Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fish Fry Is Coming Again July 20,2011

The Annual Fish Fry is an event we, the Mason Family has been hosting for almost 20 years.  It is an opportunity for us to bring together our friends, family and acquaintances who we have met along the way.  They make a small donation and get to eat as much as they want.  We intentionally make this event diverse in honor of us living in 98118 the most diverse zip code in USA.

We need RSVPs because this event attracts hundreds of people.  The parking is challenging but available throughout the neighborhood. The Event is listed on Facebook.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spirit of West Africa Festival at Seattle Center

Makeda Ebube Invites all to celebrate African Culture through dance and music. Please come and bring the children.

 "Spirit of West Africa Festival" @ The Seattle Center in the Center House.  The festival takes place on May 7th, 2011 (Saturday) from 12:00 noon til 8:00pm. My Congolese Dance Workshop takes place @ 12:00 noon. The dance class is the opening of the festival. The festival is FREE.
Our own Dr. Joye Hardiman will be our mistress of ceremony. Also included on the program is Alpha Yaya Diallo (Guinea), De Cajon Project (Afro-Peruvian), Thione Diop - Producer - Yeke Yeke (Senegal) Featuring Dora Oliveira (Brazil), Kutt-N Up Theatrical Hip-Hop, Best of Both Worlds Fashion Show by Nansare Consolata, Naby Camara & Lagni Sussu (Guinea), Yirim Seck (Senegal/USA), Mapathe Diop, (Senegal) featuring Fama N' Diaye (Senegal), Foday Musa Suso, Kora Master (Gambia) and Many Vendors with lots treasures.
Please share this information with everyone. I would love for everyone to come and "MOVE" with me. Especially, because there is no regular community class I offer at this time. Thanks so much for your gesture to pass this information on. I appreciate it very much!!
Makeda Ebube :-*

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Somewhere Under the Radar

This is about not waiting for others to teach our children with expected equitable outcomes.

Last September I organized a gathering of about 30 individuals who are delivering education without much notice to African Americans of all ages. This gathering was inspired by an article I read by James Tooley who writes about education being delivered to children living in developing countries. He uses the term "under the radar" and not on government data sheets. He tells of quality learning in unusual places.  Along the I-5 corridor we have much the same occurring. Under or unfunded initiatives that come from internal rather than external inspirations.

In his documentary essay, Private Schools for the Poor   Tooley describes in his book "The Beautiful Tree" schools that are show up when the government does not deliver quality education to poor children. They are low or no tuition schools with from a few to many hundreds of students. Parents want quality education for their children and give support to their children and their teachers.  In Seattle there is First Place; a Seattle school for very poor children who are homeless and or living with the traumas associated with being poor too long. Unlike our public schools a parent event is as much as 80% participation.

When reading his essay two years ago, I thought of Dr. Maxine Mimms, Delbert Richardson, Doug Wheeler, Rev. Paul Stoot, Sr, Black Child Development, Parents for Student Success, Dr. Debra Sullivan, Marcia Tate Arunga, Dr. Emma Jones, Norman Alston and Fear No Number Math Academy, Black Starline Early Learners, NW Tap Connection, Danna K. Johnston, Technology Access Academy, this is not an exclusive list, there arevscores of others who educating children, our public schools will not or can not educate with equal outcomes for African Americans.

These are those who did not wait for funding, they saw the need, tapped into their inspiration and stepped up to the challenge.

Meet Those Who Inspired Me This Week.

Grateful for Inspirations
Being mid 60's gives me a major benefit and privilege on life. I am still young enough to enjoy learning and doing and being retired allows me to do what it is I want and to leave on the side of the road that which I do not.  I do realize that it is more than just age the state of being with God and centered in self is key at all phases of our human development.  Being spiritually centered diminishes the vestiges of victimhood.  I want to introduce to others some of the people who inspired me this week and for who I am grateful.

Dr. Melody Ivory
Consider walking away a job that pays well and gives you high levels of respect, because you see a life well lived with purpose a higher calling?  Not in a "Take This Job and Shove It" kind of way, but a response to a life altering crisis.  A conversation with Dr. Melody Ivory a person relatively new in my life, is a young brilliant woman who is a very special person with many gifts.

Melody Ivory's website is worth looking at. She has many products as a result of her gratitude for life and brilliance. I am I think addicted to her great tasting herbal teas and I am sure they are instrumental in my much needed weight loss and renewed energy.  To her credit she is the first and so far only African American woman to receive a PhD in Computer Science from Berkley.  She is moving forward on the expansion of her vision and with intent. To me intent is having a vision and doing whatever it takes to make it happen.

