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Oakman can’t close

This is a new era defined by lack of transparency, little fiscal discipline and emergency management. Undoubtedly, the children of Oakman Elementary School will suffer. Oakman, a school for children with special needs, is a wonderful place to send your child. It is one floor with wide hallways, a vibrant parent network and just about 300 students.

Emergency Manager Roy Roberts will also close it at the end of the school year with no public hearing and no community input.

The children who need us most will be abandoned by Emergency Management policy, and their lives and future outcomes permanently impacted.

We urge the parents to consider any redress under the American Disabilities Act.

The children at Oakman need all of us to support them. Do not move these children to Noble Elementary or Henderson, keep their school community.


No more excuses for President Obama

A newspaper is public record and, as such, every so often we run things — with more purpose than usual. This week, we ran the graduation speech President Barack Obama delivered to the students of Morehouse and their families. First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke at HBCU Bowie State University.

Obama urged graduates to not make excuses, and Michelle Obama told graduates to want to be more than “rappers” or “ball players.” Both had messages of personal responsibility.

A tired, pitiful message to Black people. It’s a message to use when public policy has failed. And, unfortunately, much of Obama’s policies have failed.

We are opposed to policymakers with trillion dollar budgets, power and a microphone taking shots at structurally disadvantaged citizens. How can the President criticize the graduates when so many of the schools for Black children are poor, their access to health care is abysmal and they do not have pay equity.

Why not consider the reasons many Black children dream of career longshots like the NBA and rap. What are their real-world, everyday opportunities?

The median income for all Americans has fallen every year for the last10 years, but Black Americans have been particularly hard hit. Despite the promise of hope, change and the unprecedented amount of Black support Obama received, few policies in his administration have improved the lives of Black people.

In fact, Obama’s experiment with public schools has increased the number of charters and hurt rather than improved outcomes for many Black children. His administration’s weakness on mandating foreclosure remedies have left Blacks, hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis and predatory lending, without help and still underwater.

Detroiters gathered outside of the Department of Justice this week to ask the attorney general to hold the banks accountable for the foreclosure crisis. The administration’s position: The banks are too big to fail.

President Obama, your message of personal responsibility should be directed at the banks that have destroyed Detroit’s neighborhoods and left the city in financial emergency. Banks are complicit in emptying out inner city neighborhoods, have eroded tax bases, even further diminished city services, increased school closures and added abandoned houses. Bank actions are directly connected to Emergency Management policy.

History will show Obama’s record when it comes to Black America, and let’s hope he has done more than provide lip service to self-improvement. It is actually the Obama’s who are spending too much time with entertainers and rappers.  He owes more to Black people who helped elect him.


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