Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Man Walks In Support of African-Centered Schools











A Modern Day African Hero Walks from Florida to Washington, D.C. to Promote African Centered Education

Amefika Geuka and his faithful supporters walked over 1,011 miles through a total of 43 counties in the United States to get to Washington, D.C. They passed through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia on their way to the nation's Capital.

by Taki S. Raton

Florida's only African Centered public school announced on June 26 that its co-founder and current Board Chairman, Amefika D. Geuka, would walk from the school in West Palm Beach, Florida to Washington, D.C. to dramatize the urgent need for African Centered Education for children of African descent.

Geuka and his colleagues dubbed this venture a "Trek for African Centered Education", which began on Wednesday, July 15 and continued through Thursday, August 13.

Additional to advancing both credibility and status for the African Centered paradigm, the walk was expected to raise money to close the funding gap for Geuka's Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School, which completed ten years of continuous operation on January 20th of this year.

The African Centered curriculum is both a teaching and student developmental model, which places the African world experience, from the origin of humankind to the present, at the center of the instructional agenda.

This curriculum is also a "corrective" model whose thrust is to challenge and refactualize the distortions of Africa, Africans and African descendents that have historically and traditionally occurred in Eurocentric historical, literary and cultural corridors.

Under the leadership of founder and director Roger Madison, the planning and coordination for the Walkathon was contracted to the iZania, LLC organization based in Columbus, Ohio.

Participants over this 1,011 mile route walked through a total of 43 counties as they passed through the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and finally to the nation's Capital.

The 69-year-old Geuka requested that supporters make a pledge for each mile that he completed. He and fellow walkers averaged daily 33 to 35 miles per day requiring 10-to-15 hours per day.

Volunteer walkers participated in one of four categories. "Associate" Walkers were those who volunteered to walk in specified locations and distances in the counties through which the Walkathon was routed. "Surrogate" Walkers that officially walked "in lieu of" Geuka if a rest is needed or the pace slows to ensure that the required number of miles per day were covered within the allotted time.

"Convergence" Walkers left from various cities and were timed to meet in D.C. on the same day as the main body of walkers accompanying Geuka.

As explained by Madison, "There may be African Centered educators and supporters in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Newark, or Pittsburgh who may want to organize corresponding walks from their respective cities. This could even extend to cities like Detroit, Columbus, Atlanta, and Cincinnati."

"Unity" Walkers hosted a walk and secured sponsor pledges in their local communities in support of the African Centered Education Trek.

"Along this 1,011 mile route, there were surrogate walkers--celebrities, sorority and fraternity members, high school and college students, Black professionals and dedicated parents and community members who wanted to assist in this valiant effort," said Cincinnati based "Blackonomics" author and college professor Jim Clingman.

He added that this walk reminds us of our duty as a national Black community that "we must take a greater role in the responsibility for our children and for their education.

We must teach them their heritage and help them understand that they are important, important enough for us to walk over 1,000 miles on their behalf.
We must also instruct and encourage them in entrepreneurship in order to relieve them of the burden of dependency."

Ron Pounds, founder and head of ASCAC Milwaukee said that "the ASCAC study group was proud to stand in support of elder Geuka's trek to Washington." It is critical that African American communities around the country stand up for that which is in the best interest of the education and development of our children. We highly applaud the effort, commitment and vision of Amefika and those dedicated walkers who joined him."

ASCAC is the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization with a national study group membership.

According to event planners, the purpose of the Walkathon was three-fold:1) To
challenge consciously responsible Black adults to demonstrate willingness to revive their sense of responsibility to restore our children's inalienable right to a childhood; 2) To raise the level of awareness among the caring public on the credibility of and the critical need for African Centered education as being the most effective means of restoring an adequate, realistic self-image to Black children who have too long been under mental and emotional siege, and 3) To raise an unprecedented amount of money, via sponsorships and pledges, to elevate Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba Charter School to the long-sought after status of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and fiscal autonomy.

"We intended to prove by example that the African American community can and will take responsibility for becoming the primary source of funding for the effective education and development of our own children, just as our Jewish and Catholic counterparts have done," said Geuka in a recent press release.

"The African Centered approach in providing a strong cultural foundation for children of African descent is being adopted across the country by school districts, public schools, private and charter schools. Supporters of African Centered education draw parallels between this culturally specific approach and the generally accepted contention by Jews and Catholics that their respective students learn best when their formal education is rooted in the study and appreciation of their own heritage, history, and culture," he added.

The plan was arrive in Washington on Wednesday, August 12. Thursday, August 13 was designated by organizers as "African Centered Education Elevation Day where a victory celebration was scheduled in Malcolm X Park on 16th and Columbia Road.

