Time for an intervention for the Ten Point Coalition - Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper: Opinion

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Just Tellin' it Time for an intervention for the Ten Point Coalition

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Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:38 am

Indy’s Ten Point Coalition is a far cry from the group started here nearly 20 years ago. And it’s totally unlike its namesake, the original Ten Point Coalition of Boston.

Let my words be clear. I have nothing against Indy’s Ten Point Coalition. They’ve done yeoman’s work in the streets trying to reduce violence. But they have allowed themselves to be seen not as they were formed and created. Instead they’ve become the surrogate leadership of our African-American community in the eyes of Mayor Greg Ballard.

Ten Point was brought to Indy in 1997 by then Mayor Steve Goldsmith. Founder Rev. Eugene Rivers had created a faith-based group in Boston to deal with that city’s rising Black youth and young adult violence. At Goldsmith’s invitation, Rivers came to Indy, met with many in our community, and Indy’s Ten Point was born.

Boston’s Ten Point Coalition is still going strong, working to deal with issues of violence with Black and Latino Boston area youth. With a budget of nearly $1 million, seven times the budget of Indy’s Ten Point.

Boston’s Ten Point Coalition aren’t the leaders, nor do they speak for all of Boston’s Black and brown communities. Instead they’re focused on, in their words, “Help(ing) reduce youth violence, both physically and verbally within the Black community by initiating conversations, introspection and reflection on the thoughts and actions that hold us back as a people; individually and collectively.”

While, in my view, Indy’s Ten Point group is still committed to its original goals, they’ve unwisely allowed themselves to be used by the mayor to justify his jihad against Indy’s Black leadership.

In their own words in last week’s Recorder, Ten Point claims “they are a good representation of the Black community because they are composed of various large Black churches in the city.”

I don’t want to get into a counting game with Ten Point, but they know they can’t back that statement about “good representation” up with facts.

Bottom line, Ten Point has allowed themselves to be used by the mayor and his minions as their “go to” Blacks.

Ballard doesn’t need to talk with Black legislators, Black City-County Council members, leaders of mainline religious alliances, or the NAACP, because Ten Point enables him to operate under the fiction of only talking with Black leaders who like/support him.

There comes a time in the Black struggle when even “Toby” told master “No.”

Mayor Ballard’s aversion to meeting with broad based Black leadership was cute his first year; disconcerting by his third year and now in his fifth year in office it’s not only dangerous, it raises questions about how he really feels about our African-American community.

In addiction treatment, there’s a point where you must say “no” to the addict’s dependency.

Unlike every other mayor in the UniGov era, Mayor Greg Ballard is addicted to NOT communicating with the broad based leadership and institutions of America’s 13th largest African-American community.

But Indy’s Ten Point enables Ballard’s behavior.

Well, it’s time for an intervention. It’s time Ten Point tells the mayor “NO,” we won’t let you divide and conquer our community anymore. We’ll meet with you along with other broad based leadership; not just us alone.

Does Indy’s Ten Point Coalition have the will to do what’s right for our community and people and stop the addiction?

What I’m hearing

in the streets

“They were disappointed, but they aren’t discouraged. They are eager and working hard to pass the retest.”

That describes the positive attitude of the third graders at Flanner House Charter School after learning they scored the worst in the state on those IRead tests.

Our WTLC-AM (1310) “Afternoons with Amos” program visited the school last Friday in the wake of those same third graders excelling in the ISTEP English/Language Arts tests with 88.9 percent passing.

Local media, especially the Indianapolis Star, blasted Flanner House’s IRead performance. So did Beth Bray, head of the mayor’s charter school office, who told the Star they would “take a hard look” at Flanner House’s performance.

But after the city heard I was broadcasting from the school, they changed their tone. In a written statement (after refusing to appear on our broadcast) Deputy Mayor Kloth and the city said they “would not make any long-term decisions about the future of Flanner House Elementary based on the IRead results alone.”

In my visit and interview with Principal Latika Warthaw, 3rd grade teacher Takea White and Title 1 teacher Angie Hood, I was struck by the number of standardized tests those third graders (and presumably all others in Indiana) took during March such as ISTEP, another diagnostic test measuring student progress, plus IRead.

White told me IRead was the first multiple choice, timed, standardized test her students had ever taken; a factor which could’ve contributed to low scores.

