I want to take a moment to tell you about a movement that you need to know about.  Black Community Crusade for Children II ( BCCCII) offers solutions for the challenges of education and the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.
For those who do not know Miriam Wright Edelman or the work of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) perhaps you’ve heard of the Harlem’s Children Zone in New York and/or the national Freedom Schools programs. Both the Freedom Schools summer and aftercare literacy model and the Harlem’s Children’s Zone comprehensive community care and Promise Academy Charter schools model are the results of actions taken after the first Black Community Crusade for Children held 20 years ago in Bellagio, Italy. The Freedom Schools and the Harlem’s Children Zone are now well established models that successfully address the challenges of a below standard education system and the issues of low income and dysfunctional homes when necessary. These educational models demonstrate that children can learn, will learn and enjoy learning when those who educate them understand the importance of educating the whole child and, in some cases the whole family.
While these programs may be the best of the best, they are not the only models demonstrating success in meeting the educational needs of the underserved and underprivileged children in our country. But the need to bring these models to scale with the problems remains unmet. Expanding the reach of these services by expanding the number of children who will have the opportunity to participate in these and other proven models such as the Strong Women, Strong Girls program continues to be a “financial hardship” for our communities and our country as a whole.
Now comes my soap box in a very simple context. If you are not working with, providing financial support to and/or volunteering with an organization that offers one of the proven solutions to our educational challenges, then you are not making one the wisest and most important investments of our time, the investment in our future. The biggest problem facing our children is not the inheritance of the national debt. It’s the fact that they will have to rely on someone else to interpret it for them because they won’t have the reading or math skills to do it for themselves. It is incomprehensible that the children growing up in the greatest country in the world will be among the least educated children in the world.
The BCCCII is a movement committed to bringing existing solutions to scale to combat the existing problems of youth illiteracy and incarceration. This is a national crisis that will not go away on its own. It is a national crisis that will not stop at the entrances of our gated communities. A national crisis that will eventually touch every family in America, one way or another.
Once again, I’m running for the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it, but can we save it? Please visit the Children’s Defense Fund to get detailed information on the issues affecting American youth and better yet, information on how you can help now. Please get involved, today.