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FAMLI Circle School Conference held on youth, health and wealth

Shirley Hawkins | 3/26/2008, 5 p.m.

The day-long conference was thought provoking, stimulating, and educational, and focused on a myriad of problems facing African Americans today.
Conference participants included Akile, Dr. Farid Zarif, Bikbaye, Sonia Barrett, Nnerg, Nadra Wendy Denise, and Dr. Rosie Milligan.
FAMLI principal Tonie Disi, a teacher for 25 years, urged parents in the audience to pay closer attention to their childrens behavior.
Theyre on the telephone, theyre text messaging each other, Disi maintained. Laziness and technology have caused a lot of problems in the classroom.
Pausing, she said, Were missing the boat when it comes to raising our children. I want the parents to talk to the children because some of the children are making it hard for the teachers to teach, she said.
Disi also urged audience members to stop waiting for outside influences to offer solutions for problems. Its time for us to heal ourselves and stop looking for someone else to make the changes for us.
Calling black youth the gold on the tip of the spear, community activist Akile urged the youths in the audience to continue to strive for excellence in school. You are on our team and we want our team to be in the winners circle, he declared. You are the paradigm changeyou are our champions, because you represent us.
During the program, FAMLI students mesmerized the audience by reciting several famous speeches, including The Creed by educator Marva Collins, I Wont Cry About Whats Wrong With This World and the MAAT, both by anonymous authors.
The FAMLI Circle School provides cultural instruction for African American children. We teach them who they are, where they came from, and that they have a strong and proud history. We let them know that they existed long before slavery, said Disi.
Dr. Zarif, a health practitioner, stressed the value of Vitamin C. Its so important for all your tendons and muscles and it modulates your immune system. It stops inflammation and curtails anti-fungal and anti-bacterial problems, he said.
He also revealed that the number one killer of black men is heart disease. Once we change the lifestyle, we change the results, he said. You can change that with physical activity, food, and adequate rest.
Dr. Zarif also urged participants to cut down on sugar intake. We eat 180 pounds of sugar a year. Sugar diabetes is the number one cause of blindness, he maintained.
He urged audience members to eat more fresh fruits and to ingest more potassium. Potassium helps the muscles to relax and it increases the uptake of oxygen to the brain.
Everybody can live longer if they eat correctly, he pointed out. There was a time when everything white was considered goodwhite bread, rice, flour, and sugar. But in reality, the best foods are colored brown.
Dr. Zarif urged audience members to access his website, www.zarifianmethod.com, for more information on health.
Nnerg, a teacher at the House of Annu and a high priest of Kemetic history, urged audience members to study the writings of ancient Africa. We have to return to our roots and the values that our ancestors have left for us in the form of hieroglyphic text, the pyramid text, and other ancient writings, he observed. Our ancestors knew what was going to happen on the earth and they prepared for it by leaving us the ancient wisdom in the form of hieroglyphics.
Dr. Rosie Milligan, lecturer, entrepreneur, and owner of Milligan Books, delivered an engrossing lecture on finances and health. African American health is in peril, Dr. Milligan declared. We see more clinics and hospitals being closed. We see the disparity in the area of health for African American people. Health is big business. Its all about the all-mighty dollar instead of taking care of peoples health. We need to take our health into our own hands, she urged.
Dr. Milligan said that the black community should focus more closely on their finances. We need to come out of this slavery called debt, she urged. As soon as your son or daughter goes to college, theyre sent a credit card--and thats a set up. They get a credit line of $1,000 and then they get maxed out. Then their credit is messed up. Its so important to educate our young people about finances. Every child should have a bank account open for them, even if its only for $10. Its up to the adults to teach their children the importance of finances.
The entrepreneur said that many African Americans are mired in debt. Debt is killing us, Dr. Milligan maintained. Its important to raise our FICO scores. Black families need to focus on financial literacy. We need to be talking about stocks, silver, and gold.
Dr. Milligan also stressed that African Americans should create their own businesses. We dont even own an electric company or a market, said Dr. Milligan, shaking her head. Thats shameful. If you create your own business, you can have a tax writeoff at the end of the year.
Dr. Milligan pointed out that black people wait too late before tackling their finances. We should concentrate on becoming debt free, she urged. If I asked, When will you be out of debt? Most people dont think about that question because they think debt is a part of life. People will say, My mama and daddy were in debt. They even brag about how much they owe on other folks stuff. Why is that something to brag about? Its a lack of knowledge. Our people are so accustomed to being in debt, they dont even think about it. Theyre used to writing out a check.
Two months ago, gold was selling for $730 an ounce. Now its selling for over $900 an ounce. If we dont do something about our money situation, we will wind up back on the plantation, she said, adding that African Americans are the largest consumers in the United States.
The entrepreneur also pointed out that America is still seen as the land of opportunity for many foreigners, who are clamoring to get into the country. People are coming around the world to America to make a living for them and theirs, not you and yours. We dont see whats going on. The doors of opportunity are beginning to close, she observed.
Peering into the audience, she asked, How many of you have a grandchild? I dont see how you can look at them without crying. If we cant make it today, how do you think they will make it? No one is preparing for our children and too many of us are waiting for a savior to save us. What we dont realize is that we need to save ourselves.
Dr. Milligan also stressed that the black community should concentrate on mentoring young people. The baby no one cared about is the same one that will gun you down when you go to the ATM, she warned.
Pausing, she added, When we invest in our children, thats the best investment we can make.