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The Invisible Achievement Gap

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Invisible Achievement GapAcross the country it's back to school time. I hope it is a year full of promise and not disappointment and added stress for all children, especially those most vulnerable. I also hope this school year begins with a renewed commitment by all teachers and school administrators to help every child succeed.

Every year too many children don't get the respect and extra help they need to reach their full potential. Children of color, poor children, English learners, and children with disabilities are especially likely to be left behind. And there is another group of children – those in foster care – whose special needs too often are ignored. Many school districts do not even know which students are in foster care and are not tracking their performance.

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America Needs a Raise

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Who gets the U.S. wealth - minimum wageThe Dow Jones Industrial Average has been floating at or above the 17,000 mark in the past two months – an all time high. There has been a stumble here and a wrinkle there, but even with a weak unemployment report for August, the Dow has remained over 17,000. This compares with a Dow of 13,000 just a year ago (or a 30 percent gain), and is generally seen as a sign of economic progress and of increased wealth.

Who gets the wealth, though? Fifty-two percent of U.S. adults own stock which includes mutual funds, Individual Retirement Accounts, and 401-k accounts down from 65 percent in 2007. The drop in the level of stock holdings can be at least partly attributed to the Great Recession, when high levels of unemployment forced people to go into their savings to survive. Maybe, too, dissolved stock holdings to help them with housing crises and underwater mortgages. For those reasons, and for many others, stock ownership is falling.

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Driving While Black – and Poor

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Race and money still matterSt. Louis County has 90 municipalities – ranging in population from 13 to nearly 52,000 – and most of them sustain themselves by targeting, fining and jailing poor Missouri residents, many of them Black, who are unable to pay traffic tickets.

A "white paper" by ArchCity Defenders, a group that defends the poor in the St. Louis area for free, carefully details how Ferguson and other small villages and municipalities in the state have perfected the art of exploiting those who drive while Black – and poor.

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Ferguson: A Painful Reminder of Black Angst and Anger

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Hakim Hazim on Ferguson and Black angstPeople call us loud and rightfully so. History teaches us that we must seize the opportunity to channel national attention toward the injustices we face. We are a loud people with voices that carry and at times we get caught in the emotion and don't demonstrate proper restraint (I'm not talking about looting and the destruction of property. I'll never give the criminal opportunists in our community the same standing as our sages and upstanding folks.). Wisdom provides restraint. This essay is an attempt to bring clarity to the events in Ferguson, MO. It is an attempt to wrest the narrative away from all of the negative things perpetuated about our community and shine a light on how codified social stereotypes continue to be used against us in the media. The Black victim or the Black victimizer seems to be the only choice offered. I believe Black Angst and anger and how these cousins are handled by us and law enforcement should be given equal time.

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