Calling All Brothers
September 12, 2015 1:53 PM   Subscribe

On August 25, a group of 100 men of color lined up outside Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, in Hartford to greet and cheer for the children on their first day of school. “In an urban community, people say that black men [aren’t] valued or there aren’t enough black men doing something,” Pastor AJ Johnson explained. “I wanted to prove everyone wrong.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen (9 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
posted by leotrotsky at 2:21 PM on September 12, 2015

I've seen notice of several districts (or members of the community in the school districts, it's a bit difficult to see where the lead is in the groups) in my area doing this. My first thought was that it reminded me of a co-worker who, for over 30 years worked in an alternative education setting and of those thirty years greeted every.single.student into the building with a smile, a handshake, and an acknowledgement of the unique individuals that they are. This is not a new effort, these groups didn't invent encouraging students/young people.

My second thought was...they damn well better continue to be there, and offer more than a handshake or a high five. They need to be in the schools mentoring students, in the community patrolling the streets, in their businesses providing jobs and guidance, in the homes educating parents, and in every other aspect of these kids lives.

I realize I sound cynical, perhaps it's all the years that i've watched as the funding for education has eroded, as the respect for teachers and educators has changed to blame and scape-goating, painting them as the cause of the problems our country faces.

Last night I watched all the major networks broadcast "Think It Up"... a great idea, but sadly, my thought was... "It appears that we've turned to supporting education through donations"...

Good for these guys, I hope they are there tomorrow..
posted by HuronBob at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2015

Tomorrow's not the first day of school, though.
posted by postcommunism at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm glad they're doing this, but considering the segregation and poor funding of (non-magnet) schools, it's more upon the rest of society to stop using negative stereotypes of black men, as well as provide better school funding. Demanding they be there every day is a cruel tax of their time.
posted by halifix at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

even if it is only one day, it is better than no day.
posted by greenhornet at 3:53 PM on September 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

As a generic (oh privileged i guess) white guy I think this is fantastic. Of all the possibilities to mitigate the effects of racism, education should be up there. While one can gripe about sufficient involvement, kids are kids and sometime just one bright thing can change their school career/lives. From one photo it does look like it may have been good to give some of the younger children a hint to prepare.
posted by sammyo at 5:52 PM on September 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Total class. Awesome.
posted by effugas at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wait, school starts in August now?
posted by I-baLL at 7:32 AM on September 13, 2015

The Hartford [CT] Public Schools district-wide calendar [pdf]: the first day of school is August 25.

Not sure if a couple of commenters thought this was some elaborate hoax because school didn't start until September when they attended, or maybe still doesn't where they live, but school years start before September 1 for the majority of American public school districts now. Not everyone is into it.
posted by skoosh at 11:13 AM on September 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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