The National Council of Negro Women, Inc.’s (NCNW) mission: “to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent, as they support their families and communities,” Sacramento Valley Section’s (SVS) goal of the Children of Promise Conference (COP): to provide parents and caregivers of underserved children with the life style skills and resources to raise children of promise thus reducing the number of African Americans in California prisons.
In cultures where women are the primary care givers of children, they are the nurturers and perpetuators of the cultures. African American women have profound influence on the choices and decisions their children make. During the child rearing process, are African American women influencing their boys in such a manner that they make decisions that result in a disproportionate number (per population) of African American males being incarcerate? The COP Committee understands and recognizes that racism and many other external factors influence the African American males’ choices that parents do not control. Nevertheless, the COP Committee’s focus is on the primary caregiver’s role in influencing the decisions that boys make which result in statistics that say that in California the African American population is 7%, but 29% of the prison population includes African American males. Why?
In the 70’s with the increased in the number of teenage pregnancies, ill-prepared teenage girls started became the heads of their household and an increase number of babies born drug addicted. Prior to then, the majority of the teenage girls stayed with their families where they and the new born were nurtured and she finished high school and/or college.As a result of the increase in teen heads of households we have parents with deferred dreams raising “Children of Promise.”
African Americans students have the:
- highest suspension rates;
- highest expulsion rates;
- highest absentee rates;
- highest drop out rates; but
- lowest academic scores.
One of the reasons is because the parents and/or caregivers of African American Children of Promise are not engaged in the education of their children. They don’t know how to help them fulfill their dreams and achieve their goals.The COP Conference has focused on:
- the division of labor within the family;
- obesity, many of its side effects and its affect on students’ self esteem;
- domestic violence and how children internalize the abuse of a parent;
- parents and caregivers’ role in their children’s schools;
- parents and caregivers taking time to heal themselves;
- how class affects parents perception of who they are and communication skills to change that perception;
- and youth sharing their truths with parents/adults/caregivers.