Saturday, March 25, 2017

VETTE’S VEGAS VOICE: When our leaders reach across the partisan divide, Nevada’s children are the true victors

August 5, 2015 by Las Vegas Black Image Magazine  
Filed under Community


Yvette Williams

BY YVETTE WILLIAMS

It is an honor to join the Las Vegas Black Image family, and I look forward to sharing a monthly perspective on the social justice and civil rights issues impacting our community. My hero, the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, once said, “I am, was, and always will be a catalyst for change.” In that spirit, I hope to share my point of view and contribute to a meaningful dialogue.

As Nevada gears up for another election cycle, the air is already filled with prepackaged talking points. Many politicians launched their careers on a message of equity in education for all students, only to come up short every two years in Carson City.

However, 2015 has proven to be unique. Defying both expectations and conventional wisdom, a Republican-controlled legislature has turned all of America’s eyes toward Nevada by delivering unprecedented education reform.

Here’s a prime example: In an unusual show of bipartisan cooperation, lawmakers advanced AB234, authored by Assemblyman Harvey J. Munford — a Democrat who is also the sole African-American on the Education Committee. The bill requires that the state curriculum include the contributions of men and women of color, and calls for teachers to receive cultural competency training.

A local Girl Trek group, joined by members of Sigma Gamma Rho, recently held a vigil for Sandra Bland — a woman who died in Texas police custody following a traffic stop. Pictured left to right: Berna Rhodes-Ford; Annaya Tarver; Latasha Webb; and Zarinah Washington.

It’s important to note that implementation of this policy is well underway in the Clark County School District (CCSD), where it was adopted nearly two years ago. Over the past five years, the Clark County Black Caucus (CCBC) has collaborated with CCSD to identify the needs of Black students and establish an education initiative that could win community would support.

In early 2013, using data provided by CCSD, the Black Caucus launched Operation32371.org and began building partnerships by informing media, local organizations, parents and students, community leaders, government agencies, policy and lawmakers on the critical need of students in poverty.

This level of cooperation and collaboration is, and should always be, a work in progress. The question remains: What will be our history? Unless we continue moving beyond the shackles of political partisanship, and do so in the spirit of equality and justice for all Nevadans, we will fail our greatest asset: the children.

Yvette Williams is founder of the Clark County Black Caucus. Learn more at www.YvetteBWilliams.com, and follow her on Twitter @YvetteBWilliams. Email: ClarkCountyBlackCaucus@gmail.com.

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