Campus & Community Involvement
Co- Curricular #1: BMEC & GSI
"What is the best place to hide things from a Black individual?"..."Just put it in a book". This joke isn't very funny, especially when you are the butt of the joke. Meaning that you would take offense to it if you considered and or identified yourself as "Black". What is Black? Is it an color, is it a phenotypical kind of thing? Hold on to that thought/question while I correlate the meaning and how this simple term saved my life.
"The Black Male Empowerment Cooperative." Let me say that again, "The Black Male Empowerment Cooperative." There goes that word again, "Black”. The program above seems to identity this word quite differently then questioned in the introduction.The Black Male Empowerment Cooperative (BMEC) is a mentoring and tutoring program that empowers through academic excellence. They focus on mentoring, retention and improving LaGuardia's graduation rate in minority community but not limited to. The B in the abbreviation stands for Black. BMEC's definition of Black represents all races throughout history that have been historically oppressed, the collective oppression theory. The M represents Males, while we make up 5% of the world population, we have 3.2 million men incarcerated and 1.6 million of those men are Black. The more men in jail, the less walking down the aisle every June. Statistics say if you are educated there is a 89% chance that you are less likely to end up in prison rather than the 11% chance that you will end up in prison uneducated. The E, stands for empowerment, Bmec believes in empowering through academic excellence. Making all members that join academic beast, by following our pedagogy and our 4.0 academic goal. We turn the worst student into the best; if a two time college dropout (myself) can go from a 1.6 to a 3.5 in two semesters, so can you! The C stands for Cooperative, which is where the woman come in. We are the collective, the backbone of this organization. Behind every strong man is an even stronger woman. Malcolm X said that if it wasn't for Betty he wouldn't of become the great man he was in his day. With that being said, We have a mantra that says "We All We Got, We All We Need". We are saying that we have each other and we don't need anyone else. We hold ourselves accountable for each other's actions. If I'm failing a test, we all failed because we didn't take the time to reach out to each other to make sure they needed help. We are a program that advocates for those who can't do it for themselves. Being involved in this program has helped me educate myself on my own history, gain experience in my career field, gain career development, gain confidence, motivation, and gain a family amongst many other things. This is a program that I've been apart off for a year and now I'm the assistant coordinator of it. Bmec saved my life, I didn't find Bmec, they found me.
Another program that I am currently apart of is the Graduation Success Initiative (GSI). GSI is a year-long, structured academic and personal support program designed to help motivated public assistance’ students graduate within one year. GSI enables students on public assistance to devote more time to their studies and focus on the academic and professional skills that will effectively prepare them for a competitive workforce.
I haven't been in this program for long but they have weekly seminars for professional and personal improvement. I plan l on taking advantage of all the aspects Gsi has To offer.
It's important to participate in on- campus events because the events are for you. They are designed to educate you on resources on campus that help educate yourself. Just by walking into an registration office and speaking to a man who worked there, a man who didn't know this girl but took interest in the mean looking, ghetto tattooed girl who wasn't focused and was planning on joining the marines. He gave he a chance, he saw that she had a brain and he tested that theory by giving her projects that were time consuming(took weeks to do), and she finished them in a day or two. This intelligent man is now the director of Bmec. Simple things like walking into a room and asking questions changed my life. All over campus many know my story and know my name. Let me just ask you this final question my high school mentor use to ask me. Everyone remembers their kindergarten teacher's name, who will remember yours?
Bmec: Mb06,M103c, M1h15
Cope & Gsi: Mb13
Co-curricular #2 : Re-imaging Black Solidarity Day
Eldridge Cleaver once said, “You either have to be part of the solution,or you’re going to be part of the problem.” This quote directly correlates with the Black Solidarity Movement that happened on…… Reverend Conrad Tillard came to Laguardia community college to discuss the Black solidarity from the perspectives of #BlackLivesMatter, The Occupy movement, and the 20th year anniversary of the million man march, just to name a few. Those who don’t know him was formally known as Conrad Muhammad, Historic Muhammad Mosque. He was also one of the most recognized faces of the Nation of Islam during the Million Man March.
Rev.Tillard began the conversation speaking about the events that took place in the last 20 years; the lives lost to many unarmed individuals by the police. He spoke about the campaign he did with Jessie jackson regarding the and how Jessie Jackson had brought those hostages back that the president at the time could not. He spoke about the impact we are making in history and that some of those things were not so significant because other nations have already done so. We spoke about having a Black president in the white house and when that came to pass, we were all excited, not only was he a Black president but he was also White. Race mixing had been forbidden back then and yet Obama is living proof that we should no longer abide by those laws that kept us separate. Yet we forgot this one thing, this was new to us but old to other nations. We get excited about bringing Hillary into office but yet third world nations have already had women presidents. What we needed to speak about was the things affecting our world. Things like islamophobia and that social media media and what newspapers, and televisions sets portray is a big cause of this.
Jessie Jackson once said. “I am somebody, respect me, protect me, never neglect me, my mind is a pear. I can be anything in the world.” Rev. Tillard used this quote to explain to us that the world may have a plan for us, it may be re-routed millions of time but there will never be a final stop sign until you decide it is there, until you believe it exists. After touching many subjects during this short period of time. He ends by saying we all understand what it means to adapt into new surroundings, but this key word”Assimilation”, well that means something else in this day and age. I will leave that to your minds to depict into your own meanings.
Rev. Conrad Tillard was rewarded from the program hosting the event. We had all walked in with a one -tracked mind on what Black solidarity meant and stood for. By the time we all left Rev. Tillards presence we had re-imaged what Black solidarity meant. The same way we have the power to define or undefine “Race”, which does not exist unless we say it does. We had the same power to re- image our mind.
Co-curricular #3: Jill Biden Heads Up America
What would you do if you met Obama? Michelle? Joe Biden….Jill? Well I got the privilege to meet Joe Biden's Wife Dr. Jill Biden. She is such an amazing person and it was also amazing to be one of the host representing my program as well for her appearance. Dr. Biden is an American educator who is married to the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, making her the Second Lady of the United States since 2009. Jill Biden has a bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware, master's degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University, and a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware. She taught English and reading in high schools for 13 years, and also taught adolescents with emotional disabilities at a psychiatric hospital. From 1993 to 2008, she was an English and writing instructor at Delaware Technical & Community College. Since 2009, she has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College and is thought to be the first Second Lady to hold a paying job while her husband is Vice President. She is the founder of the Biden Breast Health Initiative non-profit organization, co-founder of the Book Buddies program, is active in Delaware Boots on the Ground, and is co-founder of Joining Forces with First Lady Michelle Obama.
When Jill Biden came to LaGuardia on Monday November 2nd , she came as a guest speaker to talk about her support to the “Heads Up” campaign. The heads up campaign is a grassroots movement, rallying the pledge their support for making two years of community to create education education free for responsible students . They work to create a culture that celebrates community colleges, giving students, faculty, business leaders, elected officials, families and friends the tools they need to spread the word about value and impact of community colleges on the future of America. She wanted us to be more active in our college. Jill stated that it all started here, the experience, the mistakes, the fixers, the wins and the losses. Make the best of it. She also had us complete “If college was free” prompts. So here’s mine; if college was free my mom could quit her third job and finally get some rest. Then I could better take care of her.
To join the Heads Up Campaign:
Pledge your support at the headsupamerica.us website
Spread the word on social media #HeadsUpAmerica and @LaguardiaCC