May 20, 2013

Commencement Remarks By First Lady Michelle Obama for Bowie State University; Why I Boycotted Standardized Test; Win Cash and Trip to Washington, D.C. with Fatherhood Challenge 2013; Saturday University Needs Volunteer Teachers

Black Star Logo  
Making Progress; Moving Forward!
Commencement Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama
Fatherhood Challenge 2013
Saturday University Needs Volunteer Teachers
Sharp Drop in Black Male Medical School Enrollment
The Black Star Project's website:
Black Star Journal:
Become a Member:
Click Here
Event Calendar:
Like us on Facebook:

Remarks by 
First Lady Michelle Obama 
at the Bowie State University 
Commencement Ceremony

Excerpts from Speech by First Lady Michelle Obama 
At University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
May 16, 2013
"I also want to recognize today's Presidential Medal of Excellence recipient, Professor Freeman Hrabowski, who's a for-real brother as well.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank him for his tremendous work as the Chair of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.  He has done some magnificent work, but we have so much more work to do. 
But most of all, to the Bowie State University class of 2013, congratulations.  (Applause.)  Oh, congratulations.  You don't know how proud we all are of you.  Just look at you.  We're so proud of how hard you worked, all those long hours in the classroom, in the library.  Oh, yeah.  Amen.  (Laughter.)  All those jobs you worked to help pay your tuition.  Many of you are the first in your families to get a college degree.  (Applause.)  Some of you are balancing school with raising families of your own.  (Applause.)  So I know this journey hasn't been easy.  I know you've had plenty of moments of doubt and frustration and just plain exhaustion. 
As you all know, this school first opened its doors in January of 1865, in an African Baptist church in Baltimore.  And by 1866, just a year later, it began offering education courses to train a new generation of African American teachers.
Now, just think about this for a moment:  For generations, in many parts of this country, it was illegal for black people to get an education.  Slaves caught reading or writing could be beaten to within an inch of their lives.  Anyone -- black or white -- who dared to teach them could be fined or thrown into jail.  
And yet, just two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, this school was founded not just to educate African Americans, but to teach them how to educate others.  It was in many ways an act of defiance, an eloquent rebuttal to the idea that black people couldn't or shouldn't be educated.  And since then, generations of students from all backgrounds have come to this school to be challenged, inspired and empowered.  And they have gone on to become leaders here in Maryland and across this country, running businesses, educating young people, leading the high-tech industries that will power our economy for decades to come. 
  As the abolitionist Fredrick Douglas put it, "Education means emancipation," he said.  He said, "It means light and liberty.  It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the only light by which men can be free."  You hear that?  The only light by which men can be free.  (Applause.) 
So to the folks who showed up to your school on that January day back in 1865, education meant nothing less than freedom.  It meant economic independence, a chance to provide for their families.  It meant political empowerment, the chance to read the newspaper and articulate an informed opinion, and take their rightful place as full citizens of this nation.
So back then, people were hungry to learn.  Do you hear me?  Hungry to get what they needed to succeed in this country.  And that hunger did not fade over time.  If anything, it only grew stronger.  I mean, think about the century-long battle that so many folks waged to end the evil of segregation.  Think about civil rights icons like Thurgood Marshall, Dr. King, who argued groundbreaking school integration cases, led historic marches, protests, and boycotts.  As you know, Dr. King's house was bombed.  A police chief pulled a gun on Thurgood Marshall.  They both received piles of hate mail and countless death threats, but they kept on fighting.
Think about those nine young men and women who faced down an angry mob just to attend school in Little Rock, Arkansas.  And that was just the first day.  For months afterwards, they were spat on, jeered at, punched, and tripped as they walked down the halls.  Their classmates threw food at them in the cafeteria and hurled ink at them during class.  But they kept on showing up.  They kept claiming their rightful place at that school. 
And think about little Ruby Bridges, who was just six years old when she became one of the first black children in New Orleans to attend an all-white school.  Parents actually pulled their children out of that school in protest.  People retaliated against her family.  Her father lost his job.  And only one teacher at that entire school would agree to teach her.  But the Bridges family refused to back down.  So for an entire year, little Ruby sat all alone, a class of one, dutifully learning her lessons. 
But today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of "separate but equal," when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can't be bothered.  Today, instead of walking miles every day to school, they're sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV.  Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they're fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper.  (Applause.)  Right now, one in three African American students are dropping out of high school.  Only one in five African Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 has gotten a college degree -- one in five. 
But let's be very clear.  Today, getting an education is as important if not more important than it was back when this university was founded.  Just look at the statistics.  (Applause.)  People who earn a bachelor's degree or higher make nearly three times more money than high school dropouts, and they're far less likely to be unemployed.  A recent study even found that African American women with a college degree live an average of six and a half years longer than those without.  And for men, it's nearly 10 years longer.  So yes, people who are more educated actually live longer.
So I think we can agree, and we need to start feeling that hunger again, you know what I mean?  (Applause.)  We need to once again fight to educate ourselves and our children like our lives depend on it, because they do. 
It is that kind of unwavering determination -- that relentless focus on getting an education in the face of obstacles -- that's what we need to reclaim, as a community and as a nation.  That was the idea at the very heart of the founding of this school.
It's even in the words of your school song:  "Oh Bowie State, dear Bowie State, may you forever be the flame of faith, the torch of truth to guide the steps of youth."  And that's not just a lyric -- it is a call to action.  
And today, I am thinking about all the mothers and fathers just like my parents, all the folks who dug into their pockets for that last dime, the folks who built those schools brick by brick, who faced down angry mobs just to reach those schoolhouse doors.  I am thinking about all the folks who worked that extra shift and took that extra job, and toiled and bled and prayed so that we could have something better.  (Applause.)
The folks who, as the poet Alice Walker once wrote, "Knew what we must know without knowing a page of it themselves."  Their sacrifice is your legacy.  Do you hear me?  And now it is up to all of you to carry that legacy forward, to be that flame of fate, that torch of truth to guide our young people toward a better future for themselves and for this country.
And if you do that, and I know that you will, if you uphold that obligation, then I am confident we will build an even better future for the next generation of graduates from this fine school and for all of the children in this country because our lives depend on it.
I wish you Godspeed, good luck.  I love you all.  Do good things.  God bless.  (Applause.)"
Click Here to see and read the full text of the speech by First Lady Michelle Obama!

