Kylie Jenner- Ready Made Wealth


Kylie Jenner's wealth was not self-made; it was ready-made. Last week, Forbes lauded Kylie Jenner for being on the verge of becoming the youngest self-made billionaire. With a net-worth of about 900 million dollars, she is just shy of being a billionaire. After the article was released, a campaign was started to get Kylie to billion-dollar net worth. But much of Puerto Rico is still without power, Flint Michigan still has poison for water, teachers still have to buy their own classroom supplies on meager salaries, and the homeless population continues to grow. If people are looking for something to throw their money at, I can compile an endless list of worthy causes that don't involve making the rich richer.

Let's be clear; Kylie Jenner was born into extreme wealth and never knew a life close to poverty. She had access to millions of dollars, property, and assets before she was 18 years old. She is not business savvy and should not be applauded for her business acumen. The Kardashian-Jenner family makes money by merely stamping their names on products and showing up to events and for their reality tv show; Kylie's "success" is derived from the same.

To call Kylie self-made is an insult to individuals who started businesses in garages or the trunks of their cars, sunk their life savings into their first businesses, or who quit their job to open a store of their own. They risked it all on their dreams and worked to see them through to fruition without the head start of being born into a prominent family. They should be applauded and celebrated.

Calling Kylie Jenner a self-made millionaire is like buying a cake from a bakery and passing off as the cake you made from scratch. Having young people look up to her as if she is the blueprint for success is harmful at best. We need to highlight more stories about people who built wealth from nothing but their blood sweat and tears. Let's highlight how those people encountered failure and disappointment and succeeded after facing every obstacle imaginable. Our young people need to have the playbook for how to succeed when the odds are stacked against them. In the meantime, we need to continue to fight to make sure we end income inequality, make education more affordable and accessible, and make sure we all have equal access to capital to start up businesses. Doing so will produce more millionaires and billionaires who are genuinely self-made.

"Existing While Black"

I just watched a video of Sunny Hostin, host of ABC's The View, as she recanted an incident that took place July 4th as she and her family were vacationing in Sag Harbor, NY. She and her family were targeted by about 30 white people who hurled racial slurs at them and damaged property. As they left, they said, "This is our holiday!"

Hostin and her family were clearly shaken by the incident, but called the police to report the incident. In the video, she describes how the encounter ruined the whole weekend for one of her friends. I can relate because even seeing videos like this one or the countless others we see surfacing on social media of black people having the police called on them for existing or people of color being attacked or harassed by Trump supporters, racists, and bigots. Seeing these incidents changes the way you move through the world and it's hurtful.

We have seen white people call the police on black people for doing nothing more than existing and going about their daily lives. These situations have resulted in trauma that affects how black people conduct themselves in public. I know this is true for me.

I was on vacation last weekend in a predominantly white town, and I could not stop looking over my shoulder and trying to be aware of my behavior. Whenever I passed a white person on the street, I made sure I smiled, hoping I would seem less intimidating. In grocery stores and gas stations, I was more polite than usual. I did my best to blend in, if at all possible, even while driving. But feeling out of place felt more pronounced as I took a walk around the neighborhood and came across a staunch Trump supporter's home.

As a 6 foot tall, 240-ish pound black man, I know I must seem monstrous to people who have fears and insecurities about black men. As I watched videos of a black woman being confronted for swimming at her community's pool, a black couple having the police called on them at Subway, a little black girl having the cops called on her for selling water, a black man having the police called on him for grilling in the park, I believe I could have the police called on me for doing just about anything.

Everywhere I went last weekend my eyes were searching for another black person so I would not feel like I was the only one. When in a sea of unfamiliar faces in some place far from home, not seeing anyone you can relate to and not feeling safe feels like drowning.

But I am reminded that, while my black skin is problematic for some people, I should wear it as a badge of honor. So, too, should all people of color in a time where some white people are afraid, they will be outnumbered. If we weren't something to be revered, they would not be fearful of our rise to power and prominence as we take our rightful places at the table and in seats of power. A few years ago, I learned to embrace the idea of being the first or only one. I am proud of my blackness, and I refuse to move timidly because of someone else's insecurities.

