Monday, October 30, 2006

Short and Sweet!

I do not have a lot of time today, so I thought I would just start and end this blog entry with a question.

Why is diction determined by the hue of your skin?

Friday, October 27, 2006

I just watched a very disturbing 20/20 episode titled, "Behind Closed Doors". It focused on a batter wife and mother, who stated that she remained in the abusive relationship to perserve her family. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't perserve mean to keep safe from harm or injury, to protect or spare?! Can anybody explain to me what kind of armor she was providing to her children by putting the, alledged, love of a man, before the love of herself.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

final project

The Have Nots

"The mission of E H. Vare Middle School is to create a safe, supportive and motivational academic environment that will allow our students to achieve to their potential and to be confident learners and contributors to their education and their community. We are a diverse, multicultural family continually learning to appreciate our similarities and celebrate our differences. Our program is enriched by the cooperative partnerships and support of our students’ families, neighborhood businesses, and the civic groups who work in harmony with our school to ensure student success".

To put this simply--this entire statement is a falsehood.

"Vare’s academic program utilizes the Philadelphia School District’s Core Curriculum in conjunction with research-proven teaching and learning strategies to help our students develop the problem-solving skills of the 21st century workforce. The ability to problem-solve using creative and critical thinking skills in real life situations, prepares our students with a solid foundation for their transition to high school and, eventually college and careers".

"At Vare, we recognize that a fulfilling life requires an ability to show our caring and concern for the people we love and the people in our community. Therefore, we are also committed to teaching our students the importance of giving back to the community and those in need through service-learning projects".

"We believe that holding our students to the highest expectations, giving them access to highly qualified teachers, and state-of-the-art technology, and ensuring that they understand that they live in a community that requires their time and commitment to prosper and flourish, we give our students the solid foundation required to live fulfilling and balanced lives".

The only expectation that this school has reached is to make the list of one of the most dangerous schools to attend out of 52 in the U.S. (information provided by CNN.Com/Education)

Grade 5

9% (2005)
11% (2004)
3% (2003)
7% (2002)
The state average for Reading was 64% in 2005.

17% (2005)
11% (2004)
6% (2003)
5% (2002)
The state average for Math was 69% in 2005.

Source: PA Dept. of Education, 2004-2005

Grade 8

24% (2005)
36% (2004)
10% (2003)
8% (2002)
The state average for Reading was 64% in 2005.

18% (2005)
24% (2004)
7% (2003)
8% (2002)
The state average for Math was 63% in 2005.

20 years ago, American students were ranked the best in the world. Today schools mostly in inner city communities as this one rank 24th in reading and math. That puts the richest country in the world behind countries like Canada, Germany, France and Korea.

The Divide

Have-nots lack access to computers or the Internet, while know-nots lack the training necessary to operate computers or the Internet. Those who have not and know not reside among many groups of people, including African-American and Hispanic communities, populations over the age of 55, and people with visual or other impairments. In its second, influential report, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration reports that the digital divide is increasing, rather than decreasing. 2


Among African-American communities, the digital divide involves the traditional problem of access to technology but incorporates cultural barriers to usage as well. Internet and computer use is lower in African-American than in white communities, the reasons for which are many but can be blamed mostly on limited access to technology at school, work, and home. Current statistics reflect nearly three times as many white households with online service than African-American households. 3 Additionally, African-Americans are less likely to have computer access at work or to have ever used the Internet at all. 4

Perhaps more problematic than the physical problem of access, however, is the nature of the Net itself, which clashes with African-American culture. As one essayist theorizes, "…black Americans are wary of majority space. The Web is no exception to the rule." 5

Additional turnoffs arise from what Joel Dreyfuss calls "the whiteness of the web," represented by chat rooms filled with "a bunch of white guys talking to each other." 6 The emergence of such sites as NetNoir (1995) 7 ameliorates the situation only slightly, as the majority of the Net is still dominated, like television and other media, by white institutions: of the "100 Top Web Sites" selected by PC Magazine, not one represents or is owned by minorities. 8 In this case, African-Americans are have-nots, because the Net, by virtue of its current characteristics, excludes them from participating.


Student Ethnicity
Source: NCES, 2003-2004 Ethnicity This School State Average
Black, not Hispanic 81% 16%
Asian/Pacific Islander 12% 2%
White, not Hispanic 5% 76%
Hispanic 2% 6%
American Indian/Alaskan Native <1% <1%

More about student ethnicity
Source: PA Dept. of Education, 2004-2005 This School State Average
Attendance rate 86% 95%

More about attendance
Student Economic Level
Source: PA Dept. of Education, 2004-2005 This School State Average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 82% 33%

Most of the information provided by:

Please take the time to visit:

