In the year 2013, the United States has an African American president. However, the American government is divided and our culture if far from racial overtones. Who is going to keep our African American children informed of the past sacrifices African American leaders have made and the present and future struggles to come?
In February 2000 according to Jason Botel, he participated in “the most heated grade-level team meeting he had witnessed at any time during his three years at Booker T. Washington Middle School. Hours earlier, the seventh- and eighth-grade teams had observed many of their students behaving very disrespectfully during the singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the African-American National Anthem, during an assembly in honor of Black History month. Students did not feel connected to, and certainly did not feel proud of, their African-American history, heritage, and culture.”
In August 2002 stated Mr. Botel, KIPP Ujima opened with a Kwanza principle agenda; “collective work and responsibility, the hallmark of any successful village”. Mr. Botel, Executive Director of KIPP Baltimore, is leading efforts to provide African-American students from underserved communities with more time in school and a sense of connection to a great cultural heritage.
Students attending Baltimore’s KIPP Ujima Academy (grades 5-8) and KIPP Harmony (grades k-3) do not pledge alliance to the American Flag and do not sing African American National Anthem before starting their school day. Starting a school for students from “underserved communities” is an excellent business strategy. There are grants and government entitlements available to such students that a school like KIPP can benefit.
Mr. Botel observed students not “connected to, and certainly did not feel proud” during the singing of the African American National Anthem. I would think in his school teaching KIPP students “their African-American history, heritage, and culture” by pledging allegiance to the United States, and singing the African American National Anthem should be certain. Our African American children must be taught to carry on the journey with dignity.
In honor of MLK Day and the Inauguration of President Barack H. Obama!
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