How to Deal with Uninvolved Parents


By  Andrew Pillow

If you are a teacher, then chances are you have dealt with many different types of parents. There are many actions parents take that teachers find annoying. You have the parents that never think their kids do anything wrong. You have the helicopter parents that are over-involved. By far, the most difficult parents to deal with are the ones from which you hear nothing at all.

Uninvolved parents are the bane of many teachers’ existence. It’s hard enough to reach children as it is. It gets significantly harder if you can’t reach their parents.  Parents who don’t answer calls or show up to conferences leave a bad taste in the mouths of teachers, but dealing with parents is part of the job. So how exactly do you effectively deal with uninvolved parents?

1.       Don’t assume it’s because they don’t care

Often time teachers make the mistake of assuming parents that are uninvolved don’t care or are uninterested. There are some parents who don’t care, but most want to see their children do well in school, even if they don’t show it the way teachers feel like they should.

2.       Examine the barriers stopping them

There could be any number of reasons parents are “uninvolved.”  They may not have a working phone to answer your calls. They may not have adequate transportation to attend school functions. They may work multiple jobs or the night shift which makes them unavailable at normal times.

Some of these obstacles, such as needing a phone, are actually quite fixable, but schools and teachers have to examine the barriers preventing parents from participating to remedy the situation.

3.       Be more flexible

Sometimes a school’s systems and methods are too rigid to accommodate parents with unusual circumstances and conferences are a good example.

Can you really hold it against a parent if they can’t take off of work in the middle of the day to show up at a parent-teacher conference? Why not allow the conference to be scheduled at a different time more conducive to their schedule? Do meetings have to take place at the school? If parents don’t have transportation, doesn’t it make sense for the teachers and admin to visit them?

These are the kind of actions schools need to think about if they really want to include uninvolved parents.

4.       Leverage other people

Sometimes that parent that doesn’t answer your calls has a great relationship with a teacher from last year or another class. What did that teacher do that you didn’t?

The father who doesn’t show up to a parent-teacher conference may occasionally show up to basketball games and has a good relationship with the coach. Why not ask the coach to pass on a message to the father?

Trying to get your disinterested parent to show up for literacy night, but can’t reach them? What about asking the parent that goes to the same church to relay the invite?

Unfortunately, varying degrees of parent involvement is simply part of being a teacher, but schools need to make sure they have exhausted all options before they declare a parent “uninvolved.”

Decision 3.0- Fatherhood Takes Lebron James West


The basketball world was rocked Sunday night when Lebron James decided to take his talents west, agreeing to a four-year 154 million dollar contract with the Lakers. His decision was met with mixed reactions from Cleveland Cavaliers fans upset their homegrown hero was leaving once again, to Laker fans who are still mourning the end of Kobe's career, this is a win.  While some think this move tarnishes his legacy, I think it cements the type of legacy LeBron James wants to leave.

If you look at the root of this decision, one thing is clear. LeBron wanted to put his family in the best position to succeed. As a parent, there are sacrifices you make for your family or children that may not be the best or most popular move for your career or image, but setting your family up for success is an easy decision to make even with the resulting fallout. LeBron is a father first; basketball is secondary. When he left Miami to go home to Cleveland, his children were at the center of his decision; this time is no different.

It is widely known that LeBron and his wife Savannah were in LA last year at this time touring schools for their oldest son, Lebron James, Jr., who wants to play basketball at a top tier high school to pursue a professional basketball career like his father. So, why wouldn't he give his son the opportunity to do so? To top it off, you have a chance to play for the greatest franchise in all of sports and restore the Lakers brand back to greatness. As a father, if I had to move to Alaska because my daughter would have the best opportunity to succeed, I'd be packing my winter coat right now.

You could say that LeBron James is the Barack Obama of basketball; as a polarizing figure, you either love him or you hate him, but history will concede the point they were game-changers and deserve to be considered among the best in their fields. You hated LeBron for what he did to your team as an opposing player, but you have to love him for what he will do for your team and city.

With LeBron James, Los Angeles not only gets the best basketball player today and one of the greatest of all time, but also a great father, role model, and philanthropist. His 16-year career has been free of scandals on or off the court. LeBron is much bigger than basketball, and the city of angels and champions alike is rightfully buzzing. Most importantly, as a father, you have to respect his decision to give his children the opportunity to thrive. I look forward to what the next phase of his career does for my beloved Lakers and Los Angeles.

