Category Archives: Parenting

Parents Need to Unionize

Parents Need A Union.

First and foremost, when it comes down to schools, I’m a firm believer that parents need to unionize. Unions protect the best interest of their members. Secondly, In many of these schools, teachers and administrators have an association. Additionally, the only stakeholder that left unprotected is the families that send their kids to these schools blindly every day.

Blind Trust.

Hence, I remember my schooling as if it was yesterday. Often I felt bullied by teachers. Grades and grading policies were subjective, and family history could get you the benefit of the doubt. Because, for example, if you had a sibling perceived as a “good kid” of if teachers thought you came from a “good family,” they were more willing to work with you. But what about the students and families that don’t fit neatly in a box, whose looking out for their best interests? You got it, no one. All the more reason parents need to unionize.

How would a parent union look?

For that reason, Kerry Rodriguez of Massachusetts and Alma Vivian Marquez of California are the co-founders of the movement. This particular group builds agency within the parent ranks, in hopes to train parents to better advocate for their children.

Information on NPU.

Moreover, where can you find more information about joining the National Parents Union movement? It’s funny, you should ask. It seems like Google is suppressing searches for this parent group. The teacher’s unions are actively campaigning against this parent group. Even in its infancy stages, the mere thought of parents organizing on behalf of their children is terrible. Advocation for children is “theater of the absurd” material for some people.

The Funny Thing About Funding.

Often times when people encounter a message they don’t like in public advocacy, they start attacking the funders of the word. I don’t know who funds NPU. I don’t care. Here’s why: If these women were smart enough to come up with an idea, and get people to follow it, and corporations to donate to it, they’ve activated their agency. For that reason, to steal a phrase coined by my pod mate Dr. Charles Cole, “They’re Agentic AF.” Based on America’s treatment of Black and Brown students in schools, Parents need to unionize. I said what I said!

Black Mamma Agency!

The Buzz Around Town.

Lately, I’ve heard arguments that leave me angry and confused. Most of these arguments center around “Cancel Culture, ” “Agency,” and “Ownership.”  “Black Mamma” Agency and Ownership in the era of cancel culture is real.  Alas, we have folks that are trying to discredit these ladies, and I simply will not have any of it.

Agency.

Agency, for this blog post, is defined as action or intervention, especially such as to produce a particular effect.

The Powerful Parent Network is a group of parents and grandparents that are fighting for equity and school choice. During the campaign cycle, these elders in the Black Community have made their presence felt by exercising their right to protest.

I’m not sure how you all show agency, but in my community, we show it by getting results.  The Powerful Parent Network showed their agency by fundraising to attend the most recent Democratic debate held in Atlanta, Ga.  This is an important fact to highlight.  Many of those that were against these parents’ right to protest said these parents were funded and influenced by billionaires looking to privatize education.


Below is the link of parents soliciting funding to attend the debate.

Can we express our views?

Americans pride themselves on the power of the 1st amendment and one’s right to free speech. Free speech can make you feel uncomfortable and force you to see the other side of an argument if you are open to seeing it. Exercising this free speech is how some of us express our Agency. People have the right to express their opinions. That doesn’t in any way, discredit you. We can disagree and still be friends. We can even grab a beer.

Ownership in the Era of Cancel Culture.

Ownership is the act, state, or right of possessing something. The educational system in the United States was never meant to educate Black folks. It isn’t me pulling the race card; it is me reminding you of how painful it has been to be Black in the United States.


Black Mamma Agency is a different kind of Agency. These black mammas are willing to risk their lives and their livelihood to ensure that the next generations have better than they had.

The mere notion that these women, who have put our country on their backs, these women who are the moral fabric of our country are bought and sold is assinine.  It’s the perfect argument for those of you that want to deflect instead of reflecting.

Confront Race.

Moreover, some folks get uncomfortable when the topic of race surfaces. That’s not my problem, nor is it my cross to bear. We should be open and honest and have more conversations about race and what it means to be a member of the underclass. Only then will things change.

But I digress.

The Powerful Parent Network is a phenomenal group of advocators for school choice. They have expressed their Agency, and their voices lifted.

Black Mamma Agency: There’s Nothing Like It.

