President Obama at GA Tech On Affordable Education

As I exited the MARTA train and took the escalator up to the street level of the MidTown Station, I am getting more and more excited about getting to hear President Barack Obama. Minutes later, I get off the bus and walk and wait, wait and walk in the long line eager and anxious to get inside GA Tech’s McCamish Pavilion.

Once inside, the Paviilion, the mood of the 8,000 plus attendeess was electric. As I scanned the crowd, I see lots elected officials, friends and others positively anticipating President Obama’s arrival.

After being introduced by a GA Tech Junior, Aerospace Engineering major, the President greets the crowd with energy and confidence. His remarks outline his plan for free two year community college for everyone across the country. The plan includes removing the middle man from the student loan process, making the payment affordable not to exceed 10% of your income, requiring the lender clearly explain terms render good customer service. A few select professions like Social Workers will have a portion of their loans forgiven. “Michelle and I had to pay student loans even as they began to start their family. We know what its like because our families did not have the means to pay our college.”

He explained he was here at GA Tech because is one of the most affordable schools in Georgia and the country. That is why he is here instead of at an expensive school explaining his plan for an affordable education.

President Obama explained that free two year community college that allows credits to transfer to four year college is good for training residents. It will give them skills that allow them to make living wages to better take care of their families.

The President challenged: 1) Congress to implement this by June, 2015, 2) GA Tech students and other young people to continue to be innovative, work hard and get involved in their communities, 3) to call Congress to get them to implement/pass his education plan that includes free two year Community College for all Americans.

The speech energizedthe crowd. As with most, I left GA Tech inspired and filled with hope.

Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow, Living Legend

Rev._Willie_Taplin_BarrowRev. Willie Taplin Barrow, Dec. 7, 1924 to March 11, 2015. She fought a good fight, came out of ICU, went home last week & made her transition early this morning. She was probably ready to go home to the Lord because she often complained that ALL her friends had died and she was alone (despite over 40 God children).

A Civil rights leader. Organizations she lead, helped and mentored include: Operation Bread Basket, Operation PUSH, Rainbow PUSH, National…Here’s an exert from Wikipedia:
“When she was 12, she organized a demonstration with fellow students to protest the fact that white students were allowed to ride the bus and black students had to walk to get to school. Barrow confronted the bus driver and demanded that he let her fellow students ride.[5] When the bus driver confronted her about it she said “Y’all can kill me if you want to. But I’m tired.”[6]od. She started working as a welder during World War 2 at Kaiser shipyards in Swan Island, Washington, which is where she met her future husband Clyde Barrow. [7] In the 1950s she worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a field organizer. In the 1960s she helped organize the Chicago chapter of Operation Breadbasket with Rev. Jesse Jackson.[7] She opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and led a delegation to North Korea in 1968. She was also active in the National Urban League and the National Council of Negro Women.[8] She was the godmother of President Barack Obama. [9]”

Search “Rev. Willie T. Barrow” on the web to get more information about her God driven life of service and mentoring.

Wow!! What a woman!! I will forever honor 🙏 & appreciate the mentoring and the amount of time I was able to spend at her feet as well as traveling with her 😇 during the 16 years I lived in Chicago.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Selma

Harper-Archer middle School students were excited to meet Rev. Dr. Bernice King (center) while in Selma; Sherry Williams (far right)

Harper-Archer middle School students were excited to meet Rev. Dr. Bernice King (Center) while in Selma, Sherry Williams (far right)

On Sunday, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the march across the Pettus bridge in Selma, I traveled there for the third year in a row. This year I traveled with five students from Harper-Archer Middle School and two staff. Thanks to the kindness of friends, the students did not have to pay for this truly historic and educational bus trip.

We were part of a three bus caravan that left from The King Center on Auburn Avenue to Selma, Alabama. On the trip down, we watched DVDs that featured Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, Ambassador Andrew Young, and other civil rights leaders who gave the “back story” on events leading up to the Selma March.

On the trip back to Atlanta, we watched the DVD of the 47th Annual Commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, produced by The King Center,  and televised live on FOX 5 in Atlanta on the King Holiday. While I saw the live broadcast, it was great to see it again. Everyone on our bus was inspired by it as they were still “high” from the Selma march experience (most seeing it for the first time).

Other than being on the Pettis Bridge, the highlight of the trip for the was three of the students taking a picture with Rev. Bernice King (the other two hesitated and missed it) after she spoke on all three of our buses before we left Selma. She is humble and inspiring. Wow! What a great way to end our trip!

While tens of thousands traveled to Selma to do the historic march, it would be great if just 10% who are not currently actively involved in voter registration and their local communities would become involved. It only takes 6-10 hours per month! It would be the people power that most communities and nonprofits need to be more productive.

And, it is exactly what we need to help preserve and defeat efforts to strip away our voting rights given to us in theVoting Rights Act. It is one thing to participate an important day in history in Selma.  It is another thing to commit to help organizations and causes that are working to help Rev. Martin Luther King’s dream become reality.

Whether you commit to volunteering at you local social justice church, NAACP, SCLC, NAN, community meeting, etc., you would be blessed and amazed at the difference you could make!! So go ahead. Do not delay. Identify a group to help and volunteer within thirty days. Then when the 51st Anniversary of Selma comes in 2016, you can celebrate your accomplishments. And, you would make our ancestors proud as you continue to honor, work and insure their sacrifices of blood, sweat, and tears was not in vain.