Against all odds: School offers hope, opportunity for young men

By Maria Dugandzic
CNN

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — The odds were never good for 16-year-old D’Angelo Gardner. His father died of a heroin overdose when he was 9 years old, and by the eighth grade, he was caught up in a gang.

Urban Prep Academy

“I had a real bad attitude towards … everybody. I didn’t wanna talk, I didn’t wanna do work,” D’Angelo recalls. “It was just hard, and I didn’t wanna be there.”

Growing up in Englewood, one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, the statistics for young black men are grim. Only one in 40 African-American males in Chicago will finish college, and 50 percent will drop out of high school. If that weren’t bad enough, guns and gang violence are almost a part of daily life. This year, nearly 30 Chicago Public School students have been shot to death.

But in the center of this impoverished neighborhood, there is hope.

The Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, founded in 2002, has become a haven. The charter school, which is not part of the Chicago Public Schools system, has a mission to prepare young black men for college and promote self-esteem and success. (read more)

Managing Expectations for the Obama Presidency

Here’s an interesting article (see below) from our fam over at Black Agenda Report regarding some of Obama’s policies/views and the impact (or lack thereof) they might have on the Black community. I think the main takeaway from the article should be that Obama may not be all he’s cracked up to be, and folks may be setting themselves up for disappointment when they find out that the President doesn’t operate in a vacuum and can’t single-handedly make good on all these promises that Obama is making. Having a Black President is great, but our goal as American Negroes should continue to be becoming self-sufficient and having enough control over our own destinies to not need a Black President to “save” us or validate our place in this country. Even when Obama is elected, the struggle will be far from over. But in the meantime, who else is there to vote for? McCain?….be serious!

Anyway, here’s the article…

Barack Obama vs. Black Self-determination

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

ObamaLecturnOne of the great ironies of the current campaign season, is the assumption by so many Black voters that by supporting Barack Obama for president, they are making a real contribution to African American self-determination. Nothing could be further from the truth. The candidate, himself, is mightily opposed to the principle of African American self-determination, as he revealed in great detail and beyond doubt in rejecting Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s narrative on America’s origins. Obama also has no more respect than other corporate politicians for principles of international law and the sovereignty of nations. Should he win the presidency, U.S. militarization of African will continue, as will American bullying of its Latin American neighbors.

Obama-ism – a thoroughly corporate political concoction soaked with banalities and wrapped in fraudulent brown packaging – presents a clear and present danger to perhaps the greatest legacy of the Black Freedom Movement: African Americans’ embrace of their right to self-determination. Although African American yearnings for self-determination are evident in all previous eras, the general and dramatic emergence of this fundamental understanding among Blacks of their distinct “peoplehood” and inherent right to shape their own collective destiny, free of veto by or need for validation from dominant whites, marks the Sixties as a transformational period in African American history. (read the full article here)