The Huffington Post has taken up the cause of 10 year old Damon Weaver, reporter for the Kathryn E. Cunningham Canal Point Elementary school TV station, to get a one-on-one interview with President Obama. As his story continues to grow, he did get credentials to cover the Inauguration. Dwayne Wade also has offered to play President Obama one-on-one basketball if he grants Damon an interview. He has lobbied his case on CNN, MSNBC, and on a number of You Tube videos.
A look at statistics from the Black Star Project, a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization that operates with a belief in the strength of parental and community involvement in education to eliminate the racial academic achievement gap, confirms that as many ponder, the Obama presidency does not signify the end of racism, but a chance to bring discussions about race and community activism to the forefront.
Along those lines, I would love to hear Damon Weaver pose his question to President Obama, as reported on NPR last month. “My first question I would ask him is: ‘In my town Pahokee, I have seen a lot of shootings and fights, what are you going to do about violence and to keep me safe?”
It’s a lot to put on a 10 year old, but he seems like the ‘man on the street’ version of the dream, ‘if you put your mind to it you can do anything.’ President Obama said on the Whistle Stop Train tour “we will fight for you because Joe and I are committed to leading a government that is accountable not just to the wealthy or to the well-connected but to you…to the children who hear the whistle of the train and dream of a better life…” Damon is one of those kids, a hopeful link between the new era in US and World Politics ushered in by the Obama Presidency, and the day to day reality of public school life, low graduation rates, trying to get ahead, and creating a world of possibility.
And now, you’re “to do” list:
1. Damon asks you to please go to change.gov and send a note to ask President Obama to grant his interview request.
2. For everyone, see first hand how media coverage biases public perception. Compare this amazing and positive report from the Palm Beach Post, to this one from Fox. Is that the same adorable, never-give-up child? (Now question bias in every news report you see or read.)
3. For professionals in the Chicago area, volunteer with the Black Star Project (for full disclosure, I’m a volunteer student motivator with them). They schedule speakers at 15-20 schools every month, and the minimum commitment is only 2 hours, once a year! You can’t say no to that.
4. For parents, watch the videos and keep track of Damon’s progress with your kids.