White said her students thought they’d done well on IRead. And Hood said many students missed passing by “just a few points.”

Principal Warthaw said, “Parents came to us and said ‘what can we do to help? How can we help?’ My teachers in other classes and staff, even our board rallied saying what can we do to help.” This “pulled the school together,” said Warthaw.

Flanner House has been a steady performing charter school. Last year 88 percent of third graders passed ISTEP English/Language Arts. So this year’s 88.9 percent is comparable. The school got a “C” state grade last year and received “exemplary” ratings from the state for three years.

I was glad I visited Flanner House and that, at least through Black media, their story got told. I was surprised that Star reporters and editors haven’t visited the school. More shocking, neither Charter School Director Bray nor Deputy Mayor Kloth has visited.

Given what Flanner House has been through, and with the mayor’s “commitment” to charter schools, I’d thought Bray and Kloth would’ve been there long before I was.

Makes you wonder how serious the city is about the education of our children?

See ‘ya next week.

Email comments to acbrown@aol.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • josaphine posted at 9:17 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    josaphine Posts: 2

    Something smells funny here. Why do we need black "leaders" to filter the message down to the community? Can blacks not think for themselves? Are they so sensitive that they cannot hear the truth about themselves? There is always grievance money involved. ALWAYS.

    There will never be an end to the racial entitlement hustle, until we start firmly saying 'NO!'. Since 1965, the federal government has poured hundreds of billions of redistributed dollars into improving the schools in low-income minority areas—over $15 billion last year. And frankly, the results have not matched the investment. Can I get my money back please?

    And the Head Start boondoggle? What an enourmous waste.

    We have a "racial gap in learning", a "racial gap in earning", a "racial gap in marriage", and the list goes on, with blacks at the bottom every time. The stats for blacks are just horrible. What's up people? Look harder at your black culture instead of blaming the bogeyman. Maybe we need less pride and more shame. Maybe we need to toughen up an start being an asset instead of a liability. I don't want to live in a police state because black people can not control themselves. We need to black preachers to do their jobs and create a virtuous people instead of hustling federal shakedown dollars.

    What is the black collective producing these days that anyone wants to buy? Is the rest of the world fighting to get what you've got? Get off the grievance gravy train and start making your own way. Stop blaming the world for your failures and look at yourselves and your character.

  • John Gault posted at 6:38 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    John Gault Posts: 3

    The underlying truth of this column is that Amos Brown is sad that he's no longer relevant. His perspective sounds wounded and weak. Amos Brown needs to man -up and write an article that deals truthfully with some really issues. Here is a list:
    1. EDUCATION: The buck stops with the single mothers raising these kids. The teachers and teacher's unions are only part of the problem.
    2. MARRIAGE: The rate of illegitimacy is out of control which guarantees poor education, a life of poverty and low career attainment.
    3. WELFARE: It enslave the recipients and break the tax payers. NO ONE OWES YOU A THING.
    4. FLASH MOBS: http://violentflashmobs.com/
    5. UN Agenda 21: This program has far reaching implications for the black community. This program is being actively pursued locally and will only hurt blacks prospects in the future.

    This is a good place to start because what you have covered to this point is close to worthless.

  • alanarchindy posted at 10:42 pm on Mon, Jun 18, 2012.

    alanarchindy Posts: 1

    If Ten Point is in so tight with the mayor, why did they get shut out of the crime prevention funding that they have previously been granted? Just a casual observer but I don't buy the premise. I would believe that black constituency groups are marginalized, however.

  • AmichaelINDY posted at 2:24 pm on Sun, Jun 10, 2012.

    AmichaelINDY Posts: 31

    Wow! It appears that a schism is taking place or is about to take place in the Black community. For a community that has historically voted for Democrats and loathed Republicans I find that quite interesting. I'm waiting to see if a representative of the politically incorrect Ten Point Coalition has a response to your editorial. I even wonder if the Ten Point Coalition will view this editorial in the same manner as Clarence Thomas felt during his Supreme Court nomination when his opening remarks referred to a high tech lynching.

    Today we have a disagreement. To speak so unkindly about a Black organization solely because they are viewed as too supportive of a Republican is disappointing. It makes me wonder if any other Black organization or individual who supported a Republican position would get equal treatment by the Black media.