Tony Hicks, founder of the Black Parent Union, is an educational consultant specializing in parent and community involvement, who has worked in the public schools for more than 24 years. He has worked in the classroom, serving on councils/committees, coordinating the activities of parent liaisons, conducting workshops, training staff, hosting a cable television show, and leading instructional audits.

The Black Parent Union (BPU) informs, defends, supports, and empowers parents to be proactive leaders through collaborative actions.

The mission of the BPU is to unite Black groups into a cohesive collaborative network to discuss and challenge educational policies and practices that impact Black families and the educational outcomes of Black children from pre-K through 12th grade.

The call for an independent BPU started out as a line item in the Black Educational Civil Rights Agenda (BECRA). The BECRA was collaboratively drafted in 2006 by a group of Black educational organizations, educators, parents, administrators, school board members, civil rights organizations, and community activists to address the systemic inequities in public education that contribute to the educational underachievement of Black students.

The BPU was launched at the Western Regional Council on Educating Black Children (WRCEBC) conference in 2009. Attendees discussed the need for Black parents to come together in unity and solidarity to empower themselves to advocate for their children.

“The biggest challenge that we have experienced so far has been getting other organizations that are essentially trying to do the same thing that we are doing, to come together. African Americans are a minority, and we need to do things together if we want to see lasting results,” said Hicks.

The BPU meets on the fourth Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at various locations and is open to parents from all school districts. It is a welcoming setting, where parents network to help and support each other, share information and receive training on how to effectively navigate the educational system. All Black parents are encouraged to join.

The BPU doesn’t have a building of its own yet, therefore, next month the meeting will be moved to Marguerite LaMotte’s District 1 field office at 5351 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles.

In honor of Juneteenth, rather than holding the meeting on the usual fourth, Saturday it will be moved up to June 18 at 10 a.m.

“People can communicate with the group through our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Parent-Union or Tony Hicks can be contacted directly at tonyhicks32@yahoo.com or by phone at (310) 720-2798.