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A.M.E. Zion Church to announce initiative to help Wake's black male students

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The leadership of the Eastern N.C. Episcopal Diocese of the A.M.E. Zion Church says it will announce tonight "the launching of a special Wake County School Initiative for Economically –Disadvantaged Students with a targeted focus on reaching the Black Male."

The announcement will come during an 8:30 p.m. news conference at Rush Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, 558 East Cabarrus St. in Raleigh.

In addition, organizers say the event is meant to show they're "renewing their commitment to fight the abandonment of the socio-economic diversity policy which will lead to high poverty, racially identifiable public schools in Wake County."

Here's the media advisory:

Immediate Release

February 3, 2011

WHO: Bishop Richard K. Thompson and 800 Men Convene In The Capital City To Stand With NAACP President To Renew Their Commitment To Fight The Abandonment Of The Socio-Economic Diversity Policy And To Also Announce A Special Wake County School Initiative With A Targeted Focus on Reaching Black Males

WHAT: News Conference

WHERE: Rush Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, 558 East Cabarrus Street,

Raleigh, NC

WHEN: TODAY, Friday, February 4, 2011, 8:30 p.m.

Raleigh, NC – Bishop Richard K. Thompson, The Presiding Prelate of The Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District of The A.M.E. Zion Church, representing 400 churches from Durham to Manteo will hold a special news conference on Friday, February 4, 2011 to announce the launching of a special Wake County School Initiative for Economically –Disadvantaged Students with a targeted focus on reaching the Black Male.

Under the leadership of Bishop Thompson, The Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District, Sons of Varick, The Men’s Ministry for The A.M.E. Zion Church, is committed to the development and implementation of programs and activities designed to reduce the number of in-school suspensions, close the achievement gap, and improve graduation rate. Rev. Anthony J. Davis, Episcopal District Coordinator for The Sons of Varick and the Episcopal area Liaison says “The data tells the story. With Black males leading the way as it relates to being suspended disproportionately and with a Black male graduation rate of 56% when compared to white males where the graduation rate is 87%, it is time to take a stand to save our sons.

In addition to our initiative focusing on reaching Black Males, The A.M.E. Zion Church of The Eastern North Carolina District is also renewing their commitment to fight the abandonment of the socio-economic diversity policy which will lead to high poverty, racially identifiable public schools in Wake County. “We are on a road to disaster. The abandonment of this policy only exacerbates the situation, and will ultimately fuel the cradle to prison pipeline.” When asked why is the A.M.E. Zion Church involved, Thompson responds, “not only is it in our DNA, we can no longer afford to sit in our sanctuaries silent. Therefore, we stand with the NAACP and their 8-point agenda for high quality, constitutional, well funded, diverse public education. Additionally, we also know that diversity is not an enemy to student achievement; it also takes a committed community. It is not an either or proposition, it is a both and! Therefore, we are mobilizing our clergy and laity in Wake County to continue the fight against The Wake County School Board, and we are renewing our commitment to save our children.”


The major new initiative will be to help black male students at Mary Phillips High School, one of Wake's alternative schools. Read Bishop Richard Thompson's statement here for more details.


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So tonight, I stand with the 800 men in attendance at this meeting, to say to Wake County, that in as much as we are fighting your decision to abandon the Socio-economic diversity Policy, we also understand that it is time for the men of our conference to step up- and step out.

Wow is right. Saying "it is

Wow is right. Saying "it is time" seems to ignore the fact that the the time to act is way over due. But better late than never. Please know I will be the first to applaud when positive results are realized. This exactly the kind of thing that can turn things around... community involvement is where it's at.

1) so we don't have to

1) so we don't have to listen to you say the black community is not taking action.

2) we don't have t listen to you say there are not many who support diversity

1. They SAY they will take

1. They SAY they will take action... we will see what that leads to.

2. Everyone already supports diversity, some just question what that means and if overly zealous orchestrations are appropriate to meet some narrow-minded definition of diversity using fraudulent F&R statistics. We are a wonderfully very diverse county, yet some segments of the black community choose to self segregate in predominately black neighborhoods, churches, organizations and universities.

Does anyone know if any

Does anyone know if any promising initiatives were announced last night?

See the update for more

See the update for more details.

Thank you for the

Thank you for the document.

The decision to help students in an alternative school sounds encouraging.

uh, sorry I know it's Sunday

uh, sorry I know it's Sunday but the link you provided gives this:

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Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/content/media/2011/2/6/Bishop%20Thompson%20MNO%20#35B404.doc#ixzz1DCidaNdf 

It should be working now.

It should be working now.

it does, thanks!

it does, thanks!

The A.M.E Zion Church says

The A.M.E Zion Church says "it is time to take a stand to save our sons." It's time??!! This sounds appropriately high minded, but here is a news alert, that time was decades ago. Where have they been?!  I guess it is better late than never.

But why the media event, why don't they just get to work and start lending a hand? Oh, I see, it is to heighten the angry race-hustling rhetoric and continue the baseless accusations of resegregation.

So, they want to "fight" against the Wake County BoE. Why?! The BoE is the very entity -- the ONLY entity -- that has taken the initiative to identify and specifically address the suspension rates, low graduation rates, and discriminatory practices that have plagued black males students... the very students the Zion Church claims they want to help.

I am beginning to suspect that this display of outrage by the NAACP and the black churches is motivated by guilt. Guilt for  being negligent and letting the plight of their "sons" go unchecked for literally decades while they dropped out and filled up our prisons.

Now that others -- conservatives even (horrors!) -- are addressing the problem, they feel they must confront them so what when improvements come to fruition, they can claim to have provided the impetus for change. I am more convinced this is the case with each media release, threat and publicly announced prayer vigil. Here is another news flash, no one cares where the credit goes, the only thing to care about is that there is positive change and reason hand out credit.


No, guilt would make you do something and do it without fanfare, not calling attention to yourself and your late efforts.

Blame is the game still, blaming the school system for failing their students, all the while not doing anything to help those students who need that help they don't get at home, that desire to learn, succeed etc.


So they will continue to blame, wear the righteous cloak and say, now, we'll do the work, watch, we can make it happen and you can't.

Renewing commitment?

Renewing commitment? Awesome. Maybe someday he will follow through on his commitment.

Funny it is indeed to read the demands for high quality education. When you can't reap the benefits of a basic education, I wonder if a high quality education makes an iota of difference.

As for the special initiative, let us hope and pray it is something worthwhile. Maybe it will have Barber, etc. actually do something for a change other than look longingly for fame at TV cameras.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.