Black Professionals Cheer On City Students Starting School

By MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — It was just the start of another school year, but the greeting was anything but routine for students arriving at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

One by one, the students received high-fives as they filed past rows of black professional men on their way to the school entrance, introduced individually like members of a playoff team taking the court.

“Isaiah is going into the 1st grade!” one man shouted, leading the crowd in cheers of encouragement.

“Lily, 2nd grade! Let’s show her some love.”

Dozens of businessmen, policemen and others answered a call to show up to the dilapidated Hartford school in their work clothes or uniforms on Tuesday.

Organizer and local pastor, A.J. Johnson, said the welcome ceremonies began last year as a way to counter stereotypes of black men, and do something positive at a time of heightened tensions over police shootings of black men. But he said the ceremonies, which are planned this week at other schools in the city’s poor, largely black neighborhoods, also aim to give a lift to students in traditional public schools that have seen many leave for charter and magnet schools.

“What we wanted to do was support the kids who did not …read more

Source:: Black America Web

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