Friday, January 27, 2006

Who Says DC Doesn't Have Talent

By LaKeisha McKinley

In the USA there are artists who come from all over the country. But it seems that not that many artist come from Washington DC. For out side eyes looking in it would seem that DC is low on talent. It is actually quite the opposite there are artist such as Chris Stylez, the group BOK, the Squad, and the Faculty. Not to mention the go go bands that we have to represent our culture such as the Drama Squad, Uncalled 4, TCB, MOB, and Rare Essence. So for all of the talent scouts DC is the place to be!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On Ideals, Politics and then. . . Contradictions

de·moc·ra·cy : n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies

1) Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

2) A political or social unit that has such a government.
The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.

3)Majority rule.

4)The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

The United States was founded on noble ideals and beliefs, those ideals of course coming from the Declaration of Independence (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, among other ideals).

Ironically, the country did not equally share the rights associated with those ideals among its citizens. People of color were seen as inadequate to house those ideals, which were found prevalent among white people. So we can see that the new country promised so many good things for its citizens but failed.

These rights were deprived from blacks. Obviously it is evidence enough that THEY WERE ENSLAVED. Blacks could not live LIFE and have LIBERTY and be in PURSUIT OF
HAPPINESS. These actions are hypocritical.

Black children were sold into slavery before they reached puberty. These actions again show the contradictions and hypocrisy of a nation that was founded on the ideals of freedom and equality.

The point I'm trying to make is simple. I want people to notice how a certain people who advocated for wonderful rights and were passionate about philosophic ideals were so bold in not sharing those same ideals with other humans.

This is deeper than just people enslaving other people, it's about the ethics and values of a people who were unwilling to promote peace and equality with people other than themselves. The question that remains is do the values and morals of slave masters still exist and if they do to what extent have they evolved?

Don't get me wrong, I don’t want you think that I'm just pointing fingers, but I mean to point out that white America has not been living up to its ideals.

I tend to like democracy but I’m afraid that the descendants of the people who brought democracy to this hemisphere aren't acting accordingly to the ideals of their ancestors. That idea scares me!

We don’t need to look too far into history to see all the contradictions. Segregation, Jim Crow, American Imperialism are all hypocrisies to the American ideals. More recently, the need for the Civil Rights Movement to give people of color the fundamentals of democracy will always be a bloody stain in American democracy. Let's not forget that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was only passed by Congress four decades ago. Voting is the backbone for any democracy.

We can see that there's a behavior likeness with American politicians. American Imperialism of the early 20th century giving birth to the Spanish-American War escalated by Theodore Roosevelt and his practice of using an African saying "Speak softly, and carry a big stick" which later would be known by historians as "big-stick diplomacy."

When my history teacher told me that “history certainly doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme” I now realize what he meant.

Comments made by Democratic leader Harry Reid calling the Republican-led Congress "the most corrupt in history" don’t make me feel any better about America living up to those ideals.

The importance of such a statement can’t be undermined, because it’s coming from within the symbol of democracy that Pierre L’ Enfant architecturally created and intended to be the Capitol building. This building is the symbol of American democracy. To have a Senator say such a statement really rallies the question, is America still, or has it even ever been, a democracy?

By Jose Andrade, 19
Special thanks to my history teacher Mr. Hunt for helping me edit this post

Monday, January 23, 2006



BY: The most known unknown aka- Aqiyla, age 16

Friday, January 20, 2006


Cedric the Entertainer and the lady on the left?...

Nick Ashford and Scar?...

Bluto and Suge Knight?...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

For Those Curious

By Jose Andrade, age 19

Come and see if you can figure this mystery out... this is wicked.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Don't Let 2006 Pass You By!!

By: LaKeisha McKinley, age 18

The Youth Action Research Group Is doing big things for the year of 2006. We’re starting the year off by having a new member outreach drive! The purpose of this is to reach out to youth in our community to expand our membership. Members will receive internship and community service hours (that we know you need!). Then we’ll have weekly workshops and trainings that will be the steps that prepare them to carry out the work of a community organizer.

