Survey: Growing Up While Black

Our children are enduring racial slurs, offensive gestures, violent attacks, race-related bullying, and over-policing.  We have been horrified over the last decade by escalating instances of violence against Black men and boys, often at the hands of law enforcement.  Over the last 3 years, we are seeing rampant hostility towards Black boys AND girls in businesses, neighborhoods, and school systems.  Some cynics may say “What’s new?”  Well, a lot is new and I want hear from parents.

If you are raising a Black daughter or son, I would love to hear your thoughts on what it's like “Growing Up While Black” today. I am working on a multimedia project that is centered on this topic. Please click here to complete a short, confidential questionnaire:

Speaking Engagement with Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

I am looking forward to spending time with members of Jack & Jill Inc. on November 23 at their Southern Cluster meeting to speak about parent-child communication in “Do You Hear Me? Staying Connecting in these Times of Chaos.”

Raising Black Boys, Part II: Playing the Hand You’re Dealt

Each year, more than 250,000 children are placed into foster care.  African American children make up about 20% of that population.  More than 23,000 children will age out of the foster care system (age 18), every year and 25% of those will suffer from direct effects of PTSD.  While about  7 out of every 10 foster kids indicates they would like to attend college one day, only about 6% of those who age out of the system will attend college and only 50% of that group will actually graduate with a degree. Our guest, Rodney J. Walker beat those odds.  The account of his journey, A New Day One: Trauma and Grace and a Young Man’s Journey from Foster Care to Yale is sure to inspire.  You will admire the resilience, determination and courage Mr. Walker demonstrated on his journey through foster care from, age 5 to 17, and throughout his academic pursuits in the upper echelons of higher education as well as his professional endeavors as a speaker and entrepreneur.  (Air Date: December 14, 2018)

Guest:  Rodney J. Walker, Founder of Forever Life Productions, Speaker and Advocate, Author of A New Day One: Trauma and Grace and a Young Man’s Journey from Foster Care to Yale.

Raising Black Boys, Part I: Lessons from a Wayward Journey

Today, I was joined by Kevin Shird, Speaker, National Youth Advocate, and Author.   I asked him to recount his journey to redemption where his quest to escape the perils of poverty and his father's addiction led to drug dealing and violence on the mean streets of Baltimore.  There was no question he was unwilling to answer and he owned his mistakes as he offered sobering lessons for young boys today and the parents who are raising them.  Callers also chimed in with astute observations.

These parent tips came out of our discussion:

  1. Be present.
  2. Emphasize education.
  3. Provide security and stability.
  4. Encourage reading.

Here are five key lessons Mr. Shird wanted to leave with black teen boys:

  1. Pursue, and excel in, education.
  2. Create a vision for your life.
  3. Believe in yourself.
  4. Find your passion and develop the skills needed to pursue it.
  5. Connect with good people.

We appreciate the contributions from listeners though we couldn't take call of the calls that came in.  If you have anything to add, please leave your comments. (Air Date:  November 30, 2018)

Guest:  Kevin Shird, Speaker, National Youth Advocate, and Author of Lessons of Redemption:  A Story of Drugs, Guns, Violence, and Prison and Colored Waiting Room:  Empowering the Original and the New Civil Rights Movements:  Conversations an MLK Jr. Confidant and a Modern-Day Activist