Forest For The Trees: A Lesson From Trayvon

forest for the tree
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

While we await on the jury’s deliberation on a verdict in the tragic Trayvon Martin murder case, regardless of the outcome, I know I must not be so focused on this forest that I forget to see all the trees.

When the verdict is made public, I will let my outrage– if it comes to that–or my sense of justification, be the pivoting point that spins in the directions of other mounting crises developing in our nation that deserve the unwavering attention I gave to Trayvon:

According to the New York Times, over 500 people were murdered last year in Chicago. PLACE OUTRAGE HERE!

Chicago-high-school-students-demonstrate-against-gun-violence-courtesy-urbangrounds.com_

At the start of this past Fourth of July, 2013 weekend, at least 55 people have been shot across Chicago, nine fatally.

Eleven people were wounded in shootings on the South and West Sides the following Friday night and early Saturday, the Tribune reports.

The weekend’s youngest victim was injured Thursday in a South Side park. Five-year-old Jaden Donald was shot in the abdomen and right leg while playing in a park just before midnight.

In light of the violence, it’s imperative that we continue to discuss positive solutions that will engage and keep our children safe. The Learn and Earn Program, a summer youth development program that engages hundreds of Chicago teens, is a model that is working.

It provides an academic enrichment and career development opportunity for approximately 700 Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) youth in order to prevent learning loss during summer time. The program also provides a “first real job” experience. This highly successful program is geared towards teens, ages 13-15, and is designed to reach scholars wherever they are on their learning journey.

source: Huff Post Chicago

On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. PLACE OUTRAGE HERE!

50th anniversary on the march on washington

In a vote of 5-to-4, the majority held that the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, originally passed in 1965 and most recently updated by Congress in 1975, was unconstitutional. The section determined which states must receive clearance from the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington before they made minor changes to voting procedures, like moving a polling place, or major ones, like redrawing electoral districts.

Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval.

Join Harlem’s famous First Corinthians Baptist Church as they partner with Al Sharpton and the National Action Network on August 24, 2013, on a sojourn to DC to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the movement that spearheaded the proclamation of the VRA into law in 1965.

Interest rates on federally subsidized student loans could double by the time students return to campus this Fall. PLACE OUTRAGE HERE!

black college

The possibility of rates soaring from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent is likely if Congress fails to reach a deal. Congress’ Joint Economic Committee has estimated the increase — unless and until it is reversed — will cost the average college student an additional $2,600!

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with lawmakers Tuesday night to discuss possible options, including the market-based approach Obama included in his budget outline. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that a proposal to tie loan rates to the 10-year treasury note yield could never pass the Senate and that he couldn’t back something that doesn’t include stronger protections for students and parents.

In the past Democrats and Republicans voted for a few years of freebies in the form of reduced rates for student loans. It was a temporary fix to the escalating costs of getting an education in this country. The freebie is now expiring and some lawmakers are trying to bury the already financially strapped middle-class taxpayers, who btw are paying the highest loan interests ever, to keep the freebie rolling. No sense there!

Democrats, trying to find a stopgap measure to restore the 3.4 percent interest rates, have failed and are now simply looking for a way to lower rates for students before the Fall.

Education in America must not become a privilege. It must remain an inalienable right to all its citizens!

 

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Amy Conton is a freelance writer and graphic designer living in New York, USA.

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