There have been feeble attempts to discredit their lived experiences. It happens way more often than I’d like to discuss. It’s fine when Black folks are the help, second class citizens, but the moment we express unfairness in a system that we all know is unfair to the underclass, black people are painted out to be bought off by billionaires, heels, incapable of good thoughts. To be able to have these thoughts, and express them, that’s why we fight. That’s why we should continue to fight.  And before you even think about canceling these Black Mammas, here’s a PSA on cancel culture:

Lastly, we shared our thoughts on Black Mamma Agency on the 8 Black Hands Podcast. If you get a chance, give it a listen.

A School Leader’s Worst Fear!

A School Leader’s Worst Fear!

A school leader’s worst fear has to be the passing of a student.  Fortunately, it has never happened on my watch.  However, I have seen school communities destroyed by the loss of students.  There are certain things that school leaders can do to be proactive to ensure the safety of students.  I think it is going to take leaders going above and beyond, as well as thinking outside the box to address this ongoing problem.

School Bullying.

We talk about bullying a lot.  Yet, there are still kids that sit in silence and are bullied on an everyday basis.  I’m no-nonsense when it comes to bullying.  That’s when the whole restorative justice framework goes out of the window for me.  Parents send kids to school to learn.  They want their babies coming home the same way they were sent to school.  The job of the school leader is to ensure that occurs.  I always take it one step further.  School leaders are responsible for the child from the time they leave the house, to the time they enter the house.  Sometimes if things aren’t going well, your responsibility may even enter the house.  We have to protect these children.

Holding Schools Accountable.

There have been way too many instances when bullying has been reported but continues to happen in schools.  We need to create safe havens where the students that are being bullied have a safe outlet to report any and all instances.  One way to address bullying is to take it seriously the first time.  There is no time to play when it is brought to your attention.   If you think about it, by the time it gets to you, it’s usually too late.  This is why it’s essential to have your fingers on the pulse in your respective schools.

Keeping Your Fingers on the Pulse.

There are a lot of different ways to keep your fingers on the pulse.  One way that resonates for me is having staff members be a student for the day.  This way, teachers can see things through the eyes of the students. It adds a level of empathy to the teacher’s repertoire.  Moreover, this type of innovation will allow teachers to see things through the eyes of the students.  Thus increasing the believability of the students when they report cases of bullying.

A Fear Realized.

This latest incident of school bullying resulting in a young lady committing suicide brought me to write.  As educators, we have to do better with protecting our students.  We have to listen to our students.  No matter how minor it may seem.  A school leader’s worst fear is losing a student on their watch.

The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast

An Educator’s Sacrifice.

As educators, we tend to give a lot to our students. So much, in fact, I know many educators that neglect their own children due to the demands of the career. I have felt victim to that many times. Feeling disconnected from your child’s life is not a good feeling at all. This feeling got me to thinking, how can I help others while still keeping a pulse on what my teenager is doing. It was there I thought of The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast.

Falling Prey to the System.

Black and Latinx boys have become prey to a system that does not prepare adequately to become men. Some would even say that the system not only sets them up for failure but it’s making them ready for prison. I needed to come up with a way to advance the culture while not allowing my own son to become a victim to the system.

A New Type of Podcast.

We have decided to theme this podcast on Black and Latinx culture while keeping the focus on uplifting black boys through emphasizing education. My son is an expert on most things culture. I’m taking a back seat and asking questions parents should ask while maintaining a safe space for a Black male teenager to navigate through his feelings while being expressive about the things he doesn’t understand. The most exciting part of this podcast is the fact that I’m learning from my son the expert.

The Ray(s) Vs. Everybody Podcast.

In the first episode of The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast, we talk about Kodak Black and his current media backlash. Ray Jr. comes into his own as a voice for teenagers growing up in the United States post-Obama. It’s vital that we give our young Black and Latinx teenagers an outlet to express themselves. There’s no better way to do that than to meet them on technological platforms that peak their interests while creating a safe space for them to be expressive.

Bridgebuilder.

I hope that this podcast serves as a bridge between Black and Latinx boys and the male figures in their lives.  I think The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast can be transformational in terms of forming a better dialogue between Black and Latinx males.

