Tag Archives: women

FLY takes off at McClymonds: boys to men

by Janaya Andrews

A boy calls a girl a b**ch after arguing about rumors going around school.  He grabs his backpack and knocks over a desk in frustration.  Before the teacher can stop him and calm him down, the boy is down the hall fuming in anger, swearing at the walls.

The newest guys-only club at McClymonds — First Love Yourself or FLY — addresses such issues of disrespect toward women, confidence and responsibility in a more social atmosphere than the Manhood class for 9th graders, says Lovell Ruffin Jr. , case manager at Alternatives in Action.

The brainchild of Jareem Gunter, community programs manager, the program was launched to help male students talk about these issues, bond and develop self-respect. So far, about a dozen male students, mostly freshmen, are attending.

 “I need a person I can look up to,” said Hosea Wade, a 9th grader.

The reasons for joining FLY range from a desire to bond with other guys outside of sports teams to a need for a safe place to ask questions and get information.

“Some of the guys don’t know how to tie a tie,” said Gunther. “Others need to  respect girls or women.” The current trend — to disrespect women — began 10 years ago and is reflected in rap music and culture, he said.

Some of the freshmen realize that it’s time to confront sexism. “I want to be in the men group to be more mature than I am now,” said freshman Desmond Crump.  “I want to be more polite towards girls, my parents and any other adults I talk to,” said freshman Quentin Garrett.

So far, the focus has been social. But the three adult leaders have written a pledge they hope to teach club members: to honor themselves, to hurt no one, to build community.

Power, Energy and Tea

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By Khristan Antoine

The work is not finished.

Or so we learned at the first annual Delilah Beasley Tea, which honored the first female African-American columnist who wrote for The Oakland Tribune from 1915-1934. She unearthed histories of African-American gold miners, lobbied for anti-lynching law and spoke out for literacy and voting rights. She fought against the use of the word “darkie” and the N word in newspapers.

We need that kind of energy today.

It was clear that Belva Davis  — also honored at the event — followed in Beasley’s footsteps in her political reporting. Congresswoman Barbara Lee called Davis “a true living legend.”  Davis charted the course for women in the whole country, said Lee,  paving the way for women in journalism.

Have the times changed? Not really. Davis remembers when she had to use a typewriter and do research from journalism clips, articles cut out from the newspaper. But even now with Google and YouTube,  she says, “nothing is recorded in history without human interference.”

Interference means action. The CEO of Girls Inc, Linda Bossehecker, was part of the celebration and announced the opening of a chapter building in downtown Oakland at 510 16th street, one block away from the BART station. “We are expanding to provide nutrition, school counseling and fitness with greater accessibility.”

Girls Inc will do outreach to West Oakland girls in neighborhood schools.  Bossehecker said, “If Girls Inc can’t go to girls, they can come to us.”

At least one Oakland student agreed. Oakland Tech student Munirah Harris, 14, found the message “empowering.” “All these powerful women in one place give me hope.”