Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"There's change coming ..."

I was encouraged by the article below (A Push for Healthier School Meals) forwarded by The FOOD TRUST, a nonprofit advocate for better public policy aimed at improving the health of children and adults through good nutrition and increased access to nutritious foods.

The article discusses a national movement for healthier school meals. It also details the Obama Administration's commitment to addressing childhood obesity, hunger and its goal of getting fresh, healthy food in public schools and poor neighborhoods. Some of these schools, by the way, serve as the only way some children receive a nutritious meal. Amazingly, according to the article, only two-thirds of the nation's city schools - mostly elementary and middle - have no kitchens or methods to prepare fresh food.

This quote: "There's change coming .." reminded me that an innovative, multi-faceted agenda can finally turn disenfranchised urban areas into vibrant, sustainable communities.

On Saturday, I'm attending radio and television personality Tavis Smiley's symposium at Chicago State University. Among other topics, high-profile black leaders will discuss the need for a specific black agenda and if Obama should champion this agenda -- or not.

Personally, I'm hoping the conversation moves toward action on a multi-faceted, do-for-self-with-a-little-help urban agenda that empowers all black and disenfranchised people.

Read the article below. Follow the link to The Food Trust. Read about the efforts and initiatives to bring fresh, healthy food to poverty-stricken communities. For me, I imagine school kitchens that not only prepare fresh, healthy meals, I see urban residents working in those schools. I imagine innovative, fresh food cooperatives in urban areas that supply food to stores, schools and surrounding government agencies. Is it possible for subsidies to help residents turn abandoned lots into community gardens that supply this food? Is it possible to create replicable models that will give urbanites a shot at recreating their own communities and redefining their own destinies?

I sincerely believe there's change and an empowering agenda coming ... if we are bold enough to innovate and invest in people again.

Read the article, visit the web site ... and let's imagine together

A push for healthier school meals / Mar. 17, 2010 by Alfred Lubrano

The Food Trust

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's Time for Black Leaders to Lead

Check out my commentary published by New America Media:

It’s Time for Black Leaders to Lead

New America Media, Commentary, Sylvester Brown, Jr.

Posted: Mar 14, 2010

On March 20, public radio and TV host Tavis Smiley will host a symposium in Chicago titled, "We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda." In April, civil rights leader, Al Sharpton, will headline, “Measuring the Movement,” a conference designed to explore ways grassroots organizations can work with government agencies to improve the quality of life for blacks. Both events were arranged after a volatile dust-up between Sharpton and Smiley.

To briefly summarize, Smiley accused Sharpton and other black leaders of giving Obama a collective pass on pushing an agenda that addresses the disproportionate disadvantages black people face. Sharpton is against such a strategy, believing it’s counterproductive and puts Obama in a vulnerable position. It’s up to black leaders, not Obama, to push a “black agenda,” Sharpton said. Both arguments send distressing signals about black leadership in the Obama era.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., analogized some four decades ago, after entering the starting line of the race for equality some 300 years after whites, blacks still have to “perform some impossible feat in order to catch up with his fellow runner.” With disproportionate high school drop-out, murder, incarceration, poverty and unemployment rates, blacks still face a seemingly impossible feat.