Here is video of President Barack Obama's speech from last night's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The President is inarguably an awesome speaker/communicator but this speech made me sad. Has it hit you yet? The thought that this man will no longer be President of the United States in a few months really saddens me. Now don't get it twisted, I'm not one of those people who agrees with every decision he's made. I do know that he is absolutely the best president during my lifetime and I want him to stay in office. Let's just change the constitution, why don't we?
Enjoy this speech, in video and text, by Donovan Livingston, Ed.M.'16, student speaker at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2016 Convocation exercises. Instead of a traditional speech, he chose to communicate via spoken word and he is awesome.
“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.
At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — I couldn’t write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.
Yet somehow, we have never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But, hey, I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.
Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my own consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
And a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
So my body, like my mind
Cannot be contained.
As educators, rather than raising your voices
Over the rustling of our chains,
Take them off. Un-cuff us.
Unencumbered by the lumbering weight
Of poverty and privilege,
Policy and ignorance.
I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,
“Donovan, we can put all of your excess energy to good use!”
And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.
She gave me a stage. A platform.
She told me that our stories are the ladders
That make it easier for us to touch the stars.
So climb and grab them.
Keep climbing. Grab them.
Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.
Light up the world with your luminous allure.
To educate requires Galileo-like patience.
Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.
If you take the time to connect the dots,
You can plot the true shape of their genius —
Shining in their darkest hour.
I look each of my students in the eyes,
And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt
And the pyramids of Giza.
I see the same twinkle
That guided Harriet to freedom.
I see them. Beneath their masks and their mischief,
Exists an authentic frustration;
An enslavement to your standardized assessments.
At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened right here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — searching for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their true potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging the night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.
Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been the Black hole in a classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light to escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
So no — no, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Newly redesigned $20 bill will feature Harriet Tubman on its face and Andrew Jackson on the reverse side.
Yesterday, Black folk in the US went absolutely crazy celebrating the announcement that abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace President Andrew Jackson on the United States $20 bill. However, Andrew Jackson is not “off” the $20 as has been widely reported. Andrew Jackson will be on the reverse side of the new $20 bill along with a depiction of the White House. Any logical thinker and realist would know that the United States is not about to allow a woman, especially a black woman, to totally displace a white male on currency. Let’s just keep it real.
Also know that the $5 and $10 bills have also been redesigned. The concept for the newly redesigned bills will not be unveiled until 2020 and there is no firm date of when a decision on the final design for the bills will be made and the when the bills will be placed in circulation. Let that sink in. It will be four years before the “concept” will be unveiled. Also note that the U.S. Treasury website indicates that the $10 bill, honoring women’s suffrage leaders —Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, will be released first.
Black folk, as a people group, have yet to rise to the level of actually earning the respect of the power brokers in this country because Black folk still don’t know, and therefore use, their actual power. So Black folk are frequently placated by superficial actions such as this redesign of United States currency.
Don't get it twisted, Harriet Tubman on United States currency is a good thing. Sharing her depiction on currency with Andrew Jackson who was a slaveholder and lead in the genocide of Native Americans? Waiting at least four years for the bill to even be released into circulation? Not so much. Only in America are Blacks expected to be happy while they are being insulted.
At least three Democratic voters were told there were only ballots available for the Republican race at Precinct 321 in Winter Haven, Florida. The voters, including Teresa Wibert, showed up to participate in Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary Election on March 15, 2016. Wibert was initially given a Republican ballot. When she questioned that, she was told there were only Republican ballots. Wibert persisted and knew her rights as a voter. A call was made to the Polk County Elections Department. The clerk at Precinct 321 was told the ballots for the Democratic race were located in a closet. Wibert, her husband, and the other Democrat voted using the correct ballot.
The Polk County elections supervisor, Lori Edwards, and other elections officials in Polk County are trying to minimize this serious incident but it should be reported to the Department of Justice. How many other voters were given the wrong ballot? How many other voters were turned away? Has this happened during previous elections at this precinct? Did this happen at other precincts in Florida?
This incident highlights why it is important to know your voting rights in this country and that you exercise those rights. When you hear citizens say voting is not important, or their vote doesn't matter, they need to understand that voting is so critical that some folks will try to stop you from doing it.
