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May 28th, 2014

Why, How Could, And How Did This Happen?

Lillie Howard

Taking into consideration the seriousness of this past Newburgh Enlarged School District’s School Board election how was it possible that not one of the three African-American candidates won? George Bowles received a total of 808 votes, Sheila Murphy 763 votes and Runston Lewis 652 votes. WOW! How could this happen with all of the information that was circulated re: the status of things in this school system as it pertains to our children? In the city of Newburgh Runston received 346 votes, George received 317 votes and Sheila received 304 votes. Why and how was this possible? I believe that one of the major reasons this happened was due to the way that this Ward System has changed things. People that live in Kenney and Mullins Apts. had to go all the way over to NFA to vote. Wow! If they do not own a car they were in need of transportation to get to the polls. How many of those living in these housing complexes were not able to get to the polls because of the distance? How many of the churches donated their vans so that transportation could have been provided to those citizens? Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

I find it to be quite interesting that this election was held only a few days after the Brown v. Board of Education 60th Commemorative Anniversary. Wow! The Brown decision had an enormous effect on education throughout the country, not only in places where segregated schools were established by law but also on school systems in which there was de facto segregation. The federal government, in the years that followed, required many school systems to readjust school boundaries so that individual schools would have a mixed population. I find it to be quite interesting to note that this law doesn’t seriously address the problems that we have for we have mixed populations in our schools but over 70% of these students are mainly African-American and Latino and 80% of the teachers are Caucasian. Something is seriously wrong with this picture. Evidently the majority of voters, especially in the city of Newburgh, just didn’t care. Why? That’s the question that needs to be seriously addressed.

When are we going to wake up and get seriously organized? What is it going to take to wake our community up? I realize that many feel that once elected most politicians don’t make serious changes in our community. The reasons for that is there are no strong organizations in this city that will hold their elected official’s feet to the fire. It’s time for a real strong organization to evolve that will seriously begin to address these massive problems that we’re being faced with. I’m sick and tired of Window Dressing organizations. Wake up! It’s time to make a change and it must be done, for if not we might as well get ready to be moved out of this city in one way or another. Newburgh has big plans and it seriously doesn’t include many of us.

Personally, I feel that the BROWN 60 group has some ideas that may be seriously able to begin to address the problems that our children are being continuously faced with. Their vision is to create sustainable initiatives that will catalyze a community action agenda for reform and ensure the education and success of our children. Their Goals are 1) Establish community standards, 2) Work collaboratively through shared priorities to organize a series of programs 3) Create dialogue to raise awareness and provide information on the implications of Brown vs. Board of Education and about the issues and and concerns in today’s society. Their big ideas: Where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we going? How do we build consensus and establish community standards? What are the next steps? To all of this I say to my community BROWN 60 just may be the beginning of a new way! They are dealing with the educational aspects. Hopefully, others will organize to deal with the other numerous problems that we are being continuously faced with. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Here’s something for our children: The Best Part Foundation will be sponsoring" Children’s Day 2014" on Saturday, May 31 at the Liberty Street Park (253 Liberty Street from 11am- 4pm. Games, culture, music, food. Here’s something for adults: Focus On Newburgh - A Lunch Forum, allowing your voice to be heard! Meet other stakeholders and learn about their services! Friday, May 30th, 12:30-2:30PM at Newburgh Armory Unity Center, 321 South William St. Newburgh. For more information, RSVP Chuck Darden@845-421-6243 or Penny@(845)421-6222

This is Lillie’s Point of View!

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