I Graduated ... Now What?

By Shamaya Bowen

As I gear up for my last full year of university, I felt the need to settle my mind and accept that the overwhelming mix of feelings I had toward my future were normal. To do so, I spoke with four of my friends from the class of 2018 about this new chapter of their lives. They were gracious enough to let me know what excites them about this newfound freedom as well as what scares them. Additionally, they offered a bit of advice to current college and high school students.


Name: Faizah Sesay

School: University of California, Riverside

Degree: Business Economics & Psychology

Intended Job: Marketing/Human Resources

What worries you about this next chapter of your life?

Paying off my student loans, and figuring out what exactly I want to do for my career

What excites you about this next chapter of your life?

Being out of school, and being able to figure life out in an unstructured setting.

What have you done to make yourself more marketable in the job market?

Internships and Working in a psychology lab

What was the best piece of advice you were given about this new chapter of your life and who gave it to you?

To enjoy life after graduation and to take as much time as I need to figure out what that next step is going to be-- my lab supervisor Seth

What advice do you have for current college and high school students?

That it’s okay to not have everything figured out, and to have fun.


Name: Danielle Spooner

School:  University of Hartford

Degree:  Bachelors of Science

Major: Health Science/Physical Therapy

Intended Job:  Physical Therapist

What worries you about this next chapter of your life?

I am worried about not getting into grad school. When I do, I may struggle throughout my three years in the program. I am also worried that student loans are going to pile up and interest is going to increase before I have a chance to pay them back.

What excites you about this next chapter of your life?

I am excited about getting a job, getting accepted into a good PT program, and becoming an adult overall.

What have you done to make yourself more marketable in the job market?

During my summer breaks, I interned at various PT clinics. During the school year, I volunteered as a mobility volunteer and interned as a PT intern at a transitional school.

What was the best piece of advice you were given about this new chapter of your life and who gave it to you?

Make sure that your break is not too long- Everyone

What advice do you have for current college and high school students?

Advice I would give to current college and high school students would be to have fun while they are in college. It’s okay to take a break and figure out what you want to do/study, and yes college is difficult and you may want to quit, but you can make it.  


Name: Dominique Spooner

School: University of Hartford

Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice

Intended Job: Lawyer

What worries you about this next chapter of your life?

My biggest worry about the next chapter of my life is not finding a job I would actually like. Another worry is that when I start to pursue my career I would hate it. However one of my biggest fears is letting my parents down after all of their hard work.

What excites you about this next chapter of your life?

Being able to support my family, going above and beyond and breaking down barriers that are placed to stop women from going further.

What have you done to make yourself more marketable in the job market?

I participated in internships outside of my major - more communication classes, internships as well as political internships. I’m more marketable because I have an understanding of both the communication world as well as the criminal justice world. It also makes it easier to express my thoughts.

What was the best piece of advice you were given about this new chapter of your life and who gave it to you?

Do not just get a job. Find a job within your field so it can help you figure out what you want in the future.

What advice do you have for current college and high school students?

Make a checklist of what want from your school. There are schools that allow you to do your bachelor’s and master’s at the same time. I wish I knew that when I went to school.


Name: Alicia Jones

School: California State University, Long Beach

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Film and Electronic Arts

Intended Job: Film Producer

What worries you about this next chapter of your life?

My biggest worry is not knowing what could happen or where my future lies. I worry that It will take a long time for me to get where I want to be and I will just be unhappy with the journey.

What excites you about this next chapter of your life?

I’m excited for the freedom. I’m free to make my own choices and ultimately decide my future

What have you done to make yourself more marketable in the job market?

I created a LinkedIn, I created an infographic similar to a resume in a class and also posted it on my LinkedIn, and I also list all of the qualities/qualifications that I possess even if it doesn’t seem like it would pertain to the jobs I’m looking for because you honestly never know what employers are looking for.

What was the best piece of advice you were given about this new chapter of your life and who gave it to you?

My boyfriend’s aunt told me to consolidate my loans so I don’t incur too much interest over the years. I had no idea that consolidation even existed so that advice forced me to research more about my loans and the best ways to pay them off.

