black women

Former Essence Magazine editor Susan Taylor is fighting for black youth

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Shonda Scott:          Welcome to KDOL Community Spotlight Special on African – American achievements. This year the district has shined a light on improving African – American male achievement as part of an initiative to help close the achievement gap.

Many asked why African – American male achievement, why now? Why? Because the numbers are startling, between 2003 and 2009 the average reading scores for African – American males was lower than the average white male by at least 28 points in grade 4, and 29 points by grade 8.

In 2009, 50% of 8th grade African – American males perform below basic levels in both reading and math. So, why now? Now, because we still have hope and it’s time for us to take a stand and take back our community. For this issue is not just an African – American issue, it is a national issue. It impacts our public safety, economic growth and community at large.

This issue is so large that our Congresswoman Barbara Lee spearheaded the funding of a national grant providing additional support to local communities to help save our babies. The program is the National Cares Mentoring Movement lead by Susan Taylor former Essence magazine editor and chief.

Between this movement and what Oakland unified is doing to help improve African – American male achievement, we should see some reduction in the achievement gap in the near future. When the launch of National Cares Mentoring Movement was held in Oakland California, KDOL Spotlight went on location to see this event and I had the honor of interviewing Academy Award Winning Actor Louis Gossett Jr., Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Susan Taylor to discuss how their program can work in concert with the work Chris Chatmon, OUSD, Executive Director of African – American male achievement Initiative is doing right here in Oakland Unified School District.

Shonda Scott:          Why did you choose Oakland and how is this program actually gonna help to close the achievement gap?

Susan Taylor:                      We chose Oakland because Oakland is a cultural leader. This is a pilot; it’s a pilot that is as huge, a dream. I think as those who created Essence dreamt. We’re dreaming that with this protocol, with this training, with rooting these principles and practices in our communities and not in everyone but in those who say “send me”. I really want to make differences in the lives of children and I’m willing to be a mentor…

You can watch more of the interview below:


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