Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
Several of Detroit’s public high schools are projected to close due to an initiative ordered by state education officials aimed at eliminating the district’s $327 million deficit. Detroit’s public school system was taken over by the State of Michigan last year, following allegations of corruption, the hole in its budget and tumbling enrollment. As a result, classroom sizes could potentially swell to 60 students per instructor. According to reports, Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, recently enacted a financial restructuring plan to cut the district’s number of schools (147) in half, despite an estimated 58,570 students. “We are moving forward with the plan,” Bobb told reporters. “Right now my focus is on my transition plan and the [Deficit Elimination Plan].”
Ohio-based creative writer Tanisha Herrin is releasing a powerful new book, “Fighting the Blues as a Black Woman: How I Survived Suicidal Depression.” The book, which is her 10th work to be self published, will help raise awareness about depression and benefit an Ohio mental health cause. The book is Herrin’s personal perspective on how depression and several suicide attempts almost destroyed her life. It is also a book of inspiration and triumph. Herrin says: “Even though I have been through a lot over several years—being robbed at gun point, three suicide attempts and losing my mother to name a few—I found a way to view my life in a new light. Others who have been through similar downfalls can bounce back to fulfill their life’s purpose.” Fighting the Blues as a Black Woman is not for sale. Instead, people can request a free copy of the book in paperback, ebook or digital format. For each copy of the book that is requested, $1 will be donated by the Nancy A. Herrin Foundation to an Ohio mental health cause. The non-profit foundation—started in memory of Herrin’s late mother—will donate up to $2,000. “I hope to help raise awareness of how depression can have serious effects on your life, if the proper steps aren’t taken to improve your well-being,” Herrin says. “So many people are affected by depression daily that they think it’s normal or okay to be miserable and live an unfulfilling life.”
A new nonprofit group in Texas, the Former Majority Association for Equality (FMAE) is offering college scholarships to a demographic it says has fewer scholarship options than other groups: White men. The group was started by Colby Bohannon, a student at Texas State University. He’s an Iraq War veteran who decided to return to school and said he had trouble finding college scholarships for which he qualified. He found many programs willing to grant money to female or minority students, but not White males like himself. So Bohannon and some friends founded the FMAE group, which plans to begin handing out $500 scholarships this summer. Only White men with at least a 3.0 grade point average can qualify. “We know that we’re going to be receiving some vicious attacks from people claiming that we are racists or promoting some bigotry-filled agenda,” said Bohannon who claims he is just trying to help students who may have been a majority in the past, but are no longer, as America’s demographics change. “If you’re not a male, and if you’re not White, you’re called a minority,” Bohannon said, “I’m not sure White males are the majority anymore.” In Texas non-Hispanic Whites are now a minority according to U.S. Census figures released earlier this month that show they make up about 42 percent of the state’s population, down from more than half 10 years ago.
Hundreds of parents, educators, students, administrators and city activists gathered in the parking lot outside Madison East High School to hear prominent civil rights activist Jesse Jackson speak. Wearing a heavy coat and hat, Jackson made it a point to touch upon Madison’s recent worker rights and collective bargaining debacles, but he also specifically addressed the youngsters in the audience, urging them stay in school, to stay positive, to vote, and to support their teachers. “When students come alive you have the awesome power to make America better,” Jackson said. “When you go to school today, study hard; be all that you can be.” Prior to his speech, Jackson led more than 300 students in a march around the city. “Fight for the right to be a better nation,” he told the crowd. “Keep fighting one day longer. At the end of the day your brains will outlast your knees.”