What advice do you have for current college and high school students?

Stay organized and network!!! Make yourself vulnerable. College is supposed to be fun but don’t forget the reason why you’re getting that degree. Have a healthy balance of studying and partying. If your friends never want to study or never want you to study then maybe it’s time for new friends.

It’s safe to say that no matter your school, your major, or intended career, we all have the same fears and anxieties. As we graduate and find ourselves in uncharted waters, it’s important to remember that we aren’t alone in what we’re feeling. Furthermore, it’s important that we don’t allow those fears to hold us back. To the class of 2018, as well as those who are still on their journey towards graduation, I hope you too are comforted by the experiences and advice of my friends. I also encourage you to speak to those around you. Whether it be friends, parents, or mentors, many have been in your shoes and I’m sure they’d be happy to alleviate some of your fears or offer some words of encouragement.


Permit Patty


Dear White People,

Stop calling police on people of color, 911 is for emergencies, not your insecurities.

There should be a law that cites people who call police on people who are not committing a crime the same way people are charged with filing a false police report. When police have to respond to these incidents resources are taken away from actual emergencies. Even people who don't feel like these incidents are racially motivated, even though they obviously are, should be concerned that resources are being wasted on these non-emergencies.

White people who call the police on people of color and make them uncomfortable have to know that they are putting people's lives in danger.

This weekend, police were called on a little black girl who was selling cold water outside her apartment building without a permit; this, coming after "Barbeque Becky" called police on black men barbequing in a public park and after countless of times police were called on black people for existing in public spaces.

Now, "Permit Patty" thought it was a good idea to torment a little girl and her mother for selling water without a permit in an incident she says was a joke. What kind of person calls the police on a little girl for selling water? How is she endangering the public? And why couldn't she just go on about her business?

These types of interactions infuriate me and each time begs the question yet again, “What is permissible for black people to do in public spaces and not have the police called on them?” Either way, I would advocate for legislation that penalizes people for calling the police when there is no crime or imminent threat to public safety.


Undocumented Immigrants and Slaves: A Connection Through U.S. History


By Erica Copeland

The recent surge in separations of undocumented parents from their children is ominously reminiscent of the systematic break up of families during this country’s slavery era.

From the 1600s to 1863 when slavery was legalized and then abolished, Africans who forcibly migrated to this country, were often torn apart from their relatives at the whims of their slave owners.

The practice was quite commonplace in the U.S. South. On the plantation, slave mothers and fathers lived in fear each day that, one day, the slave master would find it more economical or expedient to sell off one of their children for profit. For the Southern slave owners, the transaction of buying and selling slaves without regard to their family ties was simply a matter of convenience or doing “good business.”

But the practice wreaked havoc on the social ties between black Americans then and the ripples of that era has left a legacy where Blacks must live with large gaps of knowledge in their family ancestry and lineage. Gaps in culture exist as well since much of African culture was oral. When families separate, parents and grandparents cannot pass down traditions and memories of the past.

Sadly, the connection between family separations during slavery and the forced separations that are happening today is not one that African Americans, or those of other races who are more than second or third generation immigrants, will easily draw.

Those whose grandparents or great-great grandparents were U.S. born, do not necessarily extend the idea of separating families during slavery to the forced separations of contemporary immigrant families that are occurring under the policies of the Trump administration and current session of Congress.

They may see these two phenomena as polar opposites rather than as fraternal twins. Although the social, political, and economic circumstances surrounding both issues are different, at a basic human rights level, the same principle applies.

The United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights has various articles that are being violated through the practice of immigrant family separations. Article 6 guarantees the “Right to be Recognized as a Person” and Article 3, the “Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security.”

No rocket scientist has to figure out the harm in tearing families apart. This practice has long-lasting negative effects that create a legacy of trauma, resentment, and disempowerment within that family and the community in which they lived.

For those of us who have remained indifferent bystanders and observed the events on the news from the sidelines, now is the time where we must choose a side. Choosing to stay silent is a choice to affirm the current administration’s actions.

In the words of Martin Luther King, “Silence is the approval that allows dark deeds to exist in the world.”

So if this issue bothers you at all, do something about it. Your action does not have to be a grand show of support at a rally or protest. It can simply be signing a petition online.

