Honor Women’s History Month; Create a Powerful One
During Women’s History Month, like Black History Month, scores of history-makers are revealed that aren’t acknowledged in textbooks or mainstream media. It’s a time to get a crash course on contributions made by many African-Americans. The thought gave birth to an idea whose time, I think, has come, actually overdue, the idea of acknowledging family as a powerful source and opportunity for youth to learn and practice skills. Actually, it’s not new, perhaps merely forgotten. After all, among our ancestors were inventors and skilled laborers, having inherited and practiced skills at early ages in their villages prior to being enslaved. While there is no longer the caption “Slave”, today African-Americans are dependent upon descendants of slave owners for employment and while the physical chains are no longer used we have inherited mental chains that the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation did not address. And while we have had and continue to have men and women who courageously challenge racist practices on many levels, PN sees the need and opportunity to make home the place where the children are prepared to create a world where mere survival is replaced by thriving individuals who resurrect the highest-held value of Africans: “ the interpersonal relationship between human beings”. This month, while women who have contributed to society are being recognized, PN would like to highlight practices and accomplishments of women who are rearing, molding and setting empowering examples for future generations. We invite parents to share their Home Works! Practices. Let’s reconstruct the village that it takes to raise a child home by home, block by block.
While it’s not publicized or generally recognized, children of Africa are still skilled individuals although many have become victims of “You lose what you don’t use”. Given the high level of dependency on a government that‘s invading and killing children in other countries, allowing gun proliferation here where death by guns is raging among our youth and youth imprisonment provides profit so there’s no movement to stop the school-to-prison pipeline, the Notebook is launching a search for parents and guardians to share what they’re doing to uncover and nurture skills from home base. In future columns we will examine ways to develop self-esteem projects appropriate for youth through adolescence.
In January, I attended a birthday party for Nailah, a 5th-grader who turned 11 that was attended by ten 3rd through 7th-graders and Azana, five years old. The main event was the guests preparing the meal of Green Salad, Barbecued Chicken, Chicken Nuggets and Baked Ziti. Dancing, singing and playing games followed. Debbie, Nailah’s mom, shared that growing up in Grenada at the age of seven, her mother and grandmother said she and her siblings needed to learn how to cook; at the age of 10 she cooked in Home Economics class to raise funds; at 12, made cakes and sold it to the public. After coming to the U.S. at 19, she cooked her first meal for Kojo, her future husband; at 25, she began hosting annual Christmas Break -feasts for family and friends. Currently, she is the chef at Jazzy Mondays held weekly at For My Sweet, 1103 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. Her role as mother of three daughters in three different stages of development requires her presence at the girls’ school activities and keeping them involved in extracurricular activities. Azana, 5, kindergarten , demonstrates obvious skill with body movement and attends ballet and violin classes; Malaika, 8, third-grader, plays violin, flute and belongs to SCI Girl, a science club; Nailah, entering middle school in the fall with a four pt. average in math; and ELA plays drums and clarinet. She has also added basketball to her list of activities, to her father’s delight who played basketball in college and is now Assistant Principal at a middle school and plays in neighborhood basketball tournaments. While we acknowledge and celebrate our history, remember that each and everyone is a contributor in the making of history. We invite you to share with readers how you’re creating in our future. Parents of children 5 through 18 are invited to participate in
“Growing through the Stages” conference calls starting in April. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with age of child. Next week we’ll look at a Mother-Daughter partnership celebrating their 30th Anniversary. Remember, the opportunity is ours to restore the highest-held value of African people – restore the village beginning with ourselves and in our homes.