Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

24Aug/150

Our Charge is the Reawakening of the African Mind – Asa G. Hilliard III / #GoodSpeechEndures #BacktoSchool

As many thousands of children head back to school today, we must pause and remember that the schooling process is not a neutral process. It is a process made up of and guided by very deliberate policies, procedures, lesson plans, instructional materials and assessments to measure understanding and retention.

We must be clear that this mix of policies and processes have been designed over time by people with a clear idea about what education is supposed to do, and what it is supposed to produce. Also be clear that the mix of policies and procedures varies from one place - even one institution - to another. This suggests that different places, and for sure different institutions, have different ideas about what the educational process is intended to do, who it is intended to do it for (and with), and rationales for why.

As we send our children to school today, and for some of us, as we go with our children to school today, we have to be asking these questions.

Dr. Asa G. Hilliard, III, remains one of our great African / African-American educational exemplars, pushing us to ask these questions. More importantly, Dr. Hilliard provided much guidance in helping to answer the same questions. In the book, SBA: Reawakening of the African Mind, Dr. Hilliard helps us to understand not only the brilliance of our ancestors and their conceptions of education and human socialization, but he also helped to lay down a pathway allowing us to reconnect to that brilliance.

So here's to Dr. Hilliard's great influence, and also to our collective recommitment to helping our children and youth - and by extension all of our community - take control of the educational and socialization forces that guide our children and families.

Asa G Hilliard - Charge is Reawakening the African Mind - Good Speech Endures

10Jun/140

Dr. Asa G. Hilliard: What Do We Tell Our Children?

As we approach seven years since his transition from this physical world, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard remains one of our great master teachers.

The brief clip below features Dr.  Hilliard sharing the key messages and ideas we should be teaching our children to ensure their healthy growth and development. A core problem driving much of the madness we see within the African American community is a lack of historical, cultural and spiritual groundedness as African people within the Americas. It's absolutely true that no historically and culturally conscious people would live and interact with one another the way many of us do.

So what do we do? How do we interpret and understand our experiences in context? What are the key messages we should tell our children?

Below are a few of the key themes from Dr. Hilliard's presentation.

We should be telling our children...

  • that what is natural is to be whole, to be in balance and harmony as a family, as a nuclear family and as an ethnic family.
  • that they are divine.
  • that they are creative.
  • that they must develop good character.
  • what recovery (cultural, spiritual) looks like.

And how do we go about telling our children these things? Just as Dr. Hilliard encourages us, 'We tell them by doing that which we want our children to learn and be/become.'

Indeed, there was a time when we were whole.  And then came trouble...

So what does trouble look like, particularly in a racial/cultural sense?

How do you keep people from becoming and remaining whole?

  • Erase the memory of the people you want to dominate (the memory of what cultural recovery and wholeness looks and feels like).
  • Undermine and destroy a group's collective cultural identity.
  • Teach people about the superiority of their oppressor over themselves.
  • Control the socialization process of the people you want to dominate.

It's absolutely up to us, and within our power, to recover and reclaim 'our way'.