Good news for a change
11/24/2017, 2:44 p.m.
By now, you know I look forward to the opportunity of sharing my opinions with readers. I pray that the columns offer helpful, thought-provoking and uplifting ideas.
For several months, we have had mostly dreadful events about which to write. The worst have been about 45’s dangerous, embarrassing and unworthy antics.
Well, I have decided to give my readers a break. This week, I will share some noteworthy, positive deeds and actions.
I recently read that Google gave $1 million to increase the presence of African-American males in technology. According to the writer, Samara Lynn, “Students are five times more likely to take an interest in computer science if they often see people who look like them in that field ...”
Ms. Lynn reported that Google’s foundation made the monetary award to the Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland, Calif.,-based organization that does just that. Google is to be commended! More companies should take a lesson from Google’s enlightened example.
Good deeds are not exclusive to wealthy corporations. Students at Spelman and Morehouse colleges went on a hunger strike to call attention to the problem of hunger on college campuses. It may not be obvious to many, but the expense of college often causes less-affluent students to sacrifice meals in order to pay fees. A dozen students decided something could be done and used their hunger strike to influence meal providers to allow students to donate their unused, prepaid meals to needy classmates.
Although the Spelman-Morehouse project mirrors Swipe Out Hunger, a program at the University of California, it’s an important and thoughtful initiative. Mary-Pat Hector, a Spelman student states, “By introducing a Swipe Out Hunger program at Spelman and Morehouse, we would directly impact student hunger and homelessness while in college.”
Another good news story emerged through the fog of bad news that has plagued us. This good news, good luck story finds a black Florida businessman the recipient of a $52 million grant from the Florida Lottery Commission. Yes, this brother hit the lottery for $52 million in 2010. Instead of blowing his winnings, Miguel Pilgram started his own real estate company and invested his winnings into rebuilding the black business district in Fort Lauderdale.
Mr. Pilgram’s dedication to the revitalization of the black community in Fort Lauderdale begins a renewal of using our own dollars to strengthen our communities. This is the type of initiative we have the power to replicate individually and/or collectively. It’s the type of initiative that affirms our power to create self-sufficient communities.
As I search for praiseworthy achievement in our communities, I am reminded of former President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. Now, New York City has stepped into the lead with the “Men Teach” initiative. The goal of “Men Teach” is to recruit male teachers of color into public education so that young black men and other young men of color will have real-life role models who reflect the tangible opportunities available to them.
Nine hundred of the targeted 1,000 teachers already have been recruited. I applaud this effort because research shows that having a black teacher significantly reduces the likelihood that students of color, especially males, will drop out of high school.
Just to mention a few more good news stories: I see that students are enrolling in HBCUs in increasing numbers.
It also is refreshing that, in the aftermath of alt-right activity in Charlottesville, black voter turnout was instrumental in Democratic victories throughout Virginia.
The real good news is that, increasingly, our people are waking up and staying woke!
The writer is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.