"African Centered Education Elevation Day was the genesis of what may become a bigger annual event," said Madison. "We celebrated the completion of our last step in a journey of a thousand miles. We asked DC African Centered schools to host the celebration."

Activities on the 13th at Malcolm X Park began at 8 a.m. and Geuka led the walk at 10 a.m. north to the White House. The group will stopped for the Walkathon to read a letter addressed to President Obama.

From the White House, this African Centered school delegation walked east on Pennsylvania Avenue, then north to the Department of Education on Maryland Avenue.

There, a letter was read addressed to Education Secretary Arne Duncan noting that African Centered education during these challenging times in our community is the most logical approach to effectively educate children of African descent.

The walk then returned to Malcolm X Park for a rally and program. "Our local African Centered school children and their administrators welcomed Brother Amefika Geuka and gave thanks to our ancestors for his safe arrival," said Claudette Perry, a D.C. resident and a member of the Washington rally planning committee.

She adds that the D.C. African Centered schools will actually be the host of this celebration on the 13th, which will also include honoring the selected "Godfather" of African Centered Education, Dr. Edward Robinson as our National Elder.

Robinson, 91, was responsible for getting the City of Philadelphia to include African American History in its kindergarten through high school curriculum.

You may send contribution for this heroic effort to:
Joseph Little-Nguzo Saba School
5829 Corporate Way
West Palm Beach, Florida 33407-2017

Comments of unity and support at the rally were shared by invited Walkathon Honorary Co-Chairs. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of African Studies at California State University in Long Beach, and "Black Children--Their Roots, Culture, and Learning Styles" author Dr. Janice E. Hale had favorably responded to the co-chair listing.

The Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba School was chartered on December 8, 1998 and began operation on January 20, 1999 in a temporary space courtesy of the Urban League of Palm Beach County. The school celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 20, 2009, the same day of Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States.

According to Geuka, the African Centered instructional and developmental curriculum targets African American students who are severely at risk of failure in traditional public learning classrooms.

"Our walk was not to ask or beg either the President of the United States or his Secretary of Education to give money to our school or to African Centered educational initiatives in general.

"A goal here was to petition those two public servants to acknowledge that children of African descent have as much if not a greater need as do Jewish and Catholic children to have their formal education rooted in their own heritage, history, and culture," said Geuka.

"To those of you who are spending your time espousing and musing about what 'somebody' ought to do for Black people, take a lesson from Amefika Geuka, who has used his time on this earth to enhance the lives of Black youth as well as encourage and support the 'seasoned' among us," asserted Clingman.

He added that this Walkathon to elevate African Centered education "had the potential to revive the spirit of the Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Black Liberation movements of the 1960s; that of the Million Man March in October, 1996, and the youthful zeal and enthusiasm of the 'Jena Six' initiative of more recent times."

Hundreds participated as walkers along the route and joined the group at the U.S. Department of Education and White House pronouncements, and at the Malcolm X Park victory celebration.

"To those of you who are spending your time espousing and musing about what 'somebody' ought to do for Black people, take a lesson from Amefika Geuka, who has used his time on this earth to enhance the lives of Black youth as well as encourage and support the 'seasoned' among us," asserted Clingman.

Detroit educator and African centered school advocate John Henderson who joined the event in Washington says that Geuka is a "grand anchor of African American manhood for our community and for our people. He is definitely a 'Jegna' model."

According to psychologist Dr. Wade Nobles, Jegna, from the Amharic language of Nubia, refers to "those who are unselfishly committed, out of an unqualified duty to their people and nation, to teach our children the art and science of a cultural, historical and of a politically conscious adulthood."

Says Nobles (Baruti), Jegna refers to "those special people who have been tested in struggle or battle; demonstrated extraordinary and unusual fearlessness; shown determination and courage in protecting his/her people, land and culture; produced an exceptional high quality of work, and finally, dedicated themselves to the protection, defense, nurturance and development of our young by advancing our people, place and culture."

Madison said that these are difficult times for our children and for our central city communities and that it is our responsibility as Black adults to fix it and make it right.

He added that African Centered schools "are critical components in this solution and that this Walkathon for African Centered Education dramatized and celebrated the wonderful work locally, regionally and nationally these schools are doing in the rescue and reclamation of our esteemed history and towards the restoration of a prideful, productive, and meaningful future for our children."
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For those willing to lend contributions to this fantastic Walkathon event, please visit www.izania.com the Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba Charter School website at www.jlnscs.org or call (614) 855-4428 or (786) 253-9496.

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