Saturday, November 7, 2015

Last Day of Conference

I want to thank the American Baptist Home Mission Societies for honoring our LABC Social Justice Committee with a Palmer Grant and providing a conference that has lived up to its name, Space for Grace.

Reverend Allison Tanner and I were afforded the opportunity to share the work, progress and hope we have for our Aspire and Achieve Program, both at our display at Innovators Hall, and in many individual and group conversations throughout the week. We were also impressed and humbled by all the wonderful, important work being done by all the other Palmer Grant recipients. There were programs all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Puerto Rico.  The conversations were frank and honest. We were all energized by the drive and dedication of the many program leaders, sharing our joys and frustrations, love and hope. And the underlying theme among was indeed Space for Grace; allowing, understanding and embracing the transformative space in each step along the way.

There were many workshop options every day. I would walk around and find one with a title that interested me and I would walk in, but there was one I entered because the title surprised me: Grace is Growth Downward. Downward? Grace is a gift from God – on High. Downward?

The workshop began with a quote from Arthur Pink, which starts out, “Grace is the forming of a lower estimate of ourselves…” Oh. I really hadn’t thought about when grace happens, only that it does. I can see though that grace can happen when we Let Go and Let God. In fact, I think that letting go and letting God is grace. Grace gives us the ability to remember that our job is not to rescue; our job is to love. This allows God to do his/her work through our love.

While we were at the conference, our math tutor, Max Shapiro, made his first visit to Oakland Tech. There were some problems to overcome to make this happen, and we had little to do with this success. We provided the opportunity and phone numbers, and the 100 Black Men Organization and Max worked it out so that he could be there. Letting Go and Letting God.

Thank you, ABHMS, and thank you, Lord, for your love, leadership… and grace

Friday, November 6, 2015

Aspire and Achieve Tutors at Oakland Tech

Tom Demerath began tutoring English last week and this Thursday, 11-5-2015, Max Shapiro began tutoring with both Aspire and Achieve Students and students of 100 Black Men. We look to begin a working relationship with 100 Black Men. They have a wonderful mentoring program and it is a solid organization. By pooling our resources we become a stronger voice for African American Males at Oakland Tech and continued progress in Social Justice.

We also plan to work with the Black Student Union and helping with scholarships for some of the students who are looking for funds to attend the Southern Black College Tour during spring break of 2016.

Space for Grace : Recognizing the transformative space in each step of Aspire and Achieve

A post from Reverend Allison Tanner:

The "Space for Grace" conference is serving as a great reminder that all change takes time, and grace, to develop. Aspire and Achieve is making slow but steady progress in our goal to lower the achievement gap - one school at a time. I've been reminded today that our work is necessary, yet to accomplish our vision, we need to give ourselves grace to learn and grow along the way to working for change. It has also been very encouraging to see all the other slow but steady efforts to create a more just society - giving me encouragement to keep on keeping on. While our progress may be slow, we are not alone in our work. We have so many more partners than we ever knew - who are working beside us and alongside us to slowly and steadily create a different reality for so many.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

preparing for 1st day (thought I already posted this)

Thanks to Ralph Hoffschildt for this wonderful display

Cameron Wilson helped improved our handout. We are grateful for her time and talent

Reverend Allison Tanner making copies of handout

1st day of conference





This is Karen. She was a Minister in Training when I was at First Baptist Berkeley




Had a fun time at Innovators Hall. Met people from all over the country and Puerto Rico.

Then went to International Ballroom to hear Reverend Susan Sparks. Lots of music, introductions by members of American Baptist Home Mission Societies and singing. Reverend Sparks was a great start of the conference and a great end for the day. (there was still music and performance back at Innovators Hall, but I was too tired)



Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Magnificent Seven



Saturday morning, October 24,  7 out of the 18 students signed up for the Cal State Hayward Tour showed up and what a treat they had in store!

We were greeted by Arnab Mukherjea, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Health Science
Emphasis in Public and Community Health

as well as 12 of his students who were going to take the students on a tour for extra credit and to gather health information from the students.  Two of our students were escorted by two students and the other six students each had two students to themselves to show them around Cal State. Our students were told they could go visit anywhere and ask any questions they wanted. So they all ventured around the campus. 

So a funny thing happened to me at this moment. I realized that all the time I have spent in the classroom on Thursdays had taken social justice from an abstract to my being personally invested in these kids. I realized this because I have never been a parent and watching those students leave gave me my first experience of parental separation anxiety. I wanted to go with them and see what they chose to see and listen to the questions they asked! But… you’ve go to let them go. 

I had a very friendly and stimulating conversation with Professor Mukherjea and a volunteer name Jorge. Later all the students returned from their tour to the classroom. Professor Mukherjea gave an incisive talk on Health that really centered on Public and Community Health and Social Justice in terms of Community Health. We should have him speak at our church.