For example, politicians like Representative Karen Bass of California’s 37th Congressional district has an online petition to sign to pressure those in the President’s administration to change the current policy of deportation.

Decide on which side you stand. Will you support human rights or continue to allow this country to repeat its dark history once again?


I’m Sorry America, But Until Further Notice, This Is TOTALLY Us


By Justin Cohen

When protestors and activists gathered around the country last Thursday, to protest the Trump administration’s depraved policy of separating children from their families, the mood was raw.

At the rally I attended in Brooklyn, the sentiment of the crowd ranged from disbelief to hopelessness to outrage. I have been to more protests than I can remember, including many in the months since the election of 2016. The mood was different last week. The strident calls for concrete political action were replaced by something more like, “Are you kidding me, you fucking maniacs?”

It appears that, for many otherwise ambivalent Americans, the imprisonment of children in cages is the proverbial bridge too far, a sign that a reckless administration had finally crossed the line.

And if the crowd at the Brooklyn event was any indication, a large portion of enraged are white folks, most of whom would self-identify as progressive or liberal. Glancing at the various protest signs, it’s possible to glean some important information about what motivates people to show up in solidarity with people who do not look like them. Amidst a variety of creative forms of resistance, I kept seeing one message, over and over, and it’s a plea that requires interrogation:


“This Is Not Us.”

But what if it is?

For many Americans, particularly those who are neither white nor privileged, last week’s news was just another piece of evidence that the Trump administration is hell bent on imposing its narrow, nationalistic,racist definition of what it means to be an American. All in the process of reminding us that, until further notice:

“This IS, and Has Always Been, Us.”

If I’m the first person to share this information to you, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad, yet old, news. The definition of who get to be a human in America has always expanded and contracted, but that definition has always hinged on both defining whiteness, and manipulating the family structures of non-white people.

Consider the most obvious example, the enslavement of people of African descent. Maintaining chattel slavery as a system of racial and economic oppression depended on breaking up and systematically dismantling Black family structure in America. This tendency did not disappear after abolition, as White America’s commitment to obliterating the Black family seems to have intensified in the subsequent generations. The hyper-incarceration of Black adults, not to mention the under-education of black children, deliberately weakens families. In the meantime, conservative thinkers have erected an entire fantasy world, wherein the “failings” of the Black family structure are attributed to “cultural” phenomena, and not to the enforcement of white supremacy.


Similar family-destroying tactics were used by the United States government in the 19th century to perpetuate the oppression of Native American people. There is a direct lineage from the American Indian boarding schools, where children were kidnapped to separate them from their native cultures, to the contemporary practice of imprisoning migrant children.

And let’s not forget, just two generations ago the American government held more than 100,000 people from Japanese families in internment camps, out of pure racial hostility at a time of global conflict. During the same period, the United States government refused entry to Jewish refugees, who were fleeing imminent death at the hands of the Nazi regime.

In each of these cases, the overt destruction of families was justified on the basis of protecting American identity. The inescapable fact is that this method of defining identity is bound to both the idea of Whiteness, and who counts as “White” at any given time. Given the Trump administration’s public flirtations with white supremacy, it is devastating, but not surprising, to see our contemporary leaders fall into a similar pattern of conflating American identity with white supremacy.


It’s hard to know what to do in the face of state-sponsored family destruction. Protest seems inadequate. Civil disobedience comes in many forms, and the more assertive versions of such seem more enticing than ever. While the Trump administration may not be engaging in overt ethnic cleansing, it’s not hyperbolic to say that their current playbook bears shocking resemblances to those of genocidal regimes. How Americans react – both on the streets and in the polling place – will be critical to preventing the horrors from metastasizing.

Until the next shoe drops, there are many actions that folks can take. Protest, organize, petition, march, and most importantly, vote.

Before we do all of those things though, we should retire the idea that “This is Not Us.”

This IS us.

It has always been us.

And until we stop it, it will always be us.


