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Racial Disparities in Early Childhood Hurts U.S.

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Ready Freddy visits prekindergarten students at a public school in Buffalo, N.Y. (David Duprey/AP Photo)

Ready Freddy visits prekindergarten students at a public school in Buffalo, N.Y. (David Duprey/AP Photo)

By Jazelle Hunt
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA) –Increased investment in early childhood education and care can eradicate many of the racial success gaps that persist throughout society, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Early childhood encompasses birth through 3 years old, and children of color are already the majority in this as-yet-unnamed generation.

The report, titled, “Investing in Infants and Toddlers to Combat Inequality,” shows that despite being the majority, children of color are generally faring poorly on a number of social and educational metrics. One -in-three toddlers of color lives in poverty. By 5 years old, children from low-income homes have heard millions of words fewer than their more affluent peers (a vocabulary deficit known as the word gap).

According to an earlier CAP report, even among middle- and upper-class families, 25 percent of all kindergarteners are not school-ready – they may not know any letters, numbers, or colors, for example.

“While the United States as a whole has become an increasingly educated country over time, very significant educational disparities exist between whites and people of color,” the report states. “Since the majority of infants are children of color, improving the continuum of early childhood programs available to children under age 3 and their families provides an opportunity to stifle these disparities before they begin.”

Data suggests that without intervention to beef up early education programs, this generation may not be able to meet economic demands to maintain the United States as a world leader. Among 25 to 29 year olds in 2012, only 37 percent of Whites, 17 percent of Blacks, and 13 percent of Hispanics held at least a bachelor’s degree.

According to the report, if current educational attainment trends continue, 5 million jobs over the next decade will go unfilled or be outsourced for lack of skilled, educated American workers.

Further, if racial income gaps had been closed in 2011, national GDP would have increased by $1.2 trillion and an additional $192 billion in taxes would have been generated.

“If the heart doesn’t get us – the importance of helping [the babies]…the other thing that should get us are the economic implications,” said David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, speaking as part of a panel event connected to the report release. “So many of our communities would be saved if we would just find the time to make intentional investments in children and families, early.”

The foundation for today’s early childhood programs were the result of largely successful social and educational experiments primarily tested with Black children and families. Generally, families of color now lack access to affordable, high quality programs. Part of it is cost. The report asserts that the cost of childcare is higher than the median rent in all 50 states. It also asserts that most of the nation’s childcare options are poor or mediocre in quality, despite this high cost.

The federal government offers several provisions for the youngest among us, and their parents. Some are more effective than others. The Child Care Development Block Grant, for example, allows states to give low-income families childcare subsidies. But, the report points out, while the subsidies free up low-income parents to attend school, work, or technical training, the subsidies don’t match the cost of high-quality programs; so such programs usually do not accept these vouchers.

There’s also Early Head Start (EHS) and the very popular Head Start program. These programs, which have benefitted Black families in particular, provide a spread of pre- and post-natal health services, child development, and educational services to low-income infants and toddlers.

“Research on the effectiveness of EHS shows positive effects on development for infants and toddlers, including a wide range of cognitive and social-behavioral out- comes, and on child-rearing practices for mothers,” the report explains. “These beneficial effects were markedly large for African American children, including an increase in parental support for early language and literacy, daily reading, and teaching activities through age 5.”

But, Head Start is “severely underfunded,” serving less than 5 percent of the nation’s infants and toddlers.

During the CAP panel, the speakers explained that parents can bolster early childhood development by spending a lot of face time with their children: talking, reading, and making up stories. The simple activities can go along way toward academic success later in life.

“We spend a lot of time and a lot of resources attempting to catch up, and to close both opportunity and achievement gaps that would not exist if we were to start early – at the time that baby is in utero, and at the time in which the foundation upon which all future learning and development is taking place and is actually being formed,” Johns said.

“There’s so much more work to do to ensure that everyone understand the importance of [early childhood] and then that they’re able to properly invest in it.”

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Bay Area

Comcast RISE Seeks Applicants from Small Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color for $10,000 Grant

Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched last summer. In June 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multi-year plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

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Judi Townsend, owner of Mannequin Madness and Tamika Miller, owner of Cuticles Nails Spa. Both businesses are located in Oakland and have received multiple awards from the Comcast RISE program.
Judi Townsend, owner of Mannequin Madness and Tamika Miller, owner of Cuticles Nails Spa. Both businesses are located in Oakland and have received multiple awards from the Comcast RISE program.

By Adriana Arvizo

Women, regardless of their race and ethnicity, and Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian American small business owners in Oakland will have the opportunity to apply for a $10,000 grant from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, which will issue grants totaling $1 million.

Eligible businesses can apply online at www.ComcastRISE.com from Oct. 3 through Oct.16, 2022, for one of the 100 $10,000 grants.

To be eligible for the grant, businesses must:

  • Have established business operations for three or more years
  • Have one to 25 employees
  • Be based within Oakland, California city limits

The Investment Fund is coming to Oakland for the second year in a row and is an extension of Comcast RISE (Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment), the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in 2020 to provide small businesses owned by people of color the opportunity to apply for marketing and technology services from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

If a business is not eligible for the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, applications are also open for marketing and technology services. In fact, 160 businesses in Oakland have already been selected as Comcast RISE recipients.

