Summertime, or at least summer break, is finally here.
Educators are able to take a much needed and well-deserved breather, and in a number of instances, students are able to enjoy time spent with family, friends, and loved ones for some fun, fellowship, employment, and even making strides on their post-high school plans.
However, for a nearly estimated 50% of African-American males in the state of Georgia, these plans may never happen; this is because the aforementioned population ends up cutting short or cutting off such aspirations due to dropping out of high school. Conversely, on a national level, research indicates that 75% of African-American males who drop out of school at some point in time may be a part of the criminal justice system, primarily due to incarceration (based on research from the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice).
This is a serious issue; thankfully, through the partnership forged by the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Georgia District of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a series of proactive measures are being taken not only in the city of Atlanta, but throughout multiple mid and larger sized cities through the state of Georgia in evaluation of the data and information present, along with providing a clear, tangible, and workable blueprint to reduce the numbers and cases associated with such issues.
On Saturday, June 8th, the aforementioned collective is hosting a free parent and youth summit to better share and exchange information and resources to not only evaluate the disturbing trends and data related to dropouts and the subsequent incarceration issues that tie in with the School to Prison Pipeline paradigm, but also providing hands-on application of strategies and other measures to better address this issue. The summit takes place at the Carl and Mary Ware Academic Center on the campus of Clark-Atlanta University from 10am-1pm.
Rob Rhodes, the Director of the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, is one of the panelists; his discussion is focusing on educating parents of the School to Prison to Pipeline issue that is a “silent truth” present in a number of the state’s public school systems. Ira Foster, an attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program who is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., is speaking on helping attendees become more familiar and aware of their legal education rights.
Melanie Velez, an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights, with her focus on the juvenile court and detention system, including improved awareness and knowledge of one’s rights, is also slated as one of the speakers for the day.
Since November, the partnering organizations have hosted similar summit-related events in Waycross (November 10, 2012) and Augusta (December 15, 2012). The other cities which are part of the inaugural effort include Albany, Columbus, Savannah, Valdosta, and the forthcoming function in Atlanta.
For additional details, students, parents, educators, and other concerned members of the community are encouraged to 678-760-1420.
While the summer is typically considered an opportunity for taking time off, there are a number of civic and community based organizations who continue to take time to address and attack community issues, along with being better agents of change. Given the combined efforts of the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Georgia District of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., an opportunity is readily available for all to get the information and problem-solving tools that are needed, relevant, and usable in addressing a critical issue and area of concern.
The call to serve is comes on June 8th, and as many as possible are asked to heed the call. Doing so enables an entire organization and community to truly be, first of all, servants of all, (so) we (and a community) can transcend all…