Lynwood Unified Teacher of the Year


Biomedical Sciences teacher Deena Smith, a 20-year instructor at Lynwood High School, is as dynamic as her curriculum in the classroom where she always seems to draw a crowd of current and past students who gather to analyze fake murder scenes or observe a dissection of an animal.
For Smith’s ability to continually inspire her learners and grow the school’s medical career technical education (CTE) program, she was named Lynwood Unified 2018-19 Teacher of the Year. 
“When she teaches she really engages and applies things that make it fun,” Lynwood High junior Andy Medina said. “She really stands out – that’s why we have so many students pursuing medicine.”
Smith’s students explore a range of careers in biomedical sciences as they learn in the context of real-world, hands-on activities, projects, and problems. After completing the four-year CTE medical program at Lynwood high, students receive certification to work as medical assistants who have the ability to administer blood and electrocardiogram tests.
Smith proudly shares that some of her graduating students this year will attend the likes of Stanford and Boston University. She has helped guide the school’s CTE medical program which began in 2000 with just nine students. This year, the program has 140 students.
“I love my job and I’d never want to do anything else,” Smith said. “Getting the chance to work with these brilliant kids is such a privilege. I try to connect with them, not as a student-teacher, but as a colleague. That helps us build a relationship.”
For her exceptional work, Smith was honored at a District Board of Education meeting, where she was cheered wildly by colleagues and students in May. A representative from Schools First Federal Credit Union attended the meeting and presented all 19 Teacher of the Year nominees with gift cards.
“Deena Smith is a ray of light that illuminates the curriculum for our students,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “She is able to challenge her classrooms and inspire them to grasp difficult concepts in practical ways.”


It’s Really About Power


By Gadeer Alawdi

This article was first posted on

The key to success is knowledge and success equals power.

Education has a huge impact in my life and I take it seriously. When I look around, I see my fellow students reach more for popularity than learning and making the most of their education. I’ve always felt like I needed to be popular and “fit in” rather than pass a class but I have changed. I learned people will judge you regardless of what you do.

Some people just crave attention and it doesn’t matter if it is negative or positive. This constant need for attention drives a lot of people to do negative things rather than be praised for working hard and showing dedication because those things take time.

The need to feel cool is such a powerful drug and most of us are addicts. From my perspective it mostly affected us teenagers. There are so many kids that started out focusing on their bright futures that are now in corners smoking and looking for attention in the wrong places to feel “cool”. While people are out in the street being “cool” they don’t notice that everything they are doing is just making them look bad and putting them on the wrong path.

I just wish that everyone knew that there are different ways in getting attention. You don’t have to do negative things such a fighting, bullying, and doing drugs. You can grab people’s attention by making a positive change to this world and be a role model to lots of people. Gang banging and drugs doesn’t make you look cool nor does it make you look tough. You need power in order to be tough and success in order to have power and success is knowledge.

I want to learn how to build real power. That’s my goal.

Roosevelt Elementary School College Fair


Roosevelt Elementary sixth-grader Stephanie Reyes’ eyes lit up when she described the famous alumni of Princeton University – from former First Lady Michelle Obama to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and President James Madison.
Reyes joined classmates Estevan Sandoval and Kianna Jimenez as representatives of Princeton for their school’s fourth annual College Fair on May 22. Nearly 650 Roosevelt students in preschool through sixth grade were taught college options by their peers, detailing school colors, mascots, and programs of more than two dozen universities.
“Princeton is a very beautiful campus; it looks like a castle,” Reyes said. “The university also offers great clubs and activities, including equal sports opportunities for girls.”
The College Fair has been in the works for the entire school year, with each Roosevelt classroom adopting a college in the fall and researching its programs and major offerings. Students showcased their findings on large cardboard displays highlighted with pictures, pennants, maps and fun facts about their adopted schools.
“The college fair gives our students the opportunity to teach and learn about college life,” Roosevelt Elementary Principal Sandra Verduzco. “It also allows us to plant the seeds of higher education by giving our children a glimpse into college life.”
Roosevelt students adopted more than two dozen college campuses, from Ivy League schools and UC campuses to Cal State schools and the University of Alabama. Students made presentations on their college’s programs using visual aids such as pamphlets and graduation regalia.

