Sunday, March 17, 2013

Last Night in Hudson and Beyond

John Mason covered "The State of the Community" forum at Shiloh Baptist Church last night, organized by the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center, and reports on it in today's Register-Star: "County's disparity, lack of inclusion seen in Justice Center forum." 

One of the speakers at the forum--the only speaker, it would seem from the report, who was not African-American--was former Hudson politician Dan Grandinetti. His participation in the forum seems to be another hint that he may be interested in making a political comeback in Hudson. Grandinetti criticized county government for its lack of African-American employees, concluding "I'm not sure Columbia County heard about the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s." He also criticized the Hudson City School District, making the statement that "White privilege is a problem in the school district."

By an interesting coincidence, at the same time the forum was happening in Hudson last night, there was a fundraiser going on at the Red Barn in Ghent. The party, which was given by Chris Jones and Susan Simon, both mentors in the Hudson Reads program at Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School, brought together mentors and supporters of the program which exists to improve students' reading and academic skills and to build their confidence and self-esteem. The $25 donation from each person present at the well-attended event will go directly to a financially disadvantaged child in the Hudson City School District to enable the child to purchase books at the upcoming Hudson Children's Book Festival.

1 comment:

  1. It's unfortunate that the Hudson Reads and the State of the Community events were at the same time, but I was extremely pleased that the latter, most of which I attended, had such a positive spirit, summed up best by local business woman Larissa Parks, who spoke about business opportunities in Hudson and urged the audience, about 30% African-American, not to complain about the lack of jobs -- "create your own economy." Taking charge was a theme echoed by many of the speakers. Pam Badilla, for instance, said that the "prison pipeline" began before school, at home, and urged parents to "have courage" in disciplining their kids, but to "take charge." Both she and fellow parent Selha Graham-Cora urged the school district not to "dumb down" the curriculum for poor children or let them get away with not doing homework. It was also refreshing to see a new generation of young black leaders like Cedrick Fulton and Kamal Johnson, both of whom came armed with facts, not anger, and an upbeat attitude about moving forward in partnership with the community and the school. (Superintendent Maria Suttmeier was in the audience.) Ms. Graham-Cora praised the district for taking positive steps forward and singled out acting high school principal Antonio Abitabile for his appreciation of individual children's differences. If the capacity crowd of citizens in attendance at Shiloh Baptist (and the simultaneous party of the Hudson Reads mentors) means anything, it is that we may be turning a corner on the road to creating a community that is not afraid to work together to better the educational opportunities for our children.