More at-risk factors among Black children …

Unstable families are not uncommon but for Black children, who are already at-risk, could be what puts them in the cradle to prison pipeline.   A child being raised by Dad because mom is on drugs or mentally unfit to take care of the children or grandma has to step up because no one else can or will is another key factor in the pipeline.  I know a man who had 6 children by his girlfriend and they were living together.  Dad worked and mom at different times went to school or worked.  Then tragedy struck, she was diagnosis with breast cancer.  Fortunately, dad married mom before she died but now he has 6 children to raise alone.  What are her children’s chances of not ending up in the pipeline?

Another example of an unstable family in the Black community is Lola (fictious name to protect the innocent.).  Lola is a mental health patient raising her young children in the Black community in subsidized housing.  The community ignores her walking the streets dressed in a t-shirt with her bra fastened on the outside and another t-shirt pulled over her hips as a skirt and her face covered in white powder.  Lola is not a bad looking woman but her mental health status is obvious as she walks in the middle of the street ranting and chanting about things folks aren’t really listening to.  What about the risk factor of her children?

Recently in my community head start has taken a hit due to economic conditions.  Yes, head start, a program left-over from the era know as the “great society”  promoted by President Johnson in the 1960’s.  Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.  High-quality early childhood education has the greatest positive effect on children from lower socioeconomic status, children who are at risk because of other circumstances, and children with disabilities and special needs (Stegelin, 2004). Recent brain research has verified the importance of cognitive and social development in the early years (Begley, 2000).  Now, the lack of early education and enrichment will increase the chances of Black children especially Black males to end up in the cradle to prison to pipeline.

Who do you know at –risk?  What would your new year resolution (2012) be for your community?

Christmas Memories

Christmas is a special time of the year for families.  College students head home for holiday break.  It’s the one break that college students are expected home. Soldiers are heading home to celebrate with family and friends. Folks near and far pack up to travel to that awesome place called home.  And, this is the time of year that folks feel the most charitable and full of love.  The one thing that can be said about Black folks at this time of year is we are willing to make a way for our children to have a wonderful Christmas. Christmas was always a special time of the year since I was a young child.

I was partial raised in my grandfather’s house and enjoyed the safe and loving environment of his home. At Christmas, aunts and uncles would send packages of presents and some would visit. The house was full of love, laughter and the smell of grandma’s Christmas dinner cooking. And, I can’t forget the snow.

There were lots and lots of snow to sled ride, make snow angels, snow ball battles and build caves. After hours of playing in the snow, we would go inside and peel off our snow caked hat, gloves, boots and wet clothes.  Then, we would be called to sit at the kitchen table with hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.  We always had our own bag of goodies with our name on it under the tree.  I believe my mother and grandmother would put candy, nuts, fruit, and cookies in a bag for each of us kids to keep us out of the fruit bowl and candy dishes around the house.

It seemed that grown folks always had a lot to talk about that they didn’t want young ears to hear. So, you were always shushed out of the room.

It was a rule in my grandfather’s house that children should not be in the same room as adults when adults are drinking alcoholic beverages.  Heck, I don’t think the women in the house were in there either.  It seemed to be a “man” thing.  The women served the men if they needed ice or there was spill but they didn’t sit down and drink with them.  The women in the house congregated in the kitchen.

Just thinking of those times give me warm loving feeling of Christmas.  Now, it’s my turn to be charitable, loving and provide a wonderful Christmas for my grandchildren.

Food for Thought – Statistics on Children in America

These number were published in the
Children Defense Fund Report 2007

Each day in America:


4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.

5 children or teens commit suicide.

8 children or teens are killed by firearms.

33 children or teens die from accidents.

77 babies die before their first birthdays.

192 children are arrested for violent crimes.

383 children are arrested for drug abuse.

906 babies are born at low birthweight.

1,153 babies are born to teen mothers.

1,672 public school students are corporally punished.

1,879 babies are born without health insurance.

2,261 high school students drop out.

2,383 children are confirmed as abused or neglected.

2,411 babies are born into poverty.

2,494 babies are born to mothers who are not high school graduates.

4,017 babies are born to unmarried mothers.

4,302 children are arrested.

17,132 public school students are su