It’s apparent that Donald Trump will say, and likely, do anything in his quest to become president of the United States. He led the failed birther movement in questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama, who is an American. He has referred to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as a communist when Sanders is not. He said he’s going to make Mexico pay to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to keep illegal immigrants out. Mexico's president balked at the statement. Trump has encouraged his supporters to attack protesters at his campaign rallies and offered to pay the attackers' legal fees. I wouldn't be surprised if Trump's campaign isn't staging some of the protests at his rallies just to distract his supporters (and the media) so he won't have to expose his ignorance of domestic and international policy issues.
Trump's dog whistle politics deliberately lacks the typical subtlety GOP candidates, and their surrogates are known for. He has tapped into the anger and fear of "poorly-educated" white Americans. He used that term, and the number of his supporters seems to continue to increase. Go figure.
Let me translate Trump's slogan Let's Make America Great Again. The message...Let's make America White Again. Let's make America segregated again and put those minorities (and women) in their place. Please see MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's segment as she beautifully and skillfully exposes Donald Trump's Race War.
In spite of this madness, Donald Trump's Republican opponents have indicated they will support him if he is their party’s nominee. What does that say about them? There is an epic leadership fail in the Republican Party. They choose to destroy the United States of America. They choose politics over people even if the people are the "poorly educated" Republican voters or other men, women and children in the United States. Including you.
"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country." - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
This is really horrible. Some people are heartless. Taunting a bus of unaccompanied minors from Central America is just difficult to fathom. There was a mistaken identification of the children as immigrant children. The children were actually campers at a local YMCA. So, I guess, if they were immigrant children from Central America, that makes the taunting acceptable? Really? How sad.
Everyone has a right to their opinion. Taunting children, immigrant or not, is unconscionable. The candidate in this video eventually tried to clean up his response but that didn’t work. God Bless America.
It's way too early since the death of former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, for folks to twist his legacy for their political gain. However, just hours after Mandela's death, former Senator from Pennsylvania and former presidential candidate Rick Santorumt did just that. Santorum actually compared he GOP fight against the Affordable Care Act to the horrendous sacrifices of Nelson Mandela and the horrendous environment that was apartheid. Sad, just sad but what should one expect since ACA was previously equated to Hurricane Katrina?
If Santorum chooses to run for president again, this interview will be used against him without a doubt. On the flip side, there is an element of voters that will be convinced to vote for him because of his commentary. Fortunately, there are far too many more reasonable Americans to allow him to prevail.
President Obama is really a class act. He has been faced with incredible challenges as the leader of the United States. It was necessary for the President to carefully consider his actions and reactions during his first term in office. To some extent that holds true now but since the President is in his last term, I think he needs to go 'Chris Christie' on some folks when putting them in check.
Case in point, Jake Tapper of ABC News (he has since moved to CNN). In referring to gun control during a recent press conference, Tapper had the audacity to ask President Obama 'where've you been?' Don't get me wrong, the President checked Tapper and he was still very respectful in his retort. As a matter of fact he was more respectful of Tapper than Tapper was of him.
I'd like to have seen President Obama respond something like this, "Dude, where have I been? The real question is why did you ask such a lame-brained question? You know what's transpired in this nation and globally, or at least you should --- you're the media. The next time you have the opportunity to ask a question at a press conference, don't waste my time, nor that of the other folks present. Most important, show some respect, I am your President whether you like it our not."
Now, I know President Obama would not say that, at least not publicly, he's too cool. He's also as shrewd as he is cool so he's really not someone to be messed with. It is the responsibility of Tapper and other correspondents to ask tough questions when necessary but professionals are not expected to be disrespectful when doing so.
A couple of days after the press conference, it was announced that Jake Tapper is moving to CNN and he'll have his own show. It's also my understanding that the deal was cut before Jeff Zucker took over the reins at CNN.
While President Obama is admired by many, he is also the most disrespected President of the United States by his own countrymen. Many people complained to ABC News about Tapper. More of that needs to be done in the future when our President is disrespected.
This video is a reminder of the flip-flopping and outright lies of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. His campaign has been divisive, chauvinistic and un-American. He has proven that with a straight face, he will say and do anything to win.
Check out this video mash-up of the two faces of Mitt Romney.