Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Someone Please Call 911....

Black America is in a state of emergency:

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Black infants are nearly two and a half times more likely than white infants to die before their first birthday.

African Americans are 13 percent of the nations population and account for 56 percent annually of new HIV infections. A quarter of these new infections are among people under 25 years of age.

African American and Latino children make up more than 80 percent of pediatric AIDS cases.

Close to 1.8 million African American children in the United States do not have health insurance.

Just twelve percent of African American 4th graders have reached proficient or advanced reading levels, while 61 percent have yet to reach the basic level.

According to the most recent statistics, the nationwide college graduation rate for enrolled black students is only 40 percent, compared to 61 percent of enrolled white students.

One of every 3 black males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime.

African Americans have a median net worth of $5,998, compared to $88,651 for whites.

Black children are roughly 35 percent less likely to have a computer at home and have internet access than white children.
These statistics are from the book The Covenant with Black America.

Who am I and what is this blog you ask?

I'm a philanthropist living in the Washington, DC area with a passion for all things of giving back to one's community. I've worked for various non profit organizations and witnessed many societal ills facing the black community: the effects of crack addiction on families and children, black women and the HIV epidemic and gang violence among others. This blog is dedicated to African Americans who care about our community by dedicating their time, talents and treasure to help those in need. BlackGivesBack will feature news stories, event pictures, celebrity philanthropy and profiles of those who are making a difference. I'll even share pictures from my philanthropic events.

One of my most vivid memories was a young Black boy by the name of Eugene, who was a special ed student and rarely communicated with anyone. While studying for my master's degree at Howard University, I was introducted to Eugene in an effort to help his teachers understand why he wasn't speaking or participating in class. Myself along with the school guidance counselor found out that Eugene had recently witnessed the violent death of his father. While Eugene and his father were walking hand in hand to the store, his father was shot and killed, while Eugene stood there, watching the horrific scene.

Eugene was such a bright and likeable child. So we had to figure out a way to help Eugene understand his father's death. While his family thought they had Eugene's best interests at heart, they decided not to let Eugene attend his fathers funeral, nor did they talk to Eugene about what happened. Eugene had no idea where his father was. The counselor and I found a coloring book that helped children understand death and what it meant. We picked out a page that had a picture of a tombstone and explained to Eugene that's where his father was. He looked puzzled and then suddently realized, so that's where my father is! He excitedly colored the tombstone and wrote his father's name on his drawing. A week later, his teachers were so excited because Eugene started to talk and participate in class.

I've often wondered about Eugene and where he is today. He would be 17 now. Children like Eugene have inspired my philanthropic efforts and I hope this blog will encourage you to do the same in your community.

The official launch for BlackGivesBack is coming soon!

I hope you enjoy and please provide me with feedback!

"..Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?" Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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