Black youths make up less than one half of the students in Chicago’s schools but they account for three out of four suspensions.
That’s what I read this morning in the newspapers and I told myself this needs a follow-up. It needs a story that explains why this happens and what it means.
It needs stories, not just one, that tells us whether this number, as reported today by the federal government, shows an increase or a decline; whether suspensions of black youths runs hand in hand with higher school dropouts and kids in the courts and whether there are programs that deal with this here and whether they are being tried.
Whether Chicago is the norm or the exception.
And I thought too that this is a story that needs to be told with care and attention in the black media.
Because it matters so much and this is the role of the ethnic news media – to reach out for stories that define the life of its community.
We’ll be talking this Thursday (March 8th) at Kennedy-King College about ways to bolster and build the black news media in Chicago. The meeting at 5:30 pm is open to anyone involved in the black news media or simply if you want to hear what people to have and would like to add your voice.
The meeting is sponsored by the Community Media Workshop and Media and Communications Department at the college. We’re meeting at Sikia Restaurant, 740 West 63rd St.
Folks from black print and radio outlets, from youth media, from public relations firms and community activists.