Black Folks Y’all Are on Your Own!

Origination of Black Folks Y’all Are on Your Own!

I can’t take total credit for this. The title of this blog post was actually an underlying theme of the 8blackhands podcast. Dr. Cole, our esteemed “podmate” has been saying this for a while. It seems as though with everything that we discuss in education, Black Folks Y’all are on your own!

What this means is, people will do their damnedest to point out to you that a problem exists in education, but little to no effort will go into providing you with solutions on how to navigate through the nuances of the said problem.

The More Things Change.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. If I were to ask an old-timer, do you think that things have changed from the Civil Rights Movement? I guess that 8/10 would say yes.

The tenor in the country is lighter, there are fewer forms of public violence against minorities, but are we looking at things from the correct lens?

Let’s Analyze the picture to the left of the screen. I’d like to pay particular attention to the Black Incarceration data set. We all can concede that Black and Latinx folks are overly criminalized in American society.

There are at least two Democratic nominees for President that are vying for the presidency based on criminal justice reform. They identified the problem, “Black Incarceration,” and they created a platform to change it, “criminal justice reform.” It seems simple enough. But I definitely won’t hold my breath for the outcome.

When will Educating Black Kids Change?

Another problem that we have identified is Black and Latinx students are failing in K-12 education in the United States. It’s actually quite awful how much they have fallen behind their counterparts.

Meanwhile, racism and prejudice continue to permeate the discourse in determining why? In the NYC debate over how to better integrate its specialized high schools, Asian parents have established a campaign in which they are saying “Black and Latinx parents don’t care about their child’s education.” When asked to provide proof of such, and I was advised to go to any NYC library.

I was then told that in the library you’d find Asian kids studying, but you wouldn’t find black kids doing the same. Therefore it was equated that “Blacks and Latinx folks don’t care about their children’s education.

Navigating Through the Nuance.

We’ve established that Black Folks are on their own in K-12 education. Rather than walk you through the solutions of how to navigate through the nuance, I’ve decided to make this blog interactive.

If you have ideas as to how to solve the educational woes from Black and Brown folks, we want to hear your solutions. You can reach out to us @8Blackhands1 on twitter. Tonight’s episode, we will talk in debt with Dr. Cole about: Black Folks Y’all are on your own! So stay tuned.

From Grandparents to Primary Care Givers.

From Grandparents to Primary Care Givers.

When you reach the stage of a grandparent, your role is different from that of the parent. You’ve raised your kids, hopefully in a manner that makes them responsible. No one warned you of the possibility that you’d go from grandparents to primary caregivers.

One day, far in the future I’ll be a grandparent. My role will be to give my grandkids a couple of days out of the month, so their parents can remember what it was like to be kid-free. A grandparent is to the equivalent of a relief pitcher; the biological parents are the aces.

Moreover, taking on your grandkids full-time can be both positive and negative.

The Positives.

1. The genuine love that you have for kids that are an extension of you. These kids embody your genetic makeup.
2. The ability to watch your grandkids learn and grow in a controlled setting.
3. Giving your grandchildren a stable environment where you can be a decision maker or a narrative changer.

The Negatives.

1. Anger or resentment, which is natural because these are not your children, you’ve raised your children.
2. Guilt; feeling as if you didn’t do a good enough job with your child, so you’re on the hook for their kids.
3. Grief, no longer having your independence.

Some folks dream of the day when they can walk around their homes, the way they want to walk around.

Tips for Grandparents who become Primary Care Givers:

1. Take care of yourself. You deserve that, and you’ve earned it.
2. Make sure you have hobbies to center the universe around you. ”Me time” is significant.
3. Building the capacity of the grandkids is okay. Kids nowadays are capable of being a lot more independent.

Moving Forward with the work.

According to data from AARP in 2016, three million grandparents are raising their grandchildren.

As we move forward in this work, I would like to bring attention to the following. Grandparents often receive no additional income for raising their grandkids. There needs to be legislation that allows grandparents to foster and adopt their grandchildren. Grandparents should be eligible to receive government funding in addition to money from their pensions. It may help with some of the stress associated with grandparents as the primary caregivers of their grandchildren.