Cultural Village
Marcia Tate Arunga inspires me in her growth around her work with Cultural Reconnection. She is a testimony to what occurs when a person follows purpose and takes full responsibility and is able to elevate humanity through their work. Here is an article in March Seattle Magazine  which gives insight into how she has made a difference for many through the work she does with the Vision And Planning Team and The Institute for Cultural Reconnection and the 78 CR Delegates made up of African American women. A publication is being developed that will tell of the 12 years and beyond of inspired, focused, and active participation in the development of relationships within the African Diaspora.

Rev. Harriett Walden
New knees can make the difference for quality of life for we who are aging in good health but worn out body parts. Last August I had a spinal fusion to rid myself of the pain of spondolythesis (slipped disk) it made a major difference for my well being. Harriett, a long time sister in the struggle for justice,  followed suit and went and got herself some new knees. I spoke with her today she is at Washington Center a culturally competent rehab facility in Rainier Valley, Seattle.   I think Harriett wore out her knees over the many years of walking for justice we especially love Harriett for her inspired creation of Mothers for Police Accountability.  It is now up to our younger generations to pick up the baton and keep the movement alive. Which brings me to my young friend Marselas.

Marselas Owens
Marselas inspires not only me but millions. Last year he received  major media attention for his advocacy that moved forward the Health Care reform bill.    Marselas and his grandmother Gina are personal friends of mine. Marselas has a Mii on my Wii. He is again in the news after walking 50 miles to Olympia with his grandmother Gina to again give a real voice to why the wealthy should be taxed and that our legislators should not put the biggest burden of the economy on the backs of the poorest among us. Meet my friend Marsalas and think, "If Marsalas and his grandmother can walk 50 miles surely I can click on and send a message to my legislative delegation.

President Barack Obama
I hear people make uninspired statements about this inspired man and I want to gag. I am gearing up for re-election 2012. Election 2008 consumed much of my life and I expect the same level of involvement.  So the first task is to get as many people as possible to "GET IN" that is get involved with Organizing for America; sign onto the campaign. If you are not ready to make your financial donation, sign on anyway the key to getting out of the donation page is to click on 2012.  

*Village is used to denote African Americans living along the I-5 corridor. Villages are usually denoted in spacial terms but for us who are scattered off the many exits of I-5 it is our cultural connection that makes us a Village.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Health and Diversity, Education and Legislation

I awoke today thinking of a few things that I needed to jot down. Medical Care my own and others, parent support for their children, and housing for the homeless families.
Medical Care to the South of Seattle
Because I live in Seattle, I believe that all that is good and wonderful resides within the city limits of the Emerald City. Seattle is not much different than the story "The Wizard of Oz" tells. It is not the answer to all problems, and the Mayor of Seattle is not in fact the ruler of all the Puget Sound, and there is medical care beyond Swedish and Harborview, for me these were the only two hospitals that needed to exist. And then Vally Medical Center and the City of Renton entered my life. So my attention has shifted South. Life and humanity is like that you know we stay focused on what we know until we know something else. So the Mason family has discovered Valley Medical. Anisa is an RN there, our visitor from Kenya who was very ill during her visit was healed there last summer and just recently my son, was kept there in the hospital for 8 days until they came up with diagnosis and cure and he is now well on his way to good health again.  Walking around VMC is much like the community it serves the diversity is everywhere, not just in food service and cleaning. This is not so at Swedish, where it remains pretty white. I am not sure if UW Hospital has improved but a few years ago, I asked if they had any African American nurses at all in that hospital. I was told yes.

While speaking of good health, today I was reminded from an article read, that cleaning the nasal passage daily is a key to good hygiene and good health.  I clean my nasal passage daily with salt water. I was a candidate for a second sinus surgery and then I found the salt water cure and 10 years later, I have not even had to visit the ENT physician.

My spinal fusion is healing well and I am pretty much pain free. The pretty much means that my age brings about some natural aches on cold and dreary days, and here in the Emerald City and its surrounding areas we get enough of those. After years of suffering horrible back pain, I went to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Srinivasan an incredible physician, and she fixed me up. The cost was prohibitive without insurance, and I feel so privileged to have had good insurance through the City of Seattle. The kind everyone should have. I  now am on Medicare and so far I am pleased with my coverage. I think that if a person has several pills and drugs they take it could cut into your income. I am not in that category and hope that cleaning my nasal passage with salt water daily will keep me from prescription and drug induced poverty.

