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Melania Trump’s Be Best program is a farce for marginalized youth

This week. First Lady, Melania Trump is celebrating the one year anniversary of her Be Best campaign, an initiative designed to focus on overall wellbeing for young people, help end the opioid epidemic, and stop social media bullying. It’s so easy to talk about the fact that the third aspect of it, ending social media bullying, is a policy with no teeth because she has no ability to check her husband who was called people online everythingfrom “sleepy” and “low IQ” to “horseface” and a “dog” all within the year that this campaign was launched. Beyond the faux-social media bullying platform, however, there are other serious flaws with the other aspects of Melania Trump’s initiative; youth well-being and the opioid crisis.

The Trump administration put forth a good sum of money towards ending the opioid epidemic, but only a small portion of the fundshave actually been released, therefore the work needed on the ground to fully challenge the epidemic is not at full capacity. In the area of improving overall youth well-being, let’s look at what’s happening with our kids. Be Best is working with Department of Education on parts of its initiatives. Right now under Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, there are cutbacks to many different programs designed to help children.

The Department of Education is making it harder for students with disabilities to get access to services in schools. They’re making it harder for students who are labeled severe emotionally disturbed and have other mental challenges to get assistance. They are rolling back civil rights work that was designed to ensure that our children can be treated fairly in school. Add to this lack of support teachers receive and one can see how every day, the Trump administration has worked with to make sure that our children cannot “be best” in school.

Outside of school, it is still challenging for youth who come from marginalized communities to “be best.” For example, President Trump consistently touts the job numbers, even though job growth was larger under President Obama. Few seem to report the fact that, in Chicago for example, the black male youth unemployment rateis at 45%. Without access to jobs, many of these youth are heading to street activity, which would of course lead to increases in crime, that President Trump and his supporters love to mention when discussing the plight of America’s inner cities. Should not African American youth be considered part of the Be Best well-being program?

The fact of the matter is that marginalized youth have been targeted under the Trump administration. Children are being separated at borders, families are being evicted from homes at record rates, and poorer people live under the daily possibility that they may lose what little health insurance they may have received from the Affordable Care Act. Our children are suffering for across the country. They’re suffering in the streets and in our schools, and it is shameful that the media and so many other outlets out there simply watch this go by and look at it as some type of joke.

When I first saw Be Best rolled out, which was the playoff for someone to work, Michelle Obama was doing, I thought the media was going to do its job and called out the hypocrisy that it represents. Unfortunately, the media wants to be engaged in this farce of we call the presidency. When I say “farce”, I am calling it a farce for the marginalized I’m calling it a farce. For the people who feel like they’re working hard every day and they’re getting played as from healthcare to tax policy. Just look at what’s happening to Gold Star families and the GOP tax plan is hurting them.
My hope is that those who are out there, particularly those of us who are educators, will to continue to do our work every single day to uplift our children and, help them really be the best they can be because we have an administration that has turned their backs on them at every single juncture. It is really unfortunate because education is supposed to be the great equalizer, but this an administration that scoffs at the idea of public education and everyone being able to live their best lives. We should not be celebrating Be Best. We need to be doing the real work on the ground to really help our children be the best that they can be because the Trump administration is putting them in situations and conditions where they can only be their worst, and I know that we can and do better as a nation. Let’s get out there and do the work because our government has failed us miserably.

The New Struggle (lyrics)

I didn’t live at the time of martin & Malcolm
Read about their struggles kept wonderin how come
How could one deny another’s human rights?
How could you lynch a brother right at first sight?
I’m like damn, is this what we call human-ity?
Surprised more didn’t die from insanity
But now in 2017 I see history rhymin’
Everywhere I look I see my civil rights dyin
Tryin to keep a positive outlook
But then I turn on the news see Sandy hook
Go and talk to a school and they got no books
Tried to see my man Malik but his visa’s took
Hate crimes on the rise, I close my eyes
In my minds the only place they care for black lives
Cause alllivesdontmatter when our blood gets splattered
Whether we got phds or homeless clothes tattered
They buck is in the head spillin out our views
Then they broadcast it on the nightly news
Remindin you and me they don’t care about us
Declining youth jobs, jails disappearin us
Mr. President I heard you wanna drain the swamp
But it’s the little fish every day getting’ stomped
You and your boy bannon got eyes like they cannons
Shootin down our dreams but you’re not understandin
I used to believe in the public schools
Despite its flaws knew it could be something new
But under Betsy let’s see I think what’ll be
Is the death of the system for you and me
They wanna privatize schools privatize our lives
Prolly privatize air we breathe before our eyes
While they keep lyin’ with #alternativefacts
Trump sotckin up his staff with alternative blacks
Oil pipelines they wanna shove down our throats
While his cabinet gets richer man we better stay woke
Cause why we sleepin they creepin into all we do
Kickin’ out immigrants even legal ones too
But if it’s gonna change its up to me and you
To get up and resist whether muslim or jew
Republican, democrat, black or white,
Hetero to homosexuals let’s do what’s right
We must never give up we must always fight
In the courts on the streets and hell yes on the mic
Time’s always right to do right so said mlk
So we gonna keep marchin cross the USA
Gonna keep fightin for that equal pay
Gonna uplift our own hombre it’s a new day
Don’t think for a second that we gonna give up
Cause on shoulders of the ancestors where stand up