QUARTZ HILL – Hundreds of families, parents, and educators flocked to Joe Walker Middle School Saturday for the 5th Annual Parent Symposium, hosted by the High Desert Alliance of Black School Educators.
This year’s event was arguably the best turn out the program has seen since its conception, despite the cold, wet weather. Organizers might credit the high attendance to a historical presentation by the New Buffalo Soldiers and the event’s featured speaker.
Editor in Chief Emeritus of Essence Magazine, Susan L. Taylor blew audiences away with a dynamic talk about parental responsibility with their children’s education and the importance of mentorship.
She particularly hit hard on faith leaders, explaining that religious communities have dropped the ball on the youth and neighborhoods of color.
“I want to say to our faith leaders, my heart aches… for what the faith communities are not doing in communities around the country,” she said. “There’s no recovering Latino and African American communities without our faith community. We have to push our faith leaders to [help] the children who are dying outside of the church.”
She continued, “I was speaking with a minister and he explained to me that churches have become businesses … And that people are self centered and go to church to get prayed up and entertained, quite frankly.”
Further, she charged the auditorium of parents to mind their behavior toward and in front of their children. According to the veteran writer and seasoned parent and grandparent, the words a mother or father chooses to speak to her or his child reflects internal pain as well as projects that same pain, sadness, and hatred onto the children.
She encouraged parents to speak lovingly and be genuinely interested in their children’s affairs.
The symposium was a full day of education and motivation. Workshop topics included strengthening the Black family, African American males, and unconscious bias.
HDABSE president, Gwen Cole was amazed by the event’s turnout and success.
“When we started, my heart was leaping,” she said. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘Okay God, we need a blessing today.’ I didn’t think anyone was going to come out because of the rain. But when I looked in the auditorium, I would not have expected that there would be people standing on the wall.”
HDABSE is an affiliate chapter of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. The group was established in 2007 after the Antelope Valley declared a war on gangs. Since its conception, the group has dedicated time to introducing ways to improve education for minority students and fortify underrepresented families within the community.