Later on at the end of the school year we’ll be having an end of the year party and a group outing to Six Flags!!!! (see our picture above from last year. . .)

After we’re done celebrating, a select amount of members will have the chance to be on Yarg’s payroll while receiving internship hours doing an action research project over the summer!

So as you see we’ll have an extremely busy year ahead of us. So do yourself a favor and make sure you’re part of it!

So stop reading and contact us to join, at (202) 462 – 5767 (office) (202)462 – 5768 (fax).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

YARG's Holiday Updates

By: Denisse Rodriguez, age 18

What's up to everyone out there supporting YARG! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Well let me update ya'll on what we've been doing.

For the holidays, the Justice 4 DC Youth Coalition sponsored a holiday party for the young people in the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services. The Justice 4 Dc Youth Coalition is an organization that is partnered with other youth organizations, such as ours, within the city to focus on the juvenile justice system.

We had a real good time. We had some performances from the youth in the facility and from the coalition as well. It felt good to do something to at least try to cheer them up for the holidays and to show that we really care. We wanted to let them know that there are organizations that are fighting for the struggle of improving the juvenile justice system and are supporting them.

Here's an article that sums up the whole event:

*Coalition Sponsors Holiday Event for Detained Youth*
*Encourages Community Members to Support Youth, Reform Efforts*

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Justice 4 DC Youth! Coalition (JDCY) sponsored a holiday party for detained youth in the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services’ (DYRS) Mt. Olivet facility, located at 1000 Mt. Olivet Road. Twenty members and supporters of the Justice 4 DC Youth Coalition joined twenty young men in the detention center for an evening of desserts, performances, and craft-making.

The Justice 4 DC Youth! Coalition Youth organized the party with DYRS Volunteer Coordinator, Nkenge Watkins, to support detained youth who will not be with their families this holiday season. The Coalition, which is organizing for a swift closure of the Oak Hill Youth Detention Center, works to reduce the city’s reliance on incarceration, and shift resources and funding to education instead. More than community service, members shared that they consider their visit part of their long-term commitment to bringing about juvenile justice reform.

“The party was our way of showing detained youth that we care about their future,” said Jabari Majeed, the Coalition’s youth organizing coordinator.

Martin Jenkins, 16, a youth organizer for the Coalition added, “As an organizer, it is our responsibility to involve as many youth in our work as possible, including young people that are locked up.”

At the beginning of the party, JDCY Steering Committee member Johonna McCants introduced coalition members and allies and talked about the coalition’s work in the District. Next, Jabari Majiid stepped up emcee the segment of mostly teen performers from the Coalition. Blackout Arts Collective member Christon “Christylez” Bacon, 19, rapped about issues ranging from poverty to his love for kool-aid, while fellow artist Dana McCants, 17, sang acapella versions of Silent Night and Joy to the World.Martin Jenkins, 16, and Tawanda Davis, 17, from Facilitating Leadership in Youth, also performed a hip hop dance routine.

In addition to JDCY member performances, one of the youth at the facility performed two original rap songs, receiving a thunderous applause from party participants.

DYRS Director Vincent Schiraldi briefly addressed the crowd and thanked JDCY for co-hosting the event. Nkenge Watkins, DYRS Volunteer Coordinator, also thanked JDCY and the youth who participated.

Detained youth attending the party seemed to enjoy the festivities. “I liked the performances, especially the rap performances,” noted one of the youth. Another youth remarked that he had a good time at the party and couldn’t decide what he liked best.

Youth members of the Coalition who work at the Youth Action Research Group (YARG), said that they are excited about continuing the relationships they forged at the party. Aqiyla Edwards, 16, said, “We gave them the number to YARG so that when they are released from the facility they can become part of the movement for social justice and help other males who are in the situation that they are in."

To learn more about how to join the Justice 4 DC Youth! Coalition(JDCY), contact the JDCY office at 202-588-9300.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with detained and incarcerated youth, contact Nkenge Watkins, DYRS Volunteer Coordinator at 202-576-8155.