Why I boycotted 
the Prairie State test 
Chicago Public Schools  pressure on schools to raise test scores actually leads to students getting pushed out of school. Many of the juniors who were demoted at my school started talking about dropping out because it was such a discouraging experience.
By Timothy Anderson, VOYCE
May 13, 2013
This spring, I got an unexpected tardy pass from the office at my school, telling me that I had been late to my homeroom. As it turned out, I was marked as late because my homeroom had been changed--I was assigned to a sophomore homeroom instead of a junior one. No one had talked to my mom or me about this. I only found about my demotion because I got a tardy.
The switch happened not just to me, but to 67 other juniors in my school who were told we did not have enough credits. However, in my case and many others, we had between 11 and 14.5 credits, which is enough to be a junior and qualify to take the test. Some students did not have enough credits to be juniors in the first place, but that still does not explain why they were promoted to junior year in the fall and then demoted to sophomore status right before the Prairie State test.
Under so much pressure to raise its Prairie State test scores, the administration tried to take advantage of the promotion policy and demote a third of the junior class, just to keep us from taking the test and bringing down the school's scores. I was having challenges at school but the last thing I would have expected is that my school system would demote me instead of supporting me.
This is not what school systems are supposed to do to students. 
We want our boycott to be a wake-up call to Mayor Emanuel and CPS. We demand and end to testing-driven school closings, under-resourced schools, and student push-out. And we're not going away.
Timothy Anderson is a student leader with Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools (CSOSOS) and Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE).

