Why So Many Negative Posts!

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Texas State University students in October 2015 at Party Politics US pilot kickoff of Chalkboard Conversations party ask questions to make a point.


By Atiba Madyun

My company Party Politics US’ secret group on Facebook, Chalkboard Conversations, had a member from abroad ask why so many negative posts.  The comment was placed on a post about the incident that occurred at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Starbucks.   The group has over 4,000 members from all walks of life posting and commenting everyday.

It has diverse viewpoints and our members are in over 80 countries.   Members are allowed to discuss, debate even argue the issues, but never allowed to insult the messenger.   Our members speak highly of the platform, many saying it is the only one they are on that the conversation remains civil.

Below is my response to the question about negative posts.  It gets to the core of where we are today and if you want to join our discussions please see how to join read below.

“When this country lives out the true meaning of its creed “that all are endowed with the rights of liberty, freedom and justice” then you’ll see the posts change.

The expression of frustration are heightened when unarmed men, women and children are being killed because of the color of their skin.  The people in this country see that and there are far more people connected to the issues and sickened by the inequality. An idea of equality is preached in our schools, but in our society, it is not lived out in practice.

The negative posts will decrease, when healthcare becomes an inherent right to live…

And unequal pay becomes equal pay for doing the same job, you will see a change.

This country boasts of being the greatest nation in the world.  We invest more into our  military power than in cultivating citizens ability to be creative and innovative.

The posts are a reflection of that.

Our country like many others around the globe are filled with citizens that believe the opportunity our country promises is meted out to a few and denied to the masses.

Further, the structure of this nation has from its inception, denied the right of full citizenship, even to those who were here first.

What you see in the posts are the concerns of many.

There are far too many instances of irresponsible leadership and when that happens the citizens here and abroad should speak out.  We have that right in America and exercise it generously.

America is a form of democracy, yet the president of this great nation is not elected by the majority as we have seen in two of the last five presidential elections.

If our nation is to be a leader in the world and if it is to be a moral compass in this world, it must show in its example the power of human excellence.   All our institutions from government, corporate, small business, nonprofit to faith based must accept that responsibility.  To do this, we must use our power as citizens to exhibit the power of a great moral standard.  Instead, of that moral standard, our government leans on the power of our military and law enforcement to make people do what it says is right, not what is always morally right.  It does so to protect the oligarchs and today, we are under a fascist form of government.

We are better as a nation and the world when we show the power of our example is about fairness and opportunity for all.  And in our right as citizens, we are given the right to express our concerns.”

If you would like to join our online conversations, send me a message or better yet, find me on Facebook Atiba Madyun and I will be happy to add you.

Atiba Madyun is founder and president of Party Politics US that is putting the party before the politics by amplifying and attracting unheard voices using fun, innovative events to create safe spaces to make genuine conversations possible.

Chalkboard Conversation is a platform of Party Politics US, created in 2015.  It’s physical boards capture stories to share that generate conversations.  Today, it has more than 4,000 members.

 

State of the Union Priorities: A Path Forward

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By Atiba Madyun

This week, I attended a White House briefing on the President’s initiatives addressed in his State of the Union address.  His staff spoke on Cradle to Career education initiatives, My Brother’s Keeper, criminal justice reform, minimum wage and family sick leave.  They emphasized a sense of urgency and that the President has 22 months left to move an agenda focused on strengthening the middle class and investing in America’s future.

On education, the President believes no young person’s zip code should determine his/her future.  While the nation has its highest high school graduation rate ever (80%), it can link its high school dropout rate to 1,300 of the Nation’s schools. Therefore, the President has a new national goal to prepare the next generation(s) for high quality education and a bright future.

To achieve these new goals, it will require greater participation and accountability.  Like the old African proverb, It Takes a Village to raise a child, every child’s grandparents, parents, communities and schools should work collaboratively in this effort.  The President wants to increase America’s rank in providing high quality Pre-K access to high risk children.  Currently, according to Early Education for All, the U.S. ranks 28th out of 38 industrial nations that provide Pre-K and “the achievement gap between low-income children and their affluent peers is growing.[i]

By creating better pathways, students will have a better chance to graduate high school putting them on a pathway to college and enhanced career choices. To close the access gap, we have to address cost and make college more affordable for students that work hard and get good grades.  Opening access and making the first two years of community college free is a way to help students attain a higher education without going deep into debt before starting their career.

