By Kumari Ghafoor-Davis
Happy December, beautiful MOBB United Moms! We have had a busy year. One of the goals of the organization is to provide critical support to Moms and further their ability to advocate on behalf of their sons. The Education and Engagement Committee has several projects we have been working on to stay true to the MOBB United mission.
The Education and Engagement committee kicked off a collaboration with “Black Minds Matter”, a course created by Dr. Luke Wood of San Diego State University. This 8-week course ran from October 23 through December 11 (Mondays at 4:30 p.m. PST / 730 p.m. EST). The course’s purpose was to help us understand how the school-to-prison pipeline can affect our sons from preschool onward due to the way our boys are treated, engaged, and spoken to by teachers. We have learned about how we all can have unconscious/implicit bias and how our boys can be deliberately disregarded by racial preference in classrooms. We also learned about the ascriptions of intelligence, which assume that our boys are not intelligent, and how criminal behavior is assumed from very early ages. The course also had a forum after the calls where participants asked questions and voiced opinions and comments in a safe space. Drs. Luke and Idara Wood were our featured guests on the November MOBB United National Calls. You can find the links to listen to those calls here and here.
We also recently partnered with Katie Ishikura and her non-profit organization “The Conscious Kid Library.” For the holidays, we launched a project together that gives moms access to a list of books for our sons as well as allows us to subscribe to the Conscious Kid book rental model where for a minimal charge ($9 a month), our boys can receive three books a month that are written by black authors with black heroes/main characters. The books will be delivered around the 1st of the month and picked up around the same time, so our sons (ages 4-18) can read more books that help them identify with characters who look like them. This project honors our mission by not only assisting our boys to have better perceptions of themselves but also by helping them to read more. Getting our children to read more has become the goal of many school districts across the country since studies like the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s have shown that the success of our boys is strongly correlated with learning to read at grade level by the 3rd grade.
There’s much more to come as the school year moves quickly. For now, we would like to remind high school senior parents to connect with your school’s guidance counselor/social worker so that your children can apply for college financial aid for next Fall. Applications can be submitted from October 1st every year and should be completed by June 30th, 2018. Please be aware that filing early can allow for more funds to be available for your child for college. Also, be mindful that parents of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors should already be taking their children on college tours and considering college size (including classroom size), majors, course offerings, college philosophy, and professor experience. All of these can indirectly affect our children’s success in college and their ability to complete their coursework and graduate. Parents of all children should take advantage of any assistance their children can utilize during the school year, including tutoring, summer programs, SAT Prep, College Prep Courses and programs, (like Upward Bound), etc.
As we move into the new year, we would like to remind parents to review the School Tips that were posted in August with their children. Follow up can include discussing/reviewing any goals that your family decided to work on for the school year. Revisit your vision board and see if you are on track. For example, if a mom had a “parent promise” of not yelling, she should revisit and discuss this goal with her child to see if she has been yelling less. We all have things in our lives we would like to change to make us more productive and sometimes we need to revisit our goals and tweak them accordingly.
Have a wonderful holiday. See you in the New Year.