The Good The Bad & The Great
Sep27

The Good The Bad & The Great

We’ve all heard about the negativity surrounding Detroit Public Schools. The press has constantly showcased how debt, violence, and academic failure have seemed to plague an educational institution that was once seen as the silver lining of the city’s future. At one point, it seemed as if the city was doomed when it had to seek assistance from the state and Emergency Financial Managers were called in to rectify the situation. But, as the old saying goes, we may be down, but we are not out. Due to the positive mentality of dedicated administrators and teachers, DPS is being revitalized and restored to the excellent and victorious state it was once in. Part of that revitalization stage has already begun to take place. Detroit Public Schools and Governor Rick Snyder announced in March that a plan is being designed to reconstruct DPS Schools, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press. Fifteen schools that have been considered low performing schools will be taken over and placed in a new state school district. These changes went into effect on July 1. The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) will be in charge of making the necessary changes to transform the low-performing schools. The EAA is made up of 11 Board members with seven members appointed by Snyder, two appointed by DPS and two appointed by Eastern Michigan University. The Detroit Free Press reported that school years would be extended to 210 days — 40 more than the 170 minimum for Michigan schools, and teachers will be paid $5,000 more than the state’s average, though the board did not disclose contract terms. Yet, it’s not just the administrators, organizations, and legislators who are transforming the school. The students also play a major role in the restructuring of DPS.There are plenty of young people who are moving the city in the right direction and are challenging the pessimistic outlook of DPS. And they haven’t given up on their school.Just take a look at Cass Tech student Krishna Paul, who maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school and attends the University of Michigan pursuing studies in pediatric surgery. Paul was honored with the Excellence Awards Scholarship from the district during the 28th Annual Excellence Awards Banquet, which was held in May. Or consider Renaissance High School senior Omar Sankofa II, who was recently honored with a $24,000 journalism scholarship from Ford Motor Company and attends Michigan State University pursuing a degree in journalism. Paul and Sankofa are examples of the many DPS students who are concerned with their future and want to make a difference in the lives of others as well as in...

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Jasmine Perry & Jane’t Ali: Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
Sep15

Jasmine Perry & Jane’t Ali: Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Fashionistas Jasmine Perry and Jane’t Ali weren’t discouraged when their T-shirt line Amor Jasmine Jane’t didn’t succeed two years ago. Instead, under the Amor Jasmine Jane’t umbrella, they created Dirty Pearls, a unique line of Swarovski pearl bracelets. “We became geared more towards accessories because the demand there is higher,” said Perry, 22. Perry and her business partner Jane’t Ali, 24, create pearls with a kick for any woman who considers herself to be fashionable. “Fashion is not only about wearing what’s trendy. It’s about wearing what’s trendy and making it look good,” said Perry. Both girls love being businesswomen, but give their education high priority as well. Perry is majoring in Journalism and Screen Studies at U of M-Dearborn and Ali is a student at Wayne State University majoring in Africana Studies. They know firsthand the challenge of balancing college life with their business, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Like any college student, we have to work [to support ourselves], but it’s so important to start a business that you are passionate about because without drive to do well you’ll never find time to invest in it because you must make time for it,” said Ali. Perry and Ali don’t have set hours to attend to Dirty Pearls work, but when their product is requested for a fashion show or to be on display at a boutique, the girls get to work, sometimes making 80 bracelets in one sitting. And their work has not been in vain. Currently, Dirty Pearls is sold at Franklin Vine at Twelve Oaks mall in Novi. Perry and Ali are looking to expand in the next five years to release a line of necklaces with their bracelets. “I get a rush of excitement when I see or hear about someone wearing our bracelets,” said Ali. “I had dinner with my cousin and she was wearing one of our signature bracelets… I was so thrilled because she didn’t know that she was going to see me that day and to me it showed that she truly likes her bracelet.” Ali and Perry are proof that collaboration produces fine results in a business. Dirty Pearls allows them to express themselves creatively, be their own boss, and be young, determined women of color....

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ASALH Continues Work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Sep15

ASALH Continues Work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson

1538 Ninth St, NW, Washington D.C. is the primary address credited for housing the beginnings of a black heritage organization. At that location in 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History began the structured task of researching, collecting and gathering information pertaining to the life and history of African Americans. Woodson’s D.C. home morphed into the headquarters of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) until 1970, and ASALH remains in existence today. Stemming from Woodson’s sincere interest in preserving and recording the history of African Americans, ASALH’s mission remains to “promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community,” according to its website (www.asalh.org). Today, ASALH sets the annual theme for Black History Month, and sponsors an annual convention to celebrate and study African Diaspora life and history, amongst other activities. ASALH has campus-based branches, branches in states including California, Florida and Illinois, and organizing branches including the Detroit Branch. “We have the responsibility to carry on the legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and to tell our own history,” said Kathie House, the Detroit branch’s Coordinator for the organizing year. House, a woman driven by love for her community and for African American culture, saw the need to resurrect ASALH’s Detroit branch, previously led by Arthur Johnson. She took the advice of Dr. Karl Gregory to host ASALH meetings at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, and ASALH-Detroit began meeting at the Museum in June 2011. To date, ASALH-Detroit has 41 members and individuals that live as far away as Saginaw, Michigan have expressed interest in joining. The member base of ASALH- Detroit includes people from all walks of life: professors, teachers, genealogists, and students. Most ASALH-Detroit members are also members of The Wright Museum. “The Museum is an anchor in our community, we enjoy that our member base is made up of Museum members too,” said House. During its organizing year, ASALH-Detroit is particularly focused on recruiting young people, enabling them to have a foundation built on history, and also to promote awareness of this esteemed organization. “ASALH is such an important organization because of the sacrifices and tireless efforts people have made and continue to make to keep African American history relevant,” said LaNesha DeBardelaben, Museum Archivist for the Charles H. Wright Museum. She first learned of ASALH during her undergraduate days as a history major at Kalamazoo College. However, she never affiliated with a branch because there were none nearby. “One day, while walking back to my office at the Museum, I came...

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