“The advertising campaign and technology services have allowed me to reach and service new audiences,” said Oakland resident Judi Townsend, owner of Mannequin Madness. She has benefited from the program three times, with the production and placement of a TV commercial, a technology makeover and a $10,000 grant. “The application process was easy, and I encourage my fellow eligible business owners to apply for the grant or the other benefits.”

“When we launched Comcast RISE, we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve,” said John Gauder, regional senior vice president of Comcast California. “We have now seen firsthand how the program’s marketing and technology resources benefit small business owners who continue to work hard and rise above 2020’s impact.

“Today, with Oakland receiving additional funding as a Comcast RISE Investment Fund grant city, we are excited to see how this infusion of funding will continue to propel businesses to thrive,” Gauder said. “We know the impacts will be fruitful and far reaching, especially with this year’s program expansion for women-owned businesses.”

To help drive outreach and awareness about Comcast RISE and provide additional support, training and mentorship, Comcast has also awarded $50,000 to six chambers of commerce in the Oakland area. The organizations are:

  • The Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • The Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
  • The Latino Chamber of Commerce
  • The Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce
  • The Unity Council

Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched last summer. In June 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multi-year plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

Grant recipients will also receive a complimentary 12-month membership to the coaching program from Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to help them build skills, gain more customers and become financially stable.

More information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or the marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com.

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Bay Area

Chris Jones, Candidate for Arkansas Governor, to Visit Oakland

A newcomer to politics, Jones, 44, said he had been turned off by the political divisions and chaos of the past few years. Dr. Chris Jones, former head of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, a nonprofit organization based in North Little Rock, has received wide acceptance by Arkansans with recent endorsement by prominent citizens of Arkansas.

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Dr. Chris Jones. Facebook photo.
Dr. Chris Jones. Facebook photo.

Dr. Chris Jones, former head of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, a nonprofit organization based in North Little Rock, is running for governor of the state as a Democrat in the 2022 race. A newcomer to politics, Jones, 44, said he had been turned off by the political divisions and chaos of the past few years. Jones has received wide acceptance by Arkansans with recent endorsement by prominent citizens of Arkansas.

“Our campaign is about lifting people up and building a fair Arkansas so there are opportunities for all of us,” he said, adding that “the reality of this moment in our nation’s history is that if we want our politics to be different, we have to be different.”

An ordained minister, Jones will appear at Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 1188 12th St., Oakland on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. The luncheon is from 11:00-2:00 p.m.

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PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream

NNPA NEWSWIRE — During the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, guests heard about the strides made by St. Jude on racial equity since its founding in 1962 as the South’s first fully integrated children’s hospital. As part of this commitment to racial equity, St. Jude launched a sickle cell program in 1968 to study this disease, which disproportionately affects African American people. That program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.
The post PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Astronaut, doctor and non-profit executive are honored for outstanding achievements in advancing lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For the first time in its history, the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event selected women for each of its highest accolades: the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award and the Legacy Award. The event, held Thursday, Sept. 29 celebrates the achievements of African Americans who embody the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its founder, Danny Thomas who believed that no child, regardless of race should die in the dawn of life.

Dr. Patricia Adams-Graves, professor in the hematology/oncology division at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and a provider at Regional One Health is one of few hematologists in Memphis to serve and care for adults living with Sickle Cell Disease, and Dr. Sian Proctor, an accomplished civilian astronaut, pilot, advocate for women of color in the space industry, entrepreneur, and professor of American geology, were both presented with the Spirit of the Dream award. Emily Greer, a 30-year executive leader, most recently as Chief Administrative Officer for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, received the St. Jude Legacy Award for her tireless service to St. Jude as a trusted advisor to CEO, Rick Shadyac. Though Greer retired in 2021, she remains committed to the mission of St. Jude.

Each honoree has made a significant impact far beyond their local communities. Together, their multiple accomplishments reflect the foundational pillars of St. Jude: research, treatment, and philanthropy.

“I didn’t come to ALSAC almost 30 years ago with the idea of sitting here today,” said Greer. “I came with the idea of serving these children and these families who get the worst news of all: that your child has cancer. And I just tried to do my small part in making a difference in their lives. It’s an honor to be recognized in this way to do work that was my privilege to do.”

The event also comes on the heels of the first anniversary of Inspiration4, the first all-civilian spaceflight to orbit the Earth, which landed safely back on Earth thanks to Dr. Proctor’s skillful navigation as the mission pilot. Inspiration4 captivated space fans the world over and raised nearly $250 million for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

“When I won the prosperity seat on the Inspiration4 mission, my entire life shifted,” said Dr. Proctor. “Becoming connected to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the mission of ending childhood cancer resonated with me to my core and allowed me to unleash the very best version of myself.”

During the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, guests heard about the strides made by St. Jude on racial equity since its founding in 1962 as the South’s first fully integrated children’s hospital. As part of this commitment to racial equity, St. Jude launched a sickle cell program in 1968 to study this disease, which disproportionately affects African American people. That program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.

As a physician in Memphis, Dr. Adams-Graves continues to extend quality care to sickle cell patients in the greater Midsouth region. “Receiving this award is an honor, pleasure and validation of the service that I have been walking in my life to improve the quality of life for individuals, both children and adults, living with sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Adams-Graves.

Past honorees include Dr. Rudolph Jackson, one of the first Black doctors at St. Jude, Penny Hardaway, University of Memphis Tigers head men’s basketball coach, and the city of Memphis.

To learn more and donate, visit stjude.org/spiritofthedream.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

The post PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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