Quarterly or monthly local chapter meetings / recruitment outings; MOBB United connections; MOBB United Business Directory; special interest groups (e.g., special needs); driven by Chapter Development and Health and Wellness committees with support from Education and Engagement and Eco Dev committees for the directories; quarterly or monthly local chapter meetings/recruitment outings.
My son, Ezekiel, is never without a book in hand and a backpack full of reading on-the-go. As the youngest of five, he probably got read aloud to a little longer and a little more often than his siblings, with me not quite ready to let go of that sweet stage of snuggles and bedtime stories. So, it was no surprise when he was reading early and often. His descriptive storytelling, broad interests, and vast vocabulary are encouraging and impressive.
Yet my avid reader is not in the talented and gifted program at his school, and he has never been screened. English is his second language, and he despises numbers (like his mama!). However, as a 4th grader, he reads at a 9th grade level, and his standardized test scores are well above average. Although I should know, I did not realize until recently that children across all state lines undergo IQ tests and gifted screenings at the teacher or parent request. Shame on me!
Our student population nationwide has become increasingly diverse. However, African-American students are ⅓ less likely to be enrolled in any talented or gifted program in public or private sectors. There is an overrepresentation of White and Asian students in gifted and talented programs, while Black and Hispanic students are typically underrepresented. However, research does not support the notion that any one group is more intelligent than another (Renzulli, 2004). So how does this make sense?
Students from underserved populations, of all races, may not exhibit characteristics that are stereotypically “gifted”. Some gifted individuals with exceptional aptitude may not demonstrate outstanding levels of achievement due to environmental circumstances, such as limited opportunities to learn as a result of poverty, discrimination, or cultural barriers. Other obstacles include physical barriers, emotional challenges or behaviors resulting directly from outside stressors. Hence, school faculty and administrators may overlook the child's aptitude and high ability learning because of these other factors. Moreover, with ample evidence that our Black sons are often over-targeted as disciplinary problems from a very young age, it’s easy to assume that their gifts are therefore being overlooked.
Brown vs the Board of Education was a step in formally attempting, as a nation, to achieve educational equality. The reality is still quite different; and we all know equality does not always equate with quality. No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a Congressional Act of 2001 that attempted to keep lower level learners from falling through the cracks, is a good example of equality, but not quality, impacting the children who are exceptional learners. Since NCLB, many teachers are forced to more or less ignore gifted children, instead teaching to a one-size-fits-all curriculum that caters to the lowest common denominator—the average classroom student—with the thought being that our gifted students don't need the extra work or attention. We as moms all know very well that the ignored or forgotten child often resorts to behavior and actions that will draw attention, whether good or bad.
What can be done? Like anything else, knowing is half the battle. Be an advocate for our Black sons and for all kids who are more likely to get missed. Know that you can request for your son to be screened. Show up to all the parent-teacher conferences, no matter how much your son may be excelling. Bring this up in conversations with other parents and ask your child's teacher if she knows the statistics.
Following are a few resources for further empowerment:
Parenting Gifted Kids: This blog is written by a fellow mom and covers information for several ages and stages of childhood.
Unfortunately, a literature review revealed very little specific support or information for families or children of color. The National Association of Gifted Learners does have a web series written by a black student, regarding advocacy and experiences in academics. Check out this great blog post.
For more resources, contact our Education and Engagement Committee Lead, Kumari Ghafoor-Davis, at email@example.com.
Woke Mom Summer meetups were hot throughout August and September! Hostesses Shantia Coley and Sandra Kearns showed up and showed out in Charlotte and San Antonio on the same day, while Natasha Marie and Danni Jo took on upstate New York with a Woke Mom Meetup in Rochester. And Washington, D.C. held a meetup as well, in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and with Founder, Depelsha McGruder, in attendance. What a dynamic energy we are building here at MOBB United, galvanizing ourselves for our mission of protecting our sons; creating and providing community for a common cause.
Please enjoy some highlights below, and if you'd like to host or attend a Woke Mom Meetup, learn more here.
Motherhood is my ministry, and I will protect my brown sons at all costs. We had eight dynamic women in attendance for the Charlotte Woke Mom Meetup on August 19 at my home. Those in attendance were concerned moms, siblings and even godparents of our brown men. The meeting kicked off with snacks as the women mingled and met each other while jazz played in the background. No icebreakers were necessary, as the group instantly hit it off.