Enrollment data, financial aid procedures, and school demographics were often included in the college displays, along with representations of school colors, mascots, and pictures of significant campus architecture. As classes toured the fair, college presenters attempted to get students to sign their name to a sheet that expressed interest in a school. Each college set a goal of achieving 30 signatures. 
“Our District’s college-going culture begins at the elementary school level where we equip our students with the information that can help them begin dreaming of a successful future,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “By inspiring them early, we are providing them with a blueprint for success.”
Throughout the tour, Roosevelt teachers announced college trivia questions over a microphone giving the students the chance to earn prizes. After visiting the College Fair, all Roosevelt students completed a typical application to the college they found most interesting.

Message for Graduates


One of my favorite times of year is graduation season. It's a joy to see students celebrate the culmination of a journey and embark on another. I love seeing the eyes of parents and loved-ones well up with pride. But, as I reflect on my journey after high school, I wish people were more honest with me about how life would be after high school. So, here are my tips for graduates.

1. Reach for every crazy dream and lofty goal you have. Don't let anyone taint the vision for your life with their cynicism. It doesn't matter where you grew up, whether or not you had both parents, you could have been a foster or homeless youth. Your dreams and goals are valid, and you put them within your reach when you blend your God-given talents and abilities with hard work. You will face obstacles and disappointment, push past them and persist anyway.

2. Explore, live a full and productive life. Most importantly, learn and understand who you are and who you are not. Your sense of self allows you to understand your passions and clearly articulate your needs, wants and aspirations. Your sense of self should not be in comparison to anyone else's journey. There is no such thing as an age by which you should have accomplished anything. Go at your own pace; everything will happen for you in its own time.

3. Find work or hobbies that are tied to your passion. If you are fortunate, you will be able to make work out of your passions. If you cannot, make hobbies out of things you are passionate about. When you do, you enrich your soul and add to the depth and quality of your life. Too often, we focus on the means we need to survive and forget to do what it takes to live. So we must make time for things that matter to us most, those things that set our souls on fire, things that bring us joy and fulfillment.

4. You must also understand that we will inevitably face disappointment. Not every experience we have will be a positive one. At times, you will have to be amenable to incremental change and small victories. But no matter how disappointing an experience may be, you must not lose hope that things will get better. What is meant to be will be, and even though it may not seem like it now, everything is going to be okay. So, take a deep breath, chin up and press on.

5. Finally, understand that anything worth having is worth working for. The road you embark on that leads you to your dreams and success will not be an easy one. But I promise you every twist and turn, every bump and detour will be worth the view from the top. Often, people get discouraged and turn around because there isn't as much comfort as they'd like. But if you can get yourself to push past the discomfort, great things await you.

The life I have lived was not easy by any means. I have dreams that I don't share out of fear they might be too bold or lofty. One thing I know for sure is I don't think God would give me any dreams and desires that are out of my reach. The same is true for all of you. Everything you want to do, everything you need to do, you can do; you will not fail so long as you understand that rejections are lessons, delays are not denials and when you fall you should fall forward, get up and keep going. Put God first; without him, we can do nothing. The journey is long, and it is not easy, but it is worth it, and I know you will change the world for the better.

Congratulations and best of luck!


Wayfinder Foundation Launches First Fellowship Cohort in Indianapolis and Los Angeles


Now more than ever, activists have a critical role to play in shaping the future of our country and its public policies. A new program, launched this week, is cultivating the next generation of voices in communities of color around the country. By doing so, the Wayfinder Foundation is creatively finding new ways to support activists through its Community Activist Fellowship.

Starting  June 1, fourteen fellows in Indianapolis, Indiana and Los Angeles, California will lead projects focused on various issue areas including parent engagement, education access, domestic abuse, immigration, women’s rights and the use of digital media for advocacy.

“The Community Activist Fellowship is providing a way for our activists to begin a year of  intense training and support to help them change the world in which we know it. By providing resources to marginalized communities, not only are we supporting their activism, we are freeing their voices to be heard, and strengthening their regard to continue to fight,” said Wayfinder’s chief program officer, Angela Jones Hackley.

Wayfinder will begin accepting applications for its second cohort in Washington, DC, Memphis, TN, and Oakland, CA, later this month.

“Wayfinder was founded in 2017 with the mission of putting resources behind activism through investing in mothers and mother-figures by using a two-generational approach – when you help the mother, you help the child,” said Chris Stewart, CEO, Wayfinder Foundation. “It is clear in this country we create systems that are designed to punish the mother – welfare systems that keep her poor, school systems that keep her and her child undereducated. These activists are saying no more! We will not be silenced. It is our duty to support them in their efforts.”