My initial project started as makeshift newspapers that were titled: "The Haves", "The Have Nots" and "The Could-Haves". During the process of uploading the images uptained for the paper of the "The Have Nots" I was very pleased with the way that the finished project turned out. But when I tried continously to upload and post the images of "The Haves" page I began to have the hardest time. At first I just chalked it up as the images were too old because most of them were obtained from the Urban Archives at Temple University, so I continued to try. But overnight I had an epiphany, and I finally started to pay attention to the message that God was trying to convey to me. That message was that our society consists of mistakes and patterns that need not be repeated, and some of the pitfalls and limitations suffered in history are still being suffered today. Race and cultural differences have always played a part in the history of our civilization. But our society ventures into different cultures on a daily basis, via print text, the internet, and the television. What is important is how we make sense of the information that is shared with us.
Cultured is a word that has many different definitions, and yet still remains impossible to define because it is a learned behavior that is taught to a particular society or subgroup. So by continously shoving what an environment use to be like to these children that are already provided with a less than mediocre education would only stunt their growth more than it already is. So I want to just focus on changing what should be changed right now.
In an attempt to try and figure out what position should be taken to solve the problems of education in inner city schools, society must first look to history to find ways to endorse its contributions—not add to its destruction.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Timeline of the Eastern State Penitentiary

history of "The Walnut Street Prison"

Color of the Keystone: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Use of Incarceration in Pennsylvania.1

Two centuries ago, during the American Revolution, Pennsylvania led the nation in the designing one of America's first modern prisons. The Walnut Street Prison, in Philadelphia, originally housed opponents to the revolution, but was reconstituted by reformers to be the first institution in the nation with cellblocks specifically designed to house long-term inmates. The first corrections reformers who built the prison believed that a clean, well-run institution, staffed by people that cared for inmates and their future might rehabilitate people that broke some law.2 Today, far from leading the nation in humane, effective ways of rehabilitation and treatment, Pennsylvania leads the nation in having the greatest racial disparity in the state's varied uses of incarceration. Recent studies have shown that:

In 2000, Pennsylvania led all jurisdictions (including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal prison system) in having the greatest disparity between the White and non-White incarceration rate. In the Keystone state-which in 2000 was 85% White (not including Latinos)- ethnic and racial minorities were incarcerated at 13 times the rate of Whites. African Americans were incarcerated at 16 times the rate of Whites, and Hispanics were incarcerated at just under 9 times the rate of Whites. While the White incarceration rate in Pennsylvania is in line with the more modest use of incarceration seen in Western Europe and Canada, the African American and Hispanic incarceration rates are amongst the highest in the world. 3

In the last twenty years, the number of prisoners in Pennsylvania more than quadrupled, from 8,112 (1980) to 36,614 (2000). During that same period, the proportion of Pennsylvania prisoners that were White dropped from 45%, to 34%, and the number of non-White prisoners grew to 66%. Put another way, of the 28,000 new inmates that were added to Pennsylvania prisons during the last twenty-years, 7 in 10 new inmates were Non-White. African Americans made-up 57% of the growth in inmates during this period.4

While the number of prisoners in Pennsylvania quadrupled over the last 20 years, the number of drug offenders incarcerated in the Keystone state grew 16 times (from 311 to 5005).5 In 1996, 28% of all prison admissions in Pennsylvania were for drug offenses.6

Between 1986 and 1996, the rate at which Whites entered Pennsylvania prisons for a drug offense declined slightly (from 4.48 to 4.44 per 100,000). Meanwhile, the rate at which African Americans entered Pennsylvania prisons for a drug crime grew five fold (26 to 148 per 100,000). In 1996, African Americans entered Pennsylvania prisons on a drug crime at 33 times the rate of Whites. African Americans youths were admitted to adult prison for a drug crime at an astonishing 55 times the rate of Whites.

Impact on Pennsylvania Communities: Union County, PA-97% of Young African Americans in Prison.
As the Keystone states urban minority population continues to be taken out of the cities and incarcerated in rural prisons, the new census figures reveal the way in which incarceration policies are reshaping the racial and ethnic demography of the region.
In Union County, Pennsylvania's three federal prisons contain 3,656 of the county's 33,258 adult citizens--just over 10% of the county's total population. In a community where ethnic and racial minorities make up only 14% of population, the three prisons have radically reshaped the ethnic, racial and social demography of the region:

In a community which is 86% White, 77% of Union County's Hispanic adult residents are federal prisoners, and 72% of African American adults who "live" in Union County are federal prisoners as well. Meanwhile, less than 3% of the Caucasian adult residents are in one of the three federal prisons.7

97% of the 20-55 year-old African American males in Union County are serving time in one of the federal prisons.