Click Here to Read Full Story 

Win Cash and A Trip to Washington, D.C. with 
 Fatherhood Challenge 2013
"This Is Fatherhood" 
President Barack Obama, Dwyane Wade and Lecrae lead the fathers of America to positive fatherhood! 
"In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence - both in my life and in the lives of others.  I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill.  We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to full y make up the difference.  That is why we need father's to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one." - President Barack Obama
"Of course, when I was first approached by President Obama to become involved with the initiative, I was humbled.  More than that I was moved by the fact that one of the reasons he was so passionate about this issue is that he grew up without his dad.  He, too, has recognized that being a father is his most important role."   - Dwyane Wade
"Fatherhood is a unique opportunity and privilege for man to change the world through his investment in a child. It is our chance to leave a legacy and an impact that will change lives."-  Lecrae
How the challenge works:
1. Contestants will submit their entries on the challenge web site.
2. Finalists will be selected through social media voting and an industry expert panel.
3. The winners of each category will win cash prizes and receive a trip to the contest's culminating ceremony in Washington, D.C.
4. Submit entries by June 1, 2013
A few good men and women volunteers to teach Black children 
at Saturday University  
Candidates will:
  • Have Saturday mornings available
  • Have two years of college or a bachelors degree
  • Be proficient in math and reading
  • Love working with children
  • Establish good relationships with parents
  • Have good writing and verbal skills
  • Have transportation to/from sites
Please call 773.285.9600 for more information about these opportunities to serve children and communities!
Black Star Logo 
We have 20 free Saturday Universities operating in Chicago and in the west and south suburbs. Please call 773.285.9600 to register your child for free academic enhancement or for more information about bringing the Saturday University to your community. We need teachers and tutors for our sites. Please call 773.285.9600 to volunteer.
Join The Black Star Project 
in support of Generations For Progress and invitees from South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Ghana, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Gabon, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Madagascar, Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Central African Republic, Malawi, Benin, Togo, Swaziland, Sierre Leone, The Gambia, Lesotho, Guinea Bissau, Somalia and all other African countries at 
Africa Night
Bridging the Gap 
Saturday, June 1, 2013

The K.L.E.O. Center - $5.00 Admission
119 East Garfield Blvd (5500 South)
Chicago, Illinois
6:00 pm to 11:00 pm
First Saturday of Each Month
African Food - African Dress - African Music
Please call 773.668.5237 for more information.
Please call Black Star at 773.285.9600 to be part of our party.
See the March of The Elders as They Lead Young Black Males to Manhood
Click Here to Print Off A Copy of This Flyer.
Please call 773.285.9600 for more information. 
The Black Star Project 
for a new book autographing with 
Dr. Paul L. Hannah M.D.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
3509 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois
Qi Gong Awakens: Always Living in Vibrant Energy unlocks and makes accessible the wisdom of one of the most powerful of Chinese healing arts. Himself a wise physician and healer, Dr. Hannah reveals the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical principles of this ancient universal science of working with life energy. Paul L. Hannah, MD, provides a splendid effort to help integrate the principles and practice of Qi Gong with personally acquired insights into the multidimensional aspects of human existence. As a practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Hannah goes well beyond considering only the physical body and explains to the readers how to separately examine the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of their existence. He shows how Qi Gong can help establish a functional harmony between these differing expressions of self.

Please call 773.285.9600 for more information
With Summer Coming, 
Support 1 Church, 1 Job,
1 Young Black Man Working
In Your Community 
Churches Across America Should 
Provide Jobs for Young Black Men. 
You cannot fix the problems of young Black men if they don't have constructive employment.  
Churches can change this...
In times of economic strain, our whole community suffers from the complications of unemployment. In an effort to develop a new model of community outreach and economic sustainability, The Black Star Project is launching the 1 Church, 1 Job, 1 Young Black Man Working program.  
These are the employment facts for young Black men in America:
  • Young Black men have the highest unemployment rate of any group in the country.
  • Unofficially, some academics believe that only 14 out of 100 young Black men have jobs.
  • White adult felons are more likely to have jobs than young Black men without criminal records.
  • Upper-middle class Black youth are less likely to have jobs than low-income White youth.
The Black Star Project is offering the opportunity for these faith organizations and faith organizations across America to participate in this program.
During this summer, for five or six weeks, each faith organzation will:
  1. Take up a special collection of $200.00 per week
  2. Hired a young, African American male to work in the church, temple synagogue or mosque for 20 hours per week, or
  3. Refer the young man to a local not-for-profit or business to work 
  4. Pay the young man minimum wage to $10.00 per hour for 20 hours per week 
  5. Ensure that each young man gains valuable work experience
  6. Ensure that each young man has valuable mentoring experience
To get your church involved in 1 Church, 1 Job, 1 Young Black Man Working or for more information about this program, please call 773.285.9600.
Please Click Here for more information.

The Black Star Project
| 3473 South King Drive, Box 464 | Chicago | IL | 60616