Finding peace, pulling pieces and seeking justice

A lot happened  in the past few days.  My goddaughter was dedicated to God. My baby bro is Dunk Master Flex. I have about five new freckles on my face.

Ok, in all seriousness, my previous post “Putting the BIG in bigotry” garnered more views than anything else on my blog.  It also nearly sent my poor Blackberry into cardiac arrest with all the notifications. I was definitely getting the red light special all through the night. 

The post went viral, especially for an indie blog created a few months ago, with the support of hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter, through email and search engines. For additional eyes on the thoughts and words that I labor over, I am eternally grateful.

The experience highlighted commonality in people of various backgrounds and with diverse life experiences.

Friends, associates and strangers from the Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University and northern Louisiana community expressed concerns about the need for sensitivity in our dealings with one another. We didn’t shy away from troubling issues of race, responsibility and equality.

The piece was shared in other regions, too, which solidified that staying up in the middle of the night and hammering out a counter-narrative was worth the following day’s exhaustion and post-response euphoria.

This was a teachable moment.

As such, Louisiana Tech responded with a statement addressing freedom of speech, prior review, and why they ultimately pulled the piece from editor-in-chief Rebecca Spence in the online edition of their publication, The Tech Talk.  http://www.thetechtalk.org/?p=5159

The largest issue is the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death. Recently, voice analysis experts determined that screams heard at the crime scene could not have been from George Zimmerman.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/trayvon-martin-shooting-911-call-screams_n_1394224.html

Also, change.org’s petition for justice in Martin’s case is the largest petition in the site’s history.

http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

That’s pretty impressive considering that the site boasts more than 100,000 petitions. All of these events highlight the need for timely engagement from various constituents. The impact of an engaged audience and society cannot be undermined.

Learning from the Penn State allegations

Joe Paterno’s recent death caused many to wonder if he succumbed to lung cancer or stress stemming from the larger than life Penn State fall from grace.

When multiple sexual abuse allegations surfaced, many Eddie Robinson fans believed that Paterno’s record was invalidated by his inaction.

Regardless of where people stand on interrelated issues of  records, sports lore, abuse, victimization, brand building and power, sensitivity is important.

Communities want to keep their legacies. And while that is understandable, if the Penn State  debacle does not serve as a lesson, it was for nought.

Peace to all involved. Protect children. Check out my post on HBCU Digest on the subject.

http://www.hbcudigest.com/joe-paterno-and-eddie-robinson-reflections-on-character-and-action/

P.S. Why did Sandusky, the man charged, issue a statement? Errr. Does. Not. Compute.

State of the Union reinforces education

President Obama ministered to my spirit in last night’s State of the Union address when he said, “Higher education cannot be a luxury.”

Despite education’s liberating properties, it struggles to endure.

It gets gutted in budgets. In the face of unsettling economic times, it is undermined.

In an age of overly relying on standardized tests and normative assessments, it is confined to a box that many would rather skip altogether in pursuit of scant odds at becoming a star.

When knee-high to a grasshopper, many of us were taught that knowledge is power.

While pedagogical progress is hardly limited to classrooms, desks, chalkboards and Smart Boards, “book smarts” frequently contribute to the lives of people across the globe.

Education orders thoughts, increases knowledge, and illuminates cultural similarities and dissimilarities. But, it also swags out pockets, opportunities and lifestyles—when done properly.

Recent Census Bureau data reports that a master’s degree renders $1.3 million more during a lifetime than a high school diploma. A bachelor’s degree tends to add nearly $1 million more in lifetime earnings for an individual.

Certainly people nab high paying jobs without additional degrees. Some build fruitful lives for themselves and their families.

But, the president would not have ascended to his position of power without the world-class education that he received. Numerous others have similar stories.

As a recent graduate in a funky economy I am aware of pessimistic reports, and unfavorable odds; however, I come from long lines of educated people on both sides of my family.

Plus, we grind. Challenging work is often more exhilarating than exhausting.

It will be interesting to see how the political season inspires more conversations about the validity of degrees and the need for knowing.

I am ready to take notes.