Home > Uncategorized > Our Global Family by Dr. Cathy Royal, PhD

Our Global Family by Dr. Cathy Royal, PhD

“Black and Brown children will be working around the globe. They will join in the new community of cultures that expects American Blacks to know their connection to the Black Diaspora, to Cuban Blacks, Haiti, or Surinam, and beyond.  We will need to create a clear understanding in our communities and in ourselves that we are responsible for the future.  The global community needs each of us to be at the top of our citizenship game.  We must be prepared to make educated and informed decisions about politics, social responsibility, ecological dilemmas, all matters involving the security and safety of our communities.”

The quotes that open this month’s education column are taken from past issues.  How interesting it was to review the previous issues and bring forward comments for this column.  The quote is quite relevant for the subject of this month’s column.  Why? Because The Urban Voice is taking a road trip to discover what the world is asking of concerned citizens about education, citizenship and people of African descent in the western hemisphere.

The United Nations has designated 2011 the year of African people. The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 64/169 by consensus on December 18, 2009, proclaiming the year 2011 the International Year for People of African Descent (lYPAD). This year in Cali, Colombia, South America nations and citizens from around the globe are coming together for the first African Family Reunion conference. [Your World Travel Consultant Group is the official travel sponsor for the reunion; please contact them (1-888-535-3536) or AfroAmerica XXI for additional information on the reunion.]

The conference will be held from August 22-27. This will be the first such event in the western hemisphere.  The primary organizing agency is AfroAmerica XXI (or AAXXI), a nonprofit organization based in the United States and working globally to create awareness and unity about people of the African Diaspora. The government of Colombia is providing support for the event and its Vice President is scheduled to be the opening speaker on August 22.

In previous columns I have written about the need for global awareness and the need for an understanding about culture, heritage, and pride.  This conference has a great opportunity to open dialogue throughout the hemisphere between educators and communities about the connections across the boundaries of nations.  These connections will address the education of children, or lack thereof, in urban areas in every country where poverty and under preparation is present.  In many of our schools we have simulations and case examples about issues that expect children to make “leadership decisions” based on the facts present in their texts or scripts. 

These simulations are great curriculum ideas that prepare students for critical thinking and decision making.  What we also need is exposure and “voices from the globe” to enhance our scripts and text.  The information super highway via SKYPE and Google Earth has enhanced classroom vision and created avenues to see into classrooms in Salvador da Bahia, or Cali, Colombia.  What about the opportunity to be in Salvador or Cali? What about the life changing experiences of living and learning side by side with students and citizens of another country? We have an opportunity through the reunion agenda to create learning and living opportunities for students and teachers. 

I know it is impossible for every student or teacher to have a “study abroad” experience and clearly there are limited resources for such experiences in most urban school districts.  I also know that seeing the world, experiencing learning outside the day to day classroom, outside the United States and the barrio or the ‘hood, is invaluable.  Studying and seeing another culture as part of your education experience has been a cornerstone of quality education for decades.  Many of the educational profiles of our leaders include living and studying outside the United States or their native countries; the admission offices in colleges and universities look for such “unique experiences” in their applicants’ portfolios. 

It is time for urban students to have this opportunity more often.  It is time for this area of education to address study opportunities that focus on people of color and their contributions to cultures and nations.  These programs are different from programs that send students or citizens on “help missions” to other countries. The curriculum of such new study opportunities must include the accomplishments of people of African descent and contact with successful families in the Diaspora.

The African Family Reunion conference agenda has several tracks:  One is dedicated to education, another to commerce or business, and a third is focused on culture and history.  The tag line on the conference website is “…let’s gather the things that unite us”.  This is a powerful statement and can be an exciting beginning for educators to develop stimulating curriculum programs based on connections and learning gained at the reunion.  I intend to participate in the education and culture tracks.  I intend to listen intently to the voices of the people of the Diaspora who are attending the conference.  I am interested in making the connections that will facilitate new opportunities for collaboration across the hemisphere.  This reunion is an opportunity to participate in history and the future. 

The word is spreading about the United Nations declaration, the energy is building, and in countries around the world people are sharing information about the significance of the declaration.  It is historic and signals to the world the UN’s recognition of the importance of African people across the world.  The United States will be represented I am sure; what is needed from The Urban Voice community is to spread the word in our neighborhoods.

Tell our sons and daughters that the recognition has begun, that our heritage is taking the world stage.  Ask teachers and leaders to create an opportunity to discuss this wonderful event and recognition.  Create a celebration at the opening of school in September including acknowledgment of the many countries in the Diaspora; keep the recognition going beyond the conference.  Ask your spiritual leader to offer words and support during the conference week.  Uniting a diverse population of descendants is so important and critical to the 21st century global community; unity will take prayer, determination and commitment.  Mention the event; go to the website; listen for updates. I am in for the long haul so please read this column when I return.  And, of course, see for yourself; come to Cali and be a part of history and step into the future.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: