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Friday, April 30, 2010

North Carolina Joins YWCA, Pretends To "Stand Against Racism"

N.C. Triangle Residents Take "Stand Against Racism"

About 200 students and community members rallied in Moore Square Friday to take part in a national movement to fight racism.

Gov. Bev Perdue declared Friday "Stand Against Racism" day in North Carolina. Across the country, 250,000 people were expected to participate in events organized by the Young Women's Christian Association.

"What at the heart of the event are people in our community who want positive solutions to some of the things that we still feel are the effect of racism," said Folami Bandele, executive director of YWCA of the Greater Triangle. "These are folks that believe as individuals, we can make a difference by making our voices heard."

Adults talked about solutions to the negative effects of racism, particularly on education, housing and employment. They were joined by about 100 students who marched from Moore Square Middle School. The adults talked the children about being brave enough to speak out on important issues.

"If there's an issue they're concerned about, if there's something going on in your community, you have a responsibility to stand up adn be head and do something about it," Bandele said.

Bandele said she believes event like this one can show that a community stands against hate groups.

A recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center showed that there were approximately 30 hate groups in North Carolina and that the number of such groups grew nationally by about 50 percent in the past decade.

"Most of the time these groups are allowed to flourish, because the people who feel differently are silent, and their voices are not heard," she said. "But by coming together and taking a stand, we say that one, we don’t tolerate racism in our community and two, we’re willing to do something to create a different kind of world."

Rally participants also get to experience the support of people who are concerned about the same issues, Bandele said.

"I think that most people see so much negativity in the media and in the community around them and that they are looking for positive ways that they can contribute," she said. "This event lets them connect with people that are concerned about the same issues and coming up with positive solutions."

YWCA Anti-Racism Rally Set At Noon In Raleigh

Organizers expect about 400+ people to come from across the Triangle to rally against Racism at noon today in Moore Square downtown.

About 170 students from the school will be coming to the YWCA-sponsored event, also to include talks by Civil Rights veterans the Rev. David Forbes and Folami Bandele, executive director of the YWCA of the Greater Triangle.

About two dozen students will evoke the event's theme by performing "Live the Dream," a song they wrote for the occasion, and by staging a re-creation of the Greensboro sit-ins of 1960, which are seen as a crucial spark in subsequent national protests.

"It should be a positive, uplifting, powerful program with the kids," YWCA spokesman Scott Misner said.

Stand Against Racism is being observed in more than 70 locations across the United States.

"Any individual or group that believes in a society free of racism is invited to join us Friday during lunch for the Stand Against Racism," said the YWCA's Bandele.

David Kershner, principal of Moore Square Middle School, said faculty and students got involved in dealing with racism as a school at the request of a parent who is associated with the YWCA.

During non-instructional time, they started taking part in "study circles" - small groups in which people with various experiences share their stories and come up with ideas for taking action.

Several groups prominent in opposition to the Wake school board's ruling majority are among rally sponsors. But the rally wasn't planned in reaction to controversy - including hotly denied charges of racism - surrounding the board's decision to end the diversity policy in Wake student assignments, organizers and activists said.

"I think this is too important an issue," said Yevonne Brannon, a former county commissioner who has been active in the school board controversy. "I think it simply stands on its own for all Americans."

Taking A "Stand Against Racism" In Charlotte

The Tar-heel state will take a stand against racism Friday, April 30, the day Gov. Bev Purdue had declared as "Stand Against Racism Day".

There are events planned across the country including the Queen City as Stand Against Racism is a national initiative of the YWCA.

The group has one goal today and that's to inform the community and draw attention to racism and that it can not be ignored or tolerated.

Mayor Anthony Foxx is scheduled to speak at Friday's event, planned for 8:00am at the YWCA Central Carolinas on Park Road.

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Charlotte Schools Block Black Kids From Attending AP Classes

Students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg's high-poverty schools face an "opportunity gap" in access to college-level classes, says a report from a citizen advisory panel being presented today.

Students at several low-poverty suburban schools can choose from more than 20 Advanced Placement subjects this school year, while students at four high-poverty schools have fewer than 10, the report says.

The Equity Committee, appointed by the school board, spent the past year looking at Advanced Placement along with services for students who don't speak English well. The recommendations, designed to boost equal opportunity, are likely to clash with budget-cutting plans.

For instance, the panel recommends that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools do more to increase AP offerings at the high-poverty schools, where most students are Black or Hispanic. The panel also calls for more minority enrollment in AP courses at all schools. But a consultant advising CMS on the likelihood of budget cuts for 2010-11 has suggested cutting some AP classes with low enrollment to focus on boosting basic skills.

"We're just in challenging times right now," said board Vice Chair Tom Tate. "I think that the board is going to have some pretty interesting debate on this."

AP Challenge

AP offerings range from 25 subjects at South Mecklenburg High to seven at Waddell, the report says. Even at schools such as Mallard Creek High and Northwest School of the Arts, which have large numbers of middle-class black students, AP classes are disproportionately white.

Taking AP classes can help students get into competitive universities, and students who earn high scores on the exams can get college credit. "The lack of a diverse range of core and elective AP courses at all schools raises serious equity concerns," the report says.

CMS offers other college-level options, including classes hosted by Central Piedmont Community College and advanced classes in International Baccalaureate magnets. The report did not look at those.

High-poverty high schools tend to have lower enrollments and more students struggling to meet graduation requirements, both of which can make it challenging to fill AP classes. For instance, Waddell offered 10 options on its "enrollment card" last winter but ended up only teaching seven, the report says.

But those schools also have successful college-bound students. The equity panel recommends offering a set number of AP courses at each school, even if enrollment is low, and urges schools to "actively recruit and place students in those courses."

The report says white students make up 37 percent of CMS's high-school students but account for 62 percent those taking of AP exams. Minority students may be hindered by home support, peer culture or low expectations in lower grades, the report says. Recommendations range from recruiting AP teachers "of various ethnic backgrounds" to "cluster(ing) students of racial groups in AP courses in order to provide peer support."

Language Barrier

On students with limited English skills, the report notes that some schools have so many that students may not be immersed in spoken English, while others have so few that it's tough to provide adequate staff support for kids and families.

CMS has eliminated jobs for bilingual parent advocates, even as the number of students whose families speak Spanish and other languages has grown. The committee recommends restoring those jobs at schools with large numbers of families who need translation, noting that parent involvement is essential to student success.

The report describes a visit to Merry Oaks Elementary, where 19 languages are spoken, most children come from low-income homes, and some students "not only don't speak English but may not have any experience with indoor bathrooms or electricity." Committee members saw a woman arrive to enroll a young child, who did most of the translating between his mother and the school secretary. Two hours later, the child and his mother "were still trying to navigate the enrollment process," it says.

The report urges CMS to make sure schools make better use of available translation services and make it easier for families without cars to get to the Family Application Center south of uptown, where international students must register. City buses used to run along that road, the report says, but no longer do.

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Sources: YWCA, McClatchy Newspapers, MSNBC, WBTV, Wikipedia, Youtube, Google Maps

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