A history of Moms of Black Boys United was shared, and many were shocked at how much work has been done in such a short amount of time. The women shared personal stories and accounts of their attachment to the issue, and the group became emotional. To bring spirits up, the group moved from the dining room to the living room, where they watched Moms of Black Boys United videos while Crys Baldwin (who traveled hours to attend the meeting), narrated. The women discussed their ideas for the future of Moms of Black Boys United in the area and pledged to continue to voice their concerns and advocate for our young Black men. As the meeting concluded, the guests toasted to a bright future in Charlotte, NC, where Moms of Black Boys United would have a loud, strong and proud presence.
(No pics available)
Hostess Sandra Kearns
The San Antonio Chapter held our Anniversary celebration on August 19th. We promoted our event as a family gathering; and when you add all of the children and spouses, we had around 20 people in attendance. We had a very casual get together. The children played, and the adults talked. It is a such a blessing to have a group of mothers who understand the unique challenges of parenting Black boys and men. We talked about plans for the future, including movie nights, a book club, and Wine Down sessions.
Moms of Black Boys United and MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) made an appearance at the 2017 Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) September 21-23. Founder Depelsha McGruder attended several sessions on criminal justice reform and Black boys and men, interacting with legislators, professors and organizational leaders. She also co-hosted the 'Taking it to the Screen' Short Film Screening and Panel Discussion on September 21st in partnership with the Social Cinema Project. The panel discussion covered media images, police/community relations, restorative justice and violence in our communities. The event, also a Woke Mom meetup, was held at Busboys and Poets restaurant in D.C. MUSC thanks Ralph Scott of Social Cinema for the great partnership. Depelsha was pleased to meet and introduce to the crowd of more than 90 attendees Congressman Hank Johnson (D - GA) from her home district in GA, and she was excited to meet 15 local D.C. members of MUSC. Check out the press release from the event to learn more about the films and participants.
Rochester is on the Meetup map! Including myself and co-facilitator Danni Jo, we had a total of 17 moms in attendance. Several of them had to bring their sons, so I encouraged them to do just that! Perhaps a few little boys even became friends as they played together during the meeting. I know for a fact that as we gathered, the moms in attendance (some who didn't know one another before), left with at least one new woke mom friend.
Due to issues with the internet, my presentation wouldn't play, so I had to work from the slides in my head! I spoke about how Moms of Black Boys began and how Depelsha was shocked from the overwhelming response to the Facebook page one year ago. I explained that we are now a 501c3 organization with Chapters nationwide. I spoke about Moms of Black Boys United’s five-point platform and then discussed the cost and benefits of membership, as well as the ways Moms of Black Boys United can impact change.
I connected (ironically just days before) with a young man named Antonio Coleman who was in prison for 15 years but released in September! When I asked if he would give a first hand perspective of his experience with the criminal justice system, he was thrilled. He made for the perfect speaker and stressed to us as moms the importance of positive friends and role models for our boys. He wants to write a book and plans to start mentoring young men.
Tracey Miller, the Assistant to our Mayor, Lovely Warren, was also in attendance! After listening to Antonio speak, she asked to address the group. Tracey was SO excited to see this gathering. She was impressed by the turnout and shared her contact info with everyone. She encouraged Antonio to contact her for work, if needed, and even offered herself as a resource for Moms of Black Boys United, willing to give us tips on key town meetings where she'd love to see us show up as a group. Then, without knowing anything about Moms of Black Boys United, she gave us three target areas of need for our City. We then broke into small groups to discuss specific solutions for 20 minutes and came back to share feedback.
Rochester is ready to do the WORK and make some noise. The moms who showed up to our Woke Mom Meetup want to change statistics! We are determined to have fun with one another and socialize with our boys. But we are also ready for social change by impacting legislation.
Looking forward to our next gathering!
The Woke Mom meetups are the stepping stones to organized chapters that can accomplish the work necessary to protect our sons. This work must be funded. To date, our organization has been completely self-funded; but to grow and expand, we need your help. Please consider donating to Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. this month at mobbunited.org/donate.
Moms of Black Boys United - Ensuring that our SUNs Survive and Thrive
M.O.B.B. United aims to provide information and support for moms of Black sons while promoting positive images of Black boys and men. Our goal is to influence policy impacting how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement and society.