I am going to delay talking about the propensity of young black children to film criminal behavior for one week. Why? Because I still need to focus on education. If there is one single solution to the majority of social ills that have taken ahold in the black community, it is the lack of a quality education including the inability to read that is the main culprit.
I am still an advocate of mandatory education for our jailed individuals. Be it those incarcerated because they have been convicted of a crime to those awaiting trial, jail and prison must include reforms so that individuals who will return to society do so with better knowledge than when they went in. From classical music, to mandated reading and education, incarceration new theme must be “three hots, a cot, while reading all the books I got.”
This past Saturday, May 10 I had the opportunity to hear from someone who did go to jail because of her desire for an education for her children. The Blackstar Project headed by Philip Jackson along with the Metropolitan Apostolic Church headed by Rev. Leon Finney, Jr. hosted Kelly Williams-Bolar. Her side of the story is that she is a young mother whose children weren’t getting a good education in their inner city school system. When she told her father about their dilemma, he offered what many a black person has done for ages. He told her to register his granddaughters in the school district where he lived. So she did it unaware that the school district would one day make her the poster child against such a decision.
The school district ended up indicting Kelly Williams-Bolar and her dad for the crime. For Kelly it was a trumped-up charge of “theft of service in the amount of $30,000.” But as her father had lived in the school district for over twenty years, they had to find some trumped-up charges against him. So they dug deep and came up with something else. Both went to jail, with the grandfather dying in jail, shackled to a bed as he took his final breath for the sin of giving his grandchildren the opportunity for a “good education” and thus a chance at a “good life.”
Trust me, I am one who will look up and search for the flip side of the story. Especially one that had me boohooing tears like a fountain. According to Bob Dyer of the Akron Beacon Journal, Ms. Williams-Bolar didn’t mention a better education, but rather it was a safety issue.
“Rather than enrolling them in an after-school program, she decided to falsify every document she came in contact with, lying about her residency, her income, her child support, her military service, her insurance coverage, her eligibility for home-heating assistance and subsidized lunches and her progress toward a college degree,” he said.
Wow….I didn’t hear any of that during the time she spoke and had me in tears. As to her father dying in jail because of her quest to educate his grandchildren, the story isn’t as given.
Again according to Dyer; “The man was serving a one-year prison term for ripping off more than $100,000 in Social Security and state welfare benefits over a six-year period.” In addition Dyer adds: “Williams filed so many bogus discrimination lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Cleveland that he was banned from filing any more. In legal terms, he was a ‘vexatious litigator.'”
If there is one thing we need from those that stand before us is the truth. And initially I was upset with the lack of people who came out to hear Ms. Williams-Bolar’s story. But the one-sided portrayal to lie to the black folks as if we are stupid is the reason why we need an education to sort out truth from fiction.
Years ago, the United Negro College Fund established the motto, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” Until black folks as a whole get ourselves together, that motto is being eroded to “To Waste a Mind Ain’t a Terrible Thing.”