only Black man in the building! I am appealing to every father to take his children this summer to the library, museum, and the zoo. I a appealing to every mother if he won’t, you will.

We need every parent to make sure their child reads at least one book per week and to write a book report. I am reminded of the formula Sonya Carson used to develop Ben Carson to become the best pediatric neurosurgeon. This low-income single parent, with a third-grade education, had enough sense to tell her sons to turn off the television, read a book and write a report that her sister would grade!

I have a theory that I can go into your house and within 5 minutes tell you the type of student who lives there and predict their future. I believe that engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. need different items in their house than ballplayers, rappers, and criminals. I am very concerned when I visit a house that has more cds and downloads than books. My company African American Images has designed a special collection of books for boys. Research shows one of the major reasons boys dislike reading is because of the content. The set is titled Best Books for Boys. We also have one for girls, parents and teachers. Enjoy your summer. Let’s close the gap. I look forward to your child’s teacher asking your child what did you do for the summer? And your child answering we went to the library, museum, zoo, colleges and other great

educational places. Excerpt from There is Nothing Wrong with Black Students.

 

Youngest Daughter of Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Honored with SAG-AFTRA Inspiration Award

rashida_jones_picLOS ANGELES, CA-The SAG-AFTRA Foundation announced today that Emmy®-nominated actress Rashida Jones will receive its Actors Inspiration Award, an honor recognizing artists who give back to the community by championing worthy philanthropic causes which make a difference in the world. On Monday, June 12th, the award will be presented to Ms. Jones at the Foundation’s 8th Annual Los Angeles Golf Classic, an event benefiting its assistance and children’s literacy programs.

Rashida Jones is an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, musician and activist. Her philanthropy includes work with the International Rescue Committee, traveling around the world as an advocate for the nonprofit which delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster; serving on the board and as a celebrity ambassador for Peace First, a youth organization that encourages the development of the world’s next generation of peacemakers; and supporting Oceana in its mission to protect and restore the world’s oceans. In addition, she lends her voice to several other important charities including Amnesty International, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and The Trevor Project. Ms. Jones is also a supporter of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s online children’s literacy program Storyline Online (storylineonline.net) and will be filming a new video for Storyline Online following the Actors Inspiration Award ceremony. She will join the ranks of actors Viola Davis, Lily Tomlin and Chris Pine as Storyline Online advocates. Rashida Jones’ commitment to supporting vulnerable populations around the world, the environment, and children’s literacy embodies the spirit of the Actors Inspiration Award.

“We are excited to present Rashida Jones with our Actors Inspiration Award and honor her tireless dedication for tackling issues around global poverty, improving health outcomes for people battling AIDS and cancer, and for using her artistic platform to support several important charities, including our very own children’s literacy initiative Storyline Online,” said SAG-AFTRA Foundation President JoBeth Williams.  “Rashida’s generosity and commitment to giving back to the global community is an inspiration, and we are proud and grateful she will accept this honor.”

Previous recipients of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Actors Inspiration Award are Sofia Vergara, Kerry Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio, who were recognized for their philanthropic work.

Ms. Jones currently stars in the hit TBS series Angie Tribeca where she plays the title role, in addition to working behind the camera as executive producer and a director of some episodes. A multi-hyphenate in the entertainment space, this past year she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for co-writing the first episode of Netflix’s third season of Black Mirror. She is the Executive Producer of Claws on TNT, a nail-salon turned money-laundering-front dramedy, set to premiere this summer. This past April, she released a docu-series on Netflix, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, a continued exploration of themes discovered in her Emmy-nominated documentary in 2015, Hot Girls Wanted, this time focusing on society’s relationship with sex and technology. Fans grew to love Ms. Jones from her beloved roles on The Office and Parks and Recreation and through the romantic film that she wrote and starred in, Celeste and Jesse Forever. She will next be seen in the upcoming feature films Zoe alongside Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux, and the comedy Tag with Jeremy Renner and Ed Helms.

The L.A. Golf Classic is a major annual fundraiser benefiting the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Catastrophic Health Fund and Emergency Assistance Program for SAG-AFTRA members facing life-threatening illness and severe economic hardship with the support of the entertainment community and generous sponsors. The tournament also benefits the Foundation’s children’s literacy programs Storyline Onlineand BookPALS, which reaches 14 million children worldwide every month. The L.A. Golf Classic is one of the biggest celebrity golf tournaments with over 125 actors and entertainment industry executives expected to participate in the 2017 event.

Celebrity participants in the L.A. Golf Classic to date include: Adam Baldwin, David Leisure, Don Cheadle, George Eads, Gregory Harrison, James Remar, Joe Mantegna, Joe Pesci, Jonathan Banks, Kevin Sorbo, Robert Hays, Ron Perlman, Tim Allen, and Tom Welling. Sponsors to date include: United Airlines, Johnny Carson Foundation, SAG-AFTRA, TNT, TBS, CBS, AMC, Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Specialty Benefits, Express Scripts, Fiji Water, Dana Industries, Jerry Lasky, Wing & A Prayer Productions, Backstage, Subaru and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Since 1985, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has granted more than $18.5 million in financial and medical assistance including $7.5 million in scholarships to SAG-AFTRA members and their dependents. In addition, the Foundation has offered 7200 free educational workshops, panels and screenings to union performers nationwide and its children’s literacy programs have brought the love of reading to more than 250 million children worldwide.

To learn more and for registration information and sponsorship packages (limited while availability remains) visit sagaftra.foundation/golf.

Learn About Juneteenth in ‘Aunt Ester’s Children Redeemed: Journeys to Freedom in August Wilson’s Ten Plays of Twentieth-Century Black America’ Memoir

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states.

Redeemed BookRiley Keene Temple’s recently published book, “Aunt Ester’s Children Redeemed: Journeys to Freedom in August Wilson’s Ten Plays of Twentieth-Century Black America,” examines the redemption story of each play – how the southern black oppressed, descendants of centuries of slavery, put the pieces of themselves back together. Temple analyzes how Wilson’s language – his poetry and the blues — and his dramatic narratives expose the responsibilities, the opportunities, and the challenges of freedom.

Wilson’s plays include “Fences,” “The Piano Lesson,” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”  The New York Times obituary called him “the theater’s poet of black America.”

“Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, died in 2005 at the age of 60. He would have wanted to see the wondrous celebrations of Juneteenth. He would have seen them as both meet and right,” says Riley Keene Temple.  

Riley Keene Temple is an avid American arts advocate and supporter, and has been honored for his leadership of arts organizations. He is a telecommunications attorney in Washington DC, where his Board memberships include the National Archives Foundation and the Trust for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He holds a Masters degree, cum laude, of Theological Studies from the Virginia Theological Seminary. He has written frequently on theology and the creative arts.