Op/Ed By Gloria Winston –
Over 1,300 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors attended Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden and team’s college fair.
Mayor Lovely Warren was also in attendance, and supportive of the event.
The event’s main sponsor, the United Negro College Fund UNCF/HBCU, provided vital information to college-bound students who were interested in attending Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs).
The organization also offered close to $2 million in scholarships at the event, and considered well over 300 students for college enrollment, via on-site registrations, during the event.
In addition, the event also included valuable workshops, to help students with the college-application process.
And, the Saturday before the fair, the organization also held a “College Readiness Parents’ Workshop,” at Monroe Community College.
All of the events were free.
There were no fights, no one was killed, no guns were present, and no one went to jail.
However, sadly, the mainstream media chose to ignore a positive event like this, which would have shed a powerful light on a people that too often finds its way into the negative news media’s spotlight.
It seems that probation violations, court dates, and the violence inflicted on a two-year old were instead the priority when some editors were giving out their assignments to local reporters.
Personally, the mainstream media’s absence came as no surprise to me.
Their absence was a reminder of how institutional racism has continued to drive what the public is allowed to see and hear.
Just the event’s sheer attendance numbers were newsworthy, after all the hard work organizers contributed to planning the event.
However, the local news media missed an opportunity for photo ops with local students, which would have shown the public that we, as a community, have much for which we should be proud.
The absence of a local media presence also reminded me why we NEED our own media, in order to tell OUR own stories.
We are the only ones who may care enough to get it right.
We have so many so-called journalists in our community, I often ask myself where they are when we need them.
I recognize that many of them work on the plantations that control much of what we see, but I still have to question whether any of them have the slightest allegiance to their own communities, or if most of them have to wait on “Massa” to tell them what to feel, or when to write.
One thing I appreciate most about Howard Eagle, and myself, is that we are not scared to write the truth.
And, even though I don’t always agree with Davy V, I do respect his courage, and his attempts to enlighten the community.
Additionally, to her credit, Erica Bryant has also managed to confront some important issues from the plantation on which she works.
But, where are the rest of them?
Black media, in particular, should have been all over this event.
Our community now boasts of magazines, newspapers, radio talk shows, etc.
In my opinion, we have an obligation to get our messages into the public eye.
Waiting for mainstream media moguls to act like they care about our children is getting more than old.
I don’t want to sound redundant, but WE, as a community, have an obligation to tell our own stories.
So, I no longer get upset when white folks in Rochester ignore the positive events in our community. But, I will continue to take the time to help my community open their eyes to the reality of it.
Their presence has always been used, historically, to focus on the sensationalism which has surfaced around the negative light they’ve considered to be “news.”
And, negro journalists who consider themselves to be organized, while they sit around patting themselves on the backs eating chicken wings and pizza, has continued to disgust me to no end.
Nothing as important as this college fair has seemed to make it onto their front pages or blogs.
In fact, many of them who are in positions to be truth-tellers, have instead sought to distance themselves from their communities.
Not all, but far too many, have been standing on the shoulders of others who are responsible for their existence in the areas in which they are represented.
As a result, the question that begs to be asked is – why do some of them call themselves journalists, while many in the community have never even heard their names, or seen their faces?
I am certain the late Frederick Douglass, Howard Coles, Dr. Freddie Thomas, James “Mamba” McCuller, and others are turning upside down in their graves when they look back, spiritually, at where we have come from, compared to where we are now.
There’s no need to continue to blame white folks, when we have the ability and talent within the confines of our own community to write and publish our own news.
I pray that, one day, we’ll get smart enough to turn the tables on the white media, and lock them out of the efforts which are taking place in our community.
They have shown us time and time again that they don’t care.
So, continue to do the work, Adam, because that is what warriors do.
Great job!!! Thirteen hundred students in attendance lets us know there is a need for what you and your team have accomplished.
Don’t let the lack of media coverage discourage you, and your team.
In closing, I have posted a link to some truth by Gil Scott Heron.
Please take the time to listen, and enlighten yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aARyxcwPwyE.