With a combined contribution of more than $100K in financial and expert resources, the Wayfinder Foundation launched this inaugural cohort as part of their “This is Activism” multimedia campaign, focused on highlighting acts of activism across the country.

“Our Fellows are excellent examples of what happens when you don’t give in to the status quo and you aren’t afraid to stand up to fight for yourself and others. It’s heroic,” said Stewart. More information on the CAF and a list of Fellows can be found on the Wayfinder Foundation website.




by Shamaya Bowen

There are a long list of fears and anxieties students suffer as they prepare to go off to college. I should know, I’ve experienced those feelings myself. First when entering my freshman year at The University of Hartford and again on my way to San Diego State after deciding to transfer. However, as a young black woman, there’s an additional list of anxieties that have never and will never cross the minds of my peers. In addition to anxious questions like: What if I don’t make any friends? and Am I prepared for my classes? I asked questions like, will I lose touch with my culture? & How inclusive is the student body?

Another question that plagued my mind: What if my roommate is racist?

The experience of Chennel “Jazzmin” Rowe solidified a fear that most people of color have as they enter university. Rowe, a student at my past school -The University of Hartford- was purposefully “poisoned” by her roommate who later boasted of the crimes in an Instagram post. After weeks of feeling unwanted, disrespected and “like a ghost in my own room,” Jazzmin decided to move out. 

In the process of moving her stuff, a neighbor brought to Jazzmin’s attention an Instagram post of her former roommate, Briana Brucho. It read:

“Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! After 1 1/2 month of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons oh [on] her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie.”

As I watched the Facebook Live video where Jazzmin detailed her experience I was horrified, infuriated even, but not surprised. College campuses across the country have seen an increase in the amount of hate crimes. More and more, those who were banished to soapboxes have seemingly found a stage on college campuses. But students are fighting back. At the University of Hartford, students took to social media to campaign on Jazzy’s behalf. Through their efforts, they informed the media and the world at large about her experience. They then organized to meet with the university president, chief of public safety and other school faculty, to address this incident as well as racially charged incidents where students of color felt unheard and unsafe.

As my former classmates live streamed these dialogues for me to see, it felt reminiscent of the various protests and sit-ins held by black students throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

After a day of rage, disgust, disappointment and confusion, I felt reassured. Something was being done, Brianna Brochu the perpetrator has been charged with criminal mischief, breach of peace and intimidation based on bigotry or bias and if found guilty could face up to five years in prison.


As black students who have left behind the safety and comfort of friends and family to chase our dreams, goals and ambitions on college campuses, our fears are not irrational or unfounded. That said, we can take comfort in knowing our situations are not without hope. In situations of adversity, we do what we historically, have always done: We become, organized whilst offended, inspired whilst infuriated and encouraged whilst enraged. This is the shared essence of being a black student on campus. And sadly, it’s as familiar to us now as it was nearly 60 years ago.

This article was first published at

Parents Boycotting School


In the wake of another school shooting that claimed the lives of 10 students at Santa Fe High School, former United States Secretary of Education suggested parents boycott school until gun laws change. Initially, this idea seemed a bit off, but when I sat and thought about it, it makes sense, and I think I could get behind it.

Parents should not have to worry about whether or not their children are safe when they send them off to school. They should go to the school to view their students' work not to identify their remains after another instance of senseless violence involving guns.

Each time this happens, we see the same playbook; the immediate outrage, thoughts and prayers, and inaction by lawmakers. Students walked out and held rallies in capital cities. Educators and parents supported the call for change and demanded school districts update their safety plans and conduct training. Still, nothing has changed, and we have had an average of one shooting per week in 2018.

Boycotts have had a tremendous impact on spurring change because of the immediate economic effects they have. So, in theory, if parents kept their students home until laws were passed to keep students safe in school, we would see change. Lawmakers at every level would feel the brunt of the economic impact resulting from students staying home and school districts losing out on ADA funding. As a parent, this is more than a political stunt or protest. Why should we send our students somewhere where they are not safe?