Increasing the minimum wage will help many Americans including some college students.  In 2017, 7 million Americans will benefit from minimum wage increases.[ii]  Making family sick leave available so employees working full time get at least seven days of sick leave a year makes sense for the employee and employer.  It can help businesses maintain low turnover while allowing employees to stay home when they are sick so they don’t get coworkers sick.  It also helps employees care for sick loved ones during episodes of illness.

Additionally, protecting and promoting family values also leads to success for America’s youth.  Each day, an average of eight children and teens are killed by guns.  Last year, we heard one too many stories of young men killed by police officers that set off a firestorm of protests.

Recognizing that too many young men are off track, the President one year ago this month, introduced My Brother’s Keeper (MBK).  Later in the year, a month after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, the President issued a challenge to cities, towns and tribes to become “MBK Communities” to implement coherent cradle to college and career strategy to improve outcomes for young people.  It addresses serious concerns in the African American, Hispanic and Native American tribal community.

MBK is seeking to find ways to save young people from a pathway that leads to prison. These are tied to his initiatives for education.  As early as pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, some 4 and 5 year olds have been suspended for negative behavior that can be typical of a child who is developing social-emotional skills. This is not how we should be supporting young children in their early years.  Data shows the nation’s greatest challenges dropout rates, crime, health-care costs, competing in the global marketplace – can be met by focusing on the development of all children, beginning at birth.

The President asserts a child’s future should not be predetermined by his/her zip code.  The Ounce of Prevention Fund research shows that at-risk children who don’t receive a high-quality early childhood education are[iii]:

  • 25% more likely to drop out of school
  • 40% more likely to become a teen parent
  • 50% more likely to be placed in special education
  • 60% more likely to never attend college
  • 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime

Early childhood programs are the most cost-effective way to ensure the healthy development of children in poverty and offer the greatest returns to society.In DC, where Pre-K is offered in every elementary school, Councilmember David Grosso recognized this and introduced legislation to positively address this growing trend to protect our 4 and 5 year olds and find better ways to promote positive social and emotional development.

MBK can be a vital instrument in impacting the lives of young American men.  To sustain and create greater opportunities, it is securing corporate, advocacy and community partners to better engage young men.  It is identifying long term solutions to their growth and prosperity in American society.  And all of the President’s cabinet agencies with focus on domestic policy are engaged in this effort.  More importantly, the President has expressed his and the First Lady’s commitment to work on MBK long after they leave the White House.

Mandatory sentencing laws have hurt families for too long.  The President’s staff and the Justice Department are looking for better ways to address re-entry, so that people can re-enter society better equipped to find employment, stay out of prison and empower them with the right to vote.  His Task Force on 21st Century Policing is looking at how billions of dollars are being spent in the militarization of police departments.  Body cameras and collaborative reform are great.  Here is not only a need, but an excellent opportunity on Capitol Hill for bipartisan support.

What the Administration and Congress might also consider is a national database to track the number of times police officers fire their weapons, injure and kill as well as kill unarmed individuals.  While body cameras are a great first step, it is vital to have policy guidelines defining when an officer turns them on and who views the footage.

As Americans, we can study the President’s proposals and look at like a shareholder of a company would.  Whether it is increasing the minimum wage, creating seamless pathways to attaining higher education, protecting our young men and law enforcement officials, providing greater upward mobility opportunities, they all look to strengthen our nation and our economy.  That’s a win-win as an American shareholder and a great way to invest in America’s future!

Atiba

Atiba Madyun is the President of The Madyun Group, a Public Affairs firm based in Washington, DC.

Learn more about My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) www.whitehouse.gov/MBK or visit www.mbk.org.

[i] Early Education for All –  http://www.strategiesforchildren.org/docs_research/14_International.pdf

 [ii] The White House – www.whitehouse.gov/raise-the-wage

 [iii] Ounce of Prevention Fund – http://www.ounceofprevention.org/about/why-early-childhood-investments-work.php