94% of Hispanic 20-55 year-old males on the census roles for Union County are also locked up.
Far from their more well-intentioned roots, the enlightened impulses that led Pennsylvanians to pioneer the nation's first prisons in the 1790s have been supplanted by a prison building spree whose impact is destructive and racially disparate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Walnut Street Jail (Goal) was built 1773-76 from designs of Robert Smith and demolished about 1835. The prison's lot was bounded by Walnut Street, Sixth and Prune Street (now Locust) with the main building fronting on Walnut Street. William Penn, who did not favor capital punishment, established the most humane penal code in the colonies. Only murder and treason were punishable by death and imprisonment at hard labor was the standard punishment for other serious crimes. As Philadelphia grew and crimes increased the penal code became more severe Overcrowded jails with deplorable living and working conditions made the need for reform evident. In 1787, the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons was organized. The Society's perseverance was responsible for the adoption of new laws which made significant changes in the administration and treatment of inmates. Those convicted of serious offenses were to be subjected to "unremitting solitude at hard labor" for a period to be fixed by the court. It was hoped that solitary confinement would ultimately result in repentance and spiritual regeneration. The Walnut Street Jail was called "the first penitentiary in the world," the reference being principally to a small building in the rear which was built in 1791 to house prisoners whose sentence included solitary confinement. During the 1790s the Jail and the Pennsylvania system of solitary confinement were greatly admired throughout the world. By 1800, however, mounting disciplinary problems caused by overcrowded facilities brought an end to the Jail's finest years. The two-story wooden structure (FG-L) was a former blacksmith shop that was purchased by the Rev. Richard Allen who had it rolled over ground and placed on a lot he owned at the northeast corner of Sixth and Lombard Streets. In 1794, the building became the first home of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church founded by Rev. Allen. The land is the oldest in the country continuously owned by African Americans. Today, the church is known as the Mother Bethel African American Methodist Episcopal Church, and its present building was constructed in 1890 on an adjacent lot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Friendship Week!

I got this e-mail yesterday and I thought it was cute enough to share:
Many people will walk in and out of your life. But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

To handle yourself, use your head;

To handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger.

If someone betrays you once, it is his fault;

If he betrays you twice, it is your fault.

Great minds discuss ideas;

Average minds discuss events;

Small minds discuss people.

He, who loses money, loses much;

He, who loses a friend, loses much more;

He, who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.

Friends, you and me......

You brought another friend ...

And then there were 3 .

We started our group ..

Our circle of friends.....

There is no beginning or end ....

Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a gift.

It's National Friendship Week. Show your friends how much you care . Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND. If it comes back to you, then you'll know you have a

circle of friends.

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!!

If you do not have anyone to love or do something special for today just love and do something special for yourself!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


My day should have started as any other carbonated energy drink, but for some strange reason I could sense mine was different. My "owner", now I sound like some old slave narrative, but anyhoo I don't know if she is lazy or needs me around for inspiration to remind her that she has "wings".
Our morning started at about 6:00 a.m., now this may be rocket science but I believe that is too DAMN EARLY to be up in the morning. She removes me from the fridge and places me on a nightstand where I begin to get warm and start experiencing an emotion that I am going to chalk up to depression as I listen in to the morning new while she gets to take a shower. After hearing the craziness of this world I pray that she just drinks me and throws me into some recycling bin so that I can hopefully be reincarnated into something like I don't know--a fish. After a quick breakfast, she take me with her into the car after guzzling down my contents and places me in some sort of cupholder and then she has the audacity to get out of the car. Who in the hell does she think she is--I didn't sign up for this when I left Austria.
When I realized that I could not jump to my death and about 7 hours, she finally returns. She is on her cell from the time that she enters the car until we reach our destination, and from what I could make out from her side of the conversation she was at some sort of schooling institution, but if you ask me I think she needs to be committed to a mental instituion for leaving me in this cold a%% car all damn afternoon. My anger begins to subside a little when I warm up, and then she has the nerve to leave me all over again, but in her defense she only leaves for about an hour this time. When she returns she is in a different get-up than she had on when she left me before, luckily she got back on the phone and I came to the conclusion that we were on our way to work, by the way that was a relief because now I realize that this is a uniform because I was beginning to think that my "owner" needed a fashion adjustment.
After driving for about an hour we finally stop and she retrieves a bag from the back seat and departs. No I don't want to go, don't worry about me!!!!
After spending about another eight hours in my plantation, the car door opens and the slavemaster takes her position, I know that clock does not say 2:07 a.m., my vision has to be obscured. No, that's exactly what it says! How in the hell does she do this? I guess humans have to do what they have to do!

May they both rest in peace!


I decided to use my workplace for the first assignment dealing with urban prospecting--before today I had just been keeping this information in my journal for this particular class. But I decided to tackle my fear of the computer and post some of my work and attempt to post some pictures--we will soon see how that turns out! (I also had some audio, but I work in a sports bar type setting so there was too much background noise), but I do apologize because it was very interesting.
I thought it would be fun to observe the behaviors and many different alter-egos that go into bartending and everyday life. How much of ourselves do we really allow the world to see?

After a week of observation I realized that on a daily basis a good number of us send representatives of ourselves through the door of our workplaces? The individuals in the photo, myself included, are required to remove ourselves from reality leaving our problems at the door for eight hours 4-5 days a week. As we enter our plantation it becomes "Showtime" for our representatives, who then hide our lives and problems behind smiles and dimples that aid in warding off any disclosing questions of onlookers.
In reality, how many of the smiles that you see everyday are actually real?