Education and Parents
What are we going to do about getting children educated and ready for life as they will experience it. There are somethings that have changed the world, such as social networking and computers, and video games. They are here and they are good things to have.  There are somethings that will never change. People will always have to know how to read, I believe that the written word is precious, I love words and language to communicate.  I am volunteering at South Shore School and see the differences between children who are receiving supplemental learning and enrichment beyond the school and those who are totally school dependent for their learning.  Today, I am doing a workshop for parents, as parents we will have a good discussion on why parents make the difference.  I do not assume a parent knows what to do, so we will have several hands on activities for reading and math. Norman Alston will do his magic of transferring Fear No Number.  He is a jewel among us and with him living in the Puget Sound region, there is no reason for any child to not know and love math.

Everyone needs to know the value of making a call to their State Legislators.  Too many who are so very  government dependent, do not make these calls. They are easy calls to make or notes to send. will guide you through the process of finding and contacting  your Senator and House Representative.  I am a former WA State Representative and know the difference the calls make in how we vote and how things get amended.  I will call my delegation and tell them to vote for HB 2048, within it there is the funding for programs and housing for the poor and in housing kids are helped through the traumas of homelessness.

What is that insurance they tack onto your credit card account?  When a person dies does anyone in the family know to collect on it? It seems like such a small thing about $2.00 but they have millions of customers.

Friday, April 08, 2011

What makes me think of Horace Mann and William Lloyd Garrison

I am most fascinated by both the abolitionist movement of the 1800's and the public school reform movement of the same years.  With just a little research, (this is merely a reflection of my thinking, not a research paper) I find that both Horace Mann and William Lloyd Garrison were white men born in Massachusetts within 9 years of each other 1796 and 1805. Our children today really use some abolitionists and school reformers of any hue.

Today the equity and democracy in its purist form, is eroded by the poor delivery and outcomes of education for brown and black children.  This is especially onerous along the I-5 corridor and for African American students.  Is there really democracy when public systems are established in ways that give a handicap to those of European ancestry?
"... It is for us the living to dedicate ourselves to the great task remaining before us;  that cause for which many gave the last full measure of devotion that this new nation will have a new birth....." 
Abraham Lincoln.  
The writing of this was inspired by my watching Ken Burns', Civil War on KCTS while writing this blog. 

 Horace Mann is known for his commitment to many progressive ideas, but he is most prominently known for his commitment to public education.  I consider his life's work important to my own. Of all the things I am committed to, a public education that delivers equitable outcomes for all students is my life's purpose.  Myself, I had the advantage of an excellent public education, I was well prepared for life long learning and I was not a straight A student, in fact that letter eluded me throughout my K-12 education.

These white me remind me that we are interconnected as human beings.  Mann was the first President of Antioch,  I am associated with Antioch University, where I received my Masters in Education, served on a board and am an adjunct professor.  Antioch does not have sports teams their sport of sorts is progressive liberation.  Antioch's motto and something I subscribe to,, is a quotation from a presidential speech; (He died soon after. It is said but not substantiated, that his speech was outdoors and so long he got pneumonia)

Horace Mannaddress at Antioch College, 1859
Here is one from William Lloyd Garrison the great abolitionist and founder of the Liberator Newspaper.  This is evidence of his intense commitment to abolishing slavery. 
I will be as harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice... I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.

I am wondering when public schools shifted from centers of learning for children to centers of secured employment for adults.  When did this happen and how do we get to being able to supply the needs of both?   It is time to make schools a year round event this would be good for both teachers and students and society.  Summer vacations were not really vacations, they served the needs of an agrarian society, the crops needed to be tended to and harvested.  If family needs could be met early on, why are we unable to meet the needs of today's families? Parents do need children at home in the summer, to the contrary, they need them in school year round.  Raise the expectations of teachers of children who are expected to join the technology revolution and evolution, train them to teach to where we are going, not where we have come from.  Pay the great teachers well, increase the number of children they teach let those who can not or will not adapt to the needs of today's children find another craft. 

When I was in the legislature, representing the 37th District in Seattle, John Stanford was the Superintendent, he was a bright burst of energized force relative to public education. He knew his time with us was protracted and he took no prisoners on his short term and aborted time with us in Seattle.  He used words such as unforgivable acts. He and I visited schools together unannounced.  He thought it unique that the Superintendent and State Representative would do this on a regular  basis.  It was and has not happened since. Why would a State Legislator spend considerable amounts of time visiting and knowing intimately our schools, the teachers, principals and students?  Because the state constitution dictates that assuring a public education for all is the "Paramount Duty" of the legislature. It is not medical care, roads, Social Welfare, they are important of course and necessary but not specifically applied for in the way that public education is.

Mr Stanford like Horace Mann died while winning victories.  The motto hanging in his office:
"Do What You Say You Will Do."  He liked to point out that it is a palindrome the same coming and going.  (DWYSYWD)

So this morning I thought of Mann and Garrison and Stanford and I am inspired.