Another occasional re-post from several years ago...Poverty continues to be a significant factor in educating the more than 850,000 students in Region 10. Nearly 60% of our students are economically disadvantaged, and that percentage has been relatively constant since this was originally posted in 2005.
City Square (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) continues to be one of the most effective advocates on behalf of the poor in Dallas. At the 2005 annual Urban Ministries Prayer Breakfast, CDM Executive Director Gerald Britt introduced keynote speaker Eddie Bernice Johnson. Here is an excerpt from his remarks...
And so, just as there is a politics of infrastructure, or public safety, or public education, there is a politics of bread.
The number of households which suffered from food insecurity increased by nearly one million from 2003-2004. Texas leads the nation in the percentage of households which experience food insecurity at 16%.
Any serious conversation in a city like Dallas about those among us, who daily face the issues of food insecurity and food inadequacy, dare not be confined to individual charity and institutional good will.
In a city like ours, people among us who go daily without healthy and nourishing food, because they don’t make enough money, or live in the wrong neighborhood, is a sad commentary on our collective priorities and ambitions.
While many of us seek to excuse ourselves from the conversation by pointing out the social pathologies of those whom we classify as “poor,” I would remind you that we are reminded daily of the pathologies of those who have sought safe haven in the suburbs. The purposelessness, self-destructiveness, the histories and habits of sin, the nihilism and materialism that characterize those of us who are middle class, leave us no room to point fingers.
The desperations of the poor and the prosperous, don’t teach us that any of us are better than one another, they teach us that we need one another.
The fact is, in a city like Dallas, there are far too many churches, far too many non-profits, far too many programs for anyone to go hungry because they don’t have access to healthy and nutritional food choices.
...But I will also make you another commitment. We will keep on working on the politics of bread.
It’s not enough to salve our corporate, theological, or electoral consciences by quoting Jesus, when He says, “The poor you will have with you always.”
We will continue to provide the pantry, AND train our neighbors for living wage jobs; we will feed the children AND work on fit and affordable housing; we will help those who are providing warm hot meals AND we will make health care accessible, AND we will work with every segment of and system in our society to bring people from dependency to the dignity of self-sufficiency, because it is what is right and just. And because that which is owed in justice, should never be given in charity.
Dr. King Matters
A legacy comes from both actions and words. Here are a few of the words that contribute to the powerful legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King...
An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Trust is one's willingness to be vulnerable to another based on the confidence that the other is benevolent, honest, open, reliable, and competent...Megan Tschannen-Moran
Fear. Suspicion. Disdain. Alternative Facts. One cannot spend much time on social media or traditional media without recognizing that these attitudes are pervasive in today's world. These conditions undermine the trust that is fundamental to the building of effective educational communities and make it more important than ever that leaders are intentional about building trust.
Building trust involves both extending trust and acting/living in such a way as to be worthy of trust. Bryk and Schneider identified 4 significant components that are present in someone who is regarded as trustworthy:
Demonstrating respect, integrity, competence, showing personal regard - these are all within the sphere of our own control.
Throwback Thursday - Hope Matters
One of the occasional re-posting of posts I wrote over a decade ago that I find to be still applicable. A sense of Hope is one of the most crucial factors in preparing all learners for their future.
from early 2007...
Growing up in the 70's in Wheeling, WV there were not many options when it came to listening to the radio, and they were pretty well limited to the AM side of the dial. There was a country station and a couple of pop stations; occasionally when the weather was just right, you could pick up an FM station or two from Pittsburgh and hear some "good" music.
One of the things I discovered upon moving to Texas was Willie Nelson. I was listening to one of my Willie cds this morning and this song just grabbed my attention. Here is the second verse and chorus:
I married Rebecca back in '77
And I still love her, and I guess
she loves me too
We go to church on Sundays
'cause we want to go to Heaven
Me and my family, ain't that how
you're supposed to do
But, I'm tired, Lord, I'm tired
Life is wearin' me smooth down to the bone
No rest for the weary, you just move on
And I'm tired, Lord, I'm tired.
I think Willie describes a world without a real sense of hope, and certainly a world where the idea of an abundant life doesn't exist. In the life he describes, you do the best you can to fulfill your duties and responsibilities, and hope it was good enough to earn a reward. How many people wear themselves down struggling through life with little or no sense of hope?
Grateful living is important in the world because in our constant pursuit of more and better we can easily lose sight of the riches that lay right in front of us and within us. ~ Guri Mehta
A final New Year reflection - I've chosen Gratitude as my #OneWord2019. (Last year's was Courage) As defined by Wikipedia, "Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’, is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity"
Robert Emmons, a leading researcher on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components:
Research indicates there are a number of benefits to developing an attitude of gratitude, some of which are described in the following video.
I live a life of abundance - family, material blessings, work that matters, co-workers who inspire, health, and too many opportunities to count; I choose to be grateful.