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Civil Rights Icon Claudette Colvin Honored at Parkchester NAACP Meeting

 

By Robert Press

During the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in 1955 there was a young 15 year old girl who stood up for her right to sit on a bus in Montgomery Alabama. Her name was Claudette Colvin who happened to be colored (the term used back then), and she became an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement after being taken off the bus by police for refusing to give her seat up to a young white woman. 

As Ms. Colvin told the audience Sunday, “I paid my bus fare and it is my constitutional right to sit here.” That lasted only until police officers boarded the bus to arrest Ms. Colvin. She said that she had been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King who was seeking equality in the south by the Civil Right’s Movement. Ms. Colvin went on to say that her colored friends who were with her and gave up their seats stayed away from her.

Ms. Colvin mentioned that a male classmate who was friendly with a white girl wound up being lynched a few years later after six white claimed that he raped them. Life was very tough for a young colored girl growing up in the south during her childhood. Life was tough for all colored people who were treated as second class citizens in the south.

While Ms. Claudette Colvin’s event on a Montgomery Alabama bus preceded Rosa Parks, Ms. Colvin did not receive the media coverage that Ms. Parks was given. That was because the Civil Rights Movement had progressed, and the time the Rosa Parks incident came about it was then news. Ms. Colvin did testify before the Supreme Court in the case that determined that bus segregation in Alabama was unconstitutional. That then began the desegregation movement in Alabama and the rest of the south.

Congressman Joe Crowley was on hand to present to Ms. Colvin a flag which flew over the U.S. Capital, and said that Ms. Colvin is a fine example of greatness and what is good in this country. Congressman Crowley added that he is honored to commend Ms. Colvin for her Courageous achievements.

Ms. Colvin also received a proclamation from State Senator Luis Sepulveda. Senator Sepulveda spoke of his grandfather who taught him about the Civil Rights Movement, and that Ms. Colvin’s act should be in the history books also. he added that it took courage for a 15 year old black girl to do what you did by saying “no I have a constitutional right to sit here.” He finished by saying “Ms. Colvin – you are history.”

Ms. Colvin stayed to take questions from members of the audience, and take photos with them. 

State Senator Luis Sepulveda, Ms. Claudette Colvin, Congressman Joe Crowley, and the President of the Parkchester NAACP Ms. Beverly Roberts.
             
Ms. Colvin taking questions from members of the audience.

The officers and committee members of the Parkchester NAACP with Ms. Colvin.
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Bronx Week Parade 2018

 

By Robert Press

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his co-host for the Bronx Week Parade Bronxnet television personality Ms. Rhina Valentin arrived before the parade began, so they warmed up the people arriving as to just what they would see. BP Diaz said “You will see Bronx Pride on display by residents of the Bronx.” 

  The three Bronx Walk of Fame inductees for 2018 were Ms. Tarana Burke the founder of the “Me Too Move moment”, Mr. Richard Martin Lloyd Walters, better known as Bronx Rap artist ‘Slick Rick’, and Ms. Maggie Siff of star ‘Billions’ on Showtime Network. Ms. Siff had to catch a flight and missed the Bronx Week parade across Mosholu Parkway.


            

Above- Honorees Tarana Burke and Slick Rick as they arrive to the reviewing stage.

Below – The honorees with BP Diaz, co-host Valentin, and Councilman Andy King.

The Bronx Week Parade continued for over an hour as schools, community organizations, elected officials, and others marched across the parkway, with some school or community organizations showing off their talents for the Honorees, Borough President, audience, and other watching the parade.
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Public School Chancellor Visits Parkchester Charter School

By Robert Press
 
 
Public Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza visited the Excellence Community Charter School located at 1960 Benedict Avenue this past week. Chancellor Carranza wanted to see the new seven story charter school to find out why it was so popular in the Parkchester area. 
 
  Chancellor Carranza was greeted by the CEO of the Excellence Charter School group Dr. Charlene Reid who took him on a tour of the charter school. I was able to go on the tour with Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid. The school is seven stories tall with grades Kindergarten through eighth grade in the building. We first visited a kindergarten class where the students were sitting on the floor eagerly listening to the teacher. 
 
We then went up to the seventh floor to see some older children in different rooms. There was a music class with so many different instruments, a computer class, where I was also told that each student receives their own lap top computer. As we went down floor by floor we visited various different classes in rooms that you might see in most public schools if it was possible. It appeared that Dr. Reid was showing off her school to public schools Chancellor Carranza. I felt that I was in one of the few New York City schools that was making the grade, because as a citywide parent leader I saw to many schools that were performing below the standards.
 In a charter school children have to apply to the school, and if more children apply than seats available there are rules to determine which children will be admitted first. A lottery is then held for the remaining seats available, and a wait list is set up should any children move away or decide to attend another school. I was told that the Excellence Charter School in Parkchester has a wait list of close to one thousand applicants. Dr. Reid said that for the new building the charter school group this school is in was able to issue bonds for the thirty million dollars needed to build the seven story building.  
 
  After the tour was completed Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid went into an office for a private discussion. The chancellor came out to say that he was looking to create a relationship between the public schools and charter schools in the city. He then took questions from those of us who remained. Some questions asked about the admission policy to this charter school, what resources charter schools receive as compared to public schools, and how charter schools differ from public schools. Already knowing the answers to those questions, I asked Chancellor Carranza about the poor performance of Bronx public schools, pointing out local public schools which are not performing as well as this charter school.
 
 Chancellor Carranza admitted that Bronx public schools were not doing as well as he and the mayor would like, but that he was new on the job, he would have to look at each individual school, and to give him some time. I replied those were almost the exact  words I heard from Chancellor Joel Klein over fifteen years ago. I then said parents want to know why their children are not getting the education they are suppose to get, and that could be a reason that the Bronx Charter School For Excellence was so popular in the Parkchester and surrounding area. 
 
Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid.
 
Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid visiting a kindergarten classroom.
 
Chancellor Carranza with some Honor Roll students in front of the Honor Roll board.
 
An outside look of the seven story Bronx Charter School for Excellence located at 1960 Benedict Avenue.