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A Call to Action for Black Men

To Help Get the School Board Back on Track

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - A call to action for black menSome years ago, the Journal called for a one hundred man march to the Pasadena Unified School Board meeting. The purpose was to support the School Board members, Elbie Hickambottom and Dr. Jackie Jacobs in their fight to secure equality of opportunity for African American students. Elbie has gone on but has left a legacy of fighting for the rights of all students. Dr. Jacobs continues the struggle in her own way by serving as Vice President at Pasadena City College. However, the struggle for equality of opportunity for black students continues.

Currently, the School Board has only one African American Board member, Renatta Cooper, and a number of detractors who seem to have forgotten that the District is there to serve all students equally. Recent events surrounding Muir High School Coach Ken Howard, open disrespect for the Black Board member, and treatment of certain unnamed Black students serve as a reminder that if the powers that be don't hear and see evidence that someone is watching them, we can return to a time when the needs of Black students, staff and the Black community can be pushed aside.

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What is Your Legacy?

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - your legacyThis week I received a call from a man who was the first Black professor at Pepperdine University. He was hired in 1968 as a result of what was called the radical and militant first Black Student Union at Pepperdine. I was a founding member in 1967. As a note, the provost Pepperdine at that time was former PCC president and State Senator Jack Scott. The professor had called to say, essentially, thanks for the militance of over forty years ago. He had spent a thirty-five year career at Pepperdine and, in effect, was saying he had heard I hadn't changed. He was saying I was right then and, in a sense, I am still right because there is still work to be done. I accept that phone call and what it meant as part of the legacy of my life.

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Lessons in the Economic Slowdown

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - economic slowdown lessonsThe basics of life don't change. You need to maintain the best health you can, a certain amount of wealth and some basic knowledge to survive. In other words, you need to work to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, which takes some education, some employment and some common sense. As the world goes through the present economic slowdown, recession, or junior depression, there are lessons to be learned or revisited and shared with our children.

My dad shared with me the lessons of the great depression of the 1930's which followed the 1929 stock market crash. Hopefully, you know what I'm talking about or you are lacking in the third element of my analysis, i.e., wisdom. As a result of that great depression, our family made the decision to move west to California from rural Altus, Oklahoma, a town of about 20,000 people. My dad worked on that job most of his life while helping my mother start a used/second hand clothing and furniture business which became the family business. The business provided a place for each of the children to work and contribute to the family's well being.

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A Room Full of Brothers Talking About Doing God's Work and Addressing the Question: “Adam Where Are You?”

(Why Black Men Don't Go To Church)

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Making a communityMore than 100 Black men met early on Saturday morning, October 1, to discuss the topic, "Why Black Men Don't Go to Church" and what can be done about it. The occasion was the Yoke Men's fellowship monthly meeting at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena, CA. The men came from churches all around the area to discuss this important topic and share their ideas about improving Black men's participation in church affairs.

The reasons that evolved included the traditional and unique, old and new reasons as broad as interfering with television football schedules, to questioning whether the church fulfils the needs of the individual brother. What was clear was that Black men are more doers than just talkers, and if there was something to do, they would be there to put their hands to doing those things that benefitted the community, more so than the church.

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Sidetracked . . .

. . . More Lessons from a Black Lawyer's Perspective

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - sidetrackedI have been asked to take part in a panel discussion on the subject of "Why More Black Men Don't Go To Church." As I prepared some notes on this serious subject it struck me that some of the same reasons could apply to more aspects of Black men's lives such as, why more Black Men don't embrace entrepreneurship and go into business more, or why many Black men are so willing to leave home and abandon their children for some outside interests, or why are there so many Black Men in prison, and why are so many men willing to avoid marriage?

All of these are painful questions, but the sooner they are dealt with on a continuous basis, the sooner we can improve the situation. Please note that I didn't say solve the problem. I feel we can improve the problem. I also note that these are questions that most people wish would not be played out and dealt with in public. But when we accept a culture that glorifies a thug culture from their Rap music to their underwear exposing dress code, it's already out in public. I've always said you should try to do things you are proud of, then you don't mind them being played out in public.

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