Thursday, August 23, 2012

NONPROFIT THURSDAY: Resources for African American Youth; Wade Oval Wednesdays; Voter Suppression

The African American community is often castigated for its indifference to our young.  Critics, many of whom are not well meaning or constructive, fault us for ignoring our children’s education, manners, home training, health and the like.

To be sure, many of these self-assured pontificators and tut-tutters are African American themselves. And there is certainly room for improvement in pretty much every area of our community, regardless of how we interpret “our”.

The other side of the coin however is that there are many organizations and individuals who work and contribute to the general uplift of our young people. They often operate without fanfare.

We have come across a number of these outstanding efforts in just the last couple of months as we have begun to work more formally with what we have long referred to as “EAGs”, or ethnic affinity groups. We use that term to refer to those innumerable social, communal, neighborhood, professional, faith sororities, fraternities, beneficial societies and organizations that black people formed to provide essential community benefits when the larger American counterparts excluded us from participation.

While popular belief adheres to the fiction that that time was long ago and far away, the reality is that exclusion from opportunity has been and continues to be the norm in the lived experiences of most black Americans of all ages. This is true even in the nominal Age of Obama, Diversity, and Multiculturalism.

Rules and roles around racial and ethnic identity are changing, but the vestiges of centuries of legal and social practices and attitudes die hard.

The more racially retarded among us love to argue that we have become a colorblind society. Even worse, some whites see race/racism as a zero-sum game that they are now losing.

All of this is part of the background that informs our sense that compiling an inventory of the programs and services available to African American young people in Northeast Ohio would be a beneficial exercise.

The verbal and in some cases informational responses we are getting suggest that this listing can become a useful community resource. So once again, we invite you to join in this collective effort and respond to our request to send the pertinent info to if your church, club, sorority, fraternity, social, auxiliary, civic or other nonprofit organization provides resources [programs scholarships, mentoring, field trips, college tours, etc.] to area African American boys and girls.

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Wade Oval Wednesdays

It has been said with truth that 11am on Sunday is the most racially segregated hour in America. In Cleveland the antidote to that is Wade Oval Wednesdays.

The weekly summer picnic in Cleveland’s University Circle is beyond question the most eclectic, integrated, wholesome, heavenly recurring activity in our town. Old, young, robust, frail, wealthy, poor, urban, suburban, blond, dreaded, solitary, betrothed, pet lovers, the animal adverse, vegetarians, prime ribbers, tree huggers, chain smokers, hippies, Brooks Brethren, students, veterans, the blind and the bespectacled, Browns backers, LeBron haters, Frisbee throwers, music lovers, exhibitionists, the bi-polar and the ambivalent, the tall and lean, the short and stout, the bald and the hirsute, the tidy and the slovenly, the shy and the gregarious, PhDs and no degrees, the native and the transplant, the Asian, the South American, the European, the Middle Easterner and the African, and impossible to decipher amalgams of each all spread over a lush expanse of nature, encircled by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the Botanical Gardens, and Case Western Reserve University to enjoy beautiful weather and the strains of reggae, blues, classical, hillbilly, rock, salsa, et al in a FREE EVENT.

The naturalness of it all is extraordinarily blissful. Yesterday was like nature without predators. Lions and lambs and all that.

Next week is the last gathering for Cleveland Summer 2012. The music will mine the Blues/Rock vein, performed by The Soul Men and a Blues Brothers Tribute with Shady Drive Band. Six to Nine. Come early or come later.

Be there or be square.

• • •

Tomorrow, the Cleveland State University Black Alumni Association will meet up with the After Five Friday posse led by inveterate networkers Alton Tinker, Donna Dabbs and Jesse LeGrande for the post-workweek happy hour confection of music, libation, food, and networking at Bodega’s Restaurant, 1854 Coventry, Cleveland Heights. The evening runs from 5:30 to 11p.
• • •

And I don't know how I posted but failed to mention tonight's program at 7PM on Voter Suppression at the Cleveland Heights Public Library, 2345 Lee Rd.

The speakers will include former Cleveland law director Subodh Chandra, Kathe Mayer, co-president of the Heights-Hillcrest branch of the American Association of University Women, and State Senator Shirley Smith, D-21 Cleveland. Your correspondent will serve as moderator.

Tea and cookies will be served at this event, sponsored by the ADA of Northeast Ohio, a chapter of Americans for Democratic Action based in Washington DC.

1 comment:

Henry Ford said...

EXCELLENT comments that make it easier rather than harder to walk the walk that we must, or watch both the clock and the calendar speed us backward into a dismal past.