Race and class in the 
US foster care system By Don Lash



“Obama wants to stop ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities”

FEBRUARY 11, 2014, 3:00 AM
President Obama reportedly plans to unveil an initiative Thursday aimed at improving the lives of young black and Latino
men and stopping what an administration official called “the school-to-prison pipeline.” (Pablo Martinez Monsivais /
Associated Press)
ASHINGTON – President Obama plans to launch an initiative aimed at
improving the lives of young black and Latino men by bringing businesses and
foundations together with government agencies to change what an
administration official called the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
The initiative, which Obama calls “My Brother’s Keeper,” is to be unveiled Thursday, the official
said. It will mark the latest in a series of efforts by the president to spur social change outside the
stalemated legislative process.
The move also represents an escalation of Obama’s efforts to directly target the problems faced by
young men of color.5/13/2014 Obama wants tostop’school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities – Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-obama-stop-school-prison-pipeline-20140210-story.html#axzz2t2eGfMuX 2/3
During the last five years, Obama has met privately with groups of minority teenagers and young
men in their communities and at the White House. But in his State of the Union speech, Obama
pledged to go further, saying he would bring more of his resources as president to bear on the
social problems that get in the way of success for minority youth.
“I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative
to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential,” he
Thursday’s White House announcement is aimed at fulfilling that pledge, the administration
official said.
Some parts of the campaign likely will involve identifying and changing government policies that
create undue barriers to opportunity.
The official pointed to recent guidelines that the Departments of Education and Justice sent to
school districts that were designed to prompt changing “zero tolerance” school discipline policies
as an example of the kinds of actions that might be involved. Zero-tolerance policies aimed at
potentially disruptive behavior have in many cases had disproportionately harsh impacts on
minority students, particularly boys, the two departments noted.
But much of the initiative is expected to focus on private-sector activities, with the White House
working as a catalyst.
Obama is expected to appear with other prominent men of color to talk about how businesses and
foundations can work together on community-centered initiatives to help children come to school
ready to learn and to keep them away from criminal activity.
The new campaign is meant to build a range of programs boosting everything from literacy and
early learning to efforts at helping young men find jobs and career opportunities, the
administration official said.
The president is expected to announce corporate donations for the campaign, along with a new
government effort to focus federal resources on solving problems facing boys and young men of
Republican elected officials, faith leaders and corporate executives are among those who have
been working on this project for the last several months, aides said.
Several young men and boys will be present for the event, among them participants of the
Chicago-based group “Becoming a Man,” a support group for teens that the president visited on a5/13/2014 Obama wants tostop’school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities – Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-obama-stop-school-prison-pipeline-20140210-story.html#axzz2t2eGfMuX 3/3
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
trip to Chicago last year.

United States of America’s own special Apartheid: 1874 through today…

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” New Living Translation This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads 

It is so much easier to turn the other cheek and not see what is happening right around you everyday, or to say “someone” will take care of that situation but not me!

A Sufi Teaching Story

Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten.

And seeing them the holy one went down into deep prayer and cried,

“Great God, how isit that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?”

And out of the long silence the voice of God gently and challengingly spoke,

“I did do something, I made you!”

“Convict lease”

“Convict leasing was a system of penal labor practiced in the Southern United States, beginning with the emancipation of slaves at the end of the American Civil War in 1865, peaking around 1880, and officially ending in the last state, Alabama, in 1928. It persisted in various forms until World War II.

Convict leasing provided prisoner labor to private parties, such as plantation owners and corporations such as the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company. The lessee was responsible for feeding, clothing, and housing the prisoners. While northern states sometimes contracted for prison labor, the historian Alex Lichtenstein notes that,

“only in the South did the state entirely give up its control to the contractor; and only in the South did the physical “penitentiary” become virtually synonymous with the various private enterprises in which convicts labored.”[1]

Corruption, lack of accountability, and racial violence resulted in “one of the harshest and most exploitative labor systems known in American history.” [2] African Americans, due to “vigorous and selective enforcement of laws and discriminatory sentencing”, made up the vast majority—but not all—of the convicts leased.[3]

The writer Douglas A. Blackmon described the system:

“It was a form of bondage distinctly different from that of the antebellum South in that for most men, and the relatively few women drawn in, this slavery did not last a lifetime and did not automatically extend from one generation to the next. But it was nonetheless slavery – a system in which armies of free men, guilty of no crimes and entitled by law to freedom, were compelled to labor without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced to do the bidding of white masters through the regular application of extraordinary physical coercion.[4]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convict_lease



“When George Washington took office in 1789, he was heralded as the “Father of Our Country” and known throughout history as the first President of the United States. This was not exactly true however. Several men served as leaders of our country before Washington took office, both as Presidents of the Congress and then as Presidents of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, which proceeded the Constitution.”

The Revolving Door to Prisons in America , ” No Exists”

“It’s a story told time and again in this country, even in 2013: A nonviolent offense brands someone a felon and strips them of their voting rights, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

More than a million of these disenfranchised Americans are black. Felony convictions restrict 13 percent of the country’s black male population from voting, prompting critics to portray felon disenfranchisement as an heir to the voter-suppression tactics of the Jim Crow era. Back then, black people eager to cast their ballots encountered poll taxes, literacy tests and violence. Today, the mechanisms of disenfranchisement may be more sophisticated, but they can be just as oppressive, civil rights leaders say.

“….More than 30 states have passed laws in recent years requiring voters to display photo identification, which minorities and low-income Americans disproportionately lack. Just this week, North Carolina’s Republican-dominated Senate approved a bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration, cut early voting by a week and require all voters to show specific forms of state-issued ID at the polls.

Then there’s redistricting, the political maneuver by which elected officials redraw the boundaries of representation, often along partisan lines. Critics argue that this practice has diminished the electoral clout of those minorities who do vote. In North Carolina, the Republican majority that passed the new voting laws benefited from a2011 redistricting scheme that placed more than a quarter of the state’s black voters in newly divided precincts and transformed the Republicans’ 7-6 congressional district edge into a steep 9-4 advantage…..” – 

With a felony on one’s record it is not possible to acquire employment, housing….. the only path that is open is the path that leads back to prison………


Health Care in the African American Community


Health Care in the African American Community