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:
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,
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.