K.I.P.P-(KIDS IN PRISON PROGRAM)-BLACK BALLED AND PUNISHED

“While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about.”
  — Angela Schwindt

It takes a lot for me to speak on or expose many details of my personal life especially those that pertain to that of my eleven-year old. For many who are familiar with Dude (my son’s nickname since birth) and I it is no secret that we move quite effectively as a unit, where there is he there is me. This was no different when we decided to enroll in KIPP Triumph Academy, a choice charter school located in Saint Louis City[but a much smaller entity attached to a larger national conglomerate]. It was all of the glitz and glamour that was sold to us upon out initial new family tour during the spring of 2015. From the moment we stepped foot inside the school we were more than impressed with their advance curriculum, the dedication of the teachers and of course the super fly uniforms.

However, it wasn’t long before the honeymoon phase was over for us; it quickly became evident as to why the children refer to KIPP as the “KIDS IN PRISON PROGRAM”. Now granted, I whole heartedly support their academic learning structure but the rigorous and overbearing discipline structure is extreme and over the top for children who more likely that not are transitioning from less restrictive public school structures.  KIPP serves the “under-privelaged, low-income” urban families in the inner cities, and recruit and employ young first year white Teach for America educators to pay their dues to what they believe to be poor, unfortunate, undereducated children whose parents surely can’t have more than a high school diploma or a G.E.D. [ This is the furthest things from the truth as it pertains to the families attending KTA]. I have been an active member of the school’s Parent Ambassador group, taking time out of my schedule to attend meetings, book fairs and new family orientations to encourage new families to come to KIPP, chaperoning dances,  and much much more. Over time I have noticed that the strict and extreme discipline structure gives children more time out of school than in for even the smallest of infractions. My son has been one of said students who no matter how big or small his indiscretion is he pays a hefty price. [No I am not one of those “My child does no wrong mothers, I know my child is a handful but right is right] 

This is our story.

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Fairwell to a King

Early yesterday morning news began to spread throughout St. Louis’ social media circles that the life of Activist Darren “King D” Seals had been taken. The details of his demise are not what’s important but more so what he stood for. Details surrounding his untimely death can be found here http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/07/us/ferguson-protest-leader-darren-seals-found-dead-in-vehicle.html?_r=0. screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-9-04-25-pm

I knew Darren personally and was often in complete awe of his conversation and his knowledge. He was passionate and driven for the causes he supported. We didn’t always see eye to eye but none the less my respect for him was real. Those who knew Darren and those who knew of him are in mourning, Saint Louis, Missouri is in mourning as we try to understand the who and the why. We lost one of our own and we can’t seem to grasp a complete understanding, so instead of claiming conspiracy theories and guesses. He stood with the family of slain teen Mike Brown in Ferguson, he would get off work from his job at General Motors and help find lost children, he was a man for his community. Today all I can do is  simply offer my condolences to a man who stood for what he believed in, fought those who were afraid to fight for themselves and was a man of many words. As well as to his mother and younger brother of whom he dedicated his life.

A true King who joined a fight that those who followed alongside him will continue.  Rest in Power King Darren, you may now take your rightful place among those like you. Your legacy will forever be remembered and the fight for justice will continue. You are loved dear heart!

REST IN POWER AND LOVE!

“The Price of Freedom is Death.”~Malcolm X

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#BuildingUpBlack

Happy Monday! It has been quite some time since we last came together so we have a bit of catching up to do. Since my last post about Daniel “Boone” fuller, also known as “The Man on the Billboard” I took some time to look at and evaluate the current state in which the community I live is in. Saint Louis, Missouri has been the subject of national news for over a year following the murder of Mike Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. This unjust act sparked national outrage and shined a light on the  killings of unarmed black men and women by law enforcement. In cities all across the country [and the world] “Black Lives Matter” has been at the forefront of protests, giving voices to those who can no longer speak for themselves and bringing police brutality to the forefront. I salute the men and women who stand for such a worthy cause.

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The Man on the Billboard

On October 17th, 2014 Robert Edward Torrence Sr. was shot while standing in the front yard of his home; his life slipped away a few hours later and he was no longer Robert Torrence he was homicide victim 117. Before October 17th, 2014 Robert who was often called King or Tr33z, was more than just a number; he was a father of 4 amazing children, a brother and a son, and he was also my bestfriend. He was not a thug or a drug dealer nor was he the intended target; but the streets seem to take no prisoners and show no mercy.

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By the Numbers

*This is part one of a two part series. I have written about the violence in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri for a very long time. I have been an advocate for victims of violence since the murder of my childhood friend in late 2006. So this is nothing new for me and I am not jumping on the band wagon. Being a voice for those who have been victimized is my purpose and I fully intend to walk in it.*

“When you tell YOUR story, YOU hold your own pen. Don’t let anyone write YOUR story!~Tracy Martin

As an ROTC flight commander in high school I remember calling cadence, and there were a few cadence we would do so “by the numbers”. I also remember during my time spent in the Army our drill sergeants also called cadence “by the numbers”. I’m sure you are like what in the world is she getting at with this? It will all make sense momentarily I promise.

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