Closing The Achievement Gap

We are raising money to help close the achievement gap.

Stop Mass Incarceration & Endless War t-shirt

“Stop Mass Incarceration & Endless War” T-shirts will be:
  • Grown in the USA with organic cotton
  • Made in North Carolina
  • Transparent supply chain
  • Water-based inks
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
When it comes to technology skills, the U.S. comes in last place — right below Poland. In addition, there was a significant racial difference with non-whites scoring below whites.

The Genius Farm

Psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference. Terrance Jackson, the publisher of Pistis, adopted some of these simple interventions in a class called “Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson” that was offered to local 5th-8th graders at Larchmont Library. The game that they created is below. We are raising money to expand this program.
Roll-a-Ball

Roll-a-Ball

Click here to play.

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Stop Mass Incarceration & Endless War

The Genius Farm

The Genius Farm is using t-shirts to raise money to fund a computer programming class this summer in New Rochelle, NY.
Our class uses simple interventions discovered by psychologists to close the achievement gap.

Stop Mass Incarceration & Endless War t-shirt

“Stop Mass Incarceration & Endless War” T-shirts will be:
  • Grown in the USA with certified organic cotton
  • Made in the Carolinas
  • Transparent supply chain
  • Water-based inks
  • Environmentally-friendly print process
  • Medium weight: 5.4 oz
To donate and receive t-shirt visit: GoFundMe/GeniusFarm
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
When it comes to technology skills, the U.S. comes in last place  — right below Poland. In addition, there was a significant racial difference with non-whites scoring below whites.
Psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference. Terrance Jackson, the publisher of Pistis, adopted some of these simple interventions in a class called “Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson” that was offered to local 5th-8th graders at Larchmont Library. We are raising money to expand this program.

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Tell Me Something Good… A Documentary About Inequity

Tell Me Something Good

I got something that’ll
Sho nuff set your stuff on fire

Nate Parker Birth of a Nation

After enduring two straight years of #OscarSoWhite, there is a good chance that the infamous hashtag will get at least a year rest with the success of Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation at Sundance. Parker began writing the screenplay in 2009 and during this process, we learn from The Hollywood Reporter that he was told all the reasons a movie about Nat Turner would not work:
Movies with black leads don’t play internationally; a period film with big fight scenes would be too expensive; it was too violent; it wouldn’t work without a big box-office star leading it; Turner was too controversial — after all, he was responsible for the deaths of dozens of well-off white landowners.
Yet in 2013, after finishing Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, he told his agents that he would not act again until he could play American revolutionary Nat Turner. He invested $100,000 of his own money to begin the production process. He was then able to find investors such as retired NBA player Michael Finley and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs.

Academy Award nominations by race historically

There has been a great deal of recent talk about diversity initiatives in Hollywood, but from a blog post by Alex Ben Block, we learn from Ron Hasson, President of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP that diversity efforts have actually regressed at many studios and networks:
Often when you talk to diversity people in companies their roles have lessened. It may be very well companies no longer feel they have to pay as much attention as they did in the 1990s.
The way we think we can move forward and help is to recommend diversity training for executives. We feel it’s important they understand the business necessity for diversity.
If the networks will not meet, or do not show they are serious about addressing diversity, Hasson said the NAACP and others will once again seek Congressional hearings to focus on the issue.
Ron Hasson

Ron Hasson, President of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP

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Reversing Diabetes, Unemployment & Climate Change

Karen Washington speaking

Karen Washington is the co-founder of Rise & Root Farm in Orange County, NY, and a board member of the New York Botanical Gardens. She has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access to fresh, locally grown food.
Building Communities Through Urban Agriculture
Wednesday, June 1st at 6:30 pm
500 Main Church Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Karen Washington and Michelle Obama

Karen Washington, left, receives a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service along with Gregory Long, director of the New York Botanical Garden, from First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House

As a member of the La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Karen is a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners all over the city. Karen is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to preserve community gardens. She also co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award.
We will tour the Hydroponics system at New York Covenant Church after the lecture.
NYCC Hydroponics System

Hydroponics system at New York Covenant Church

[T]he issues that confront most Americans directly are income, food (thereby, agriculture), health and climate change. (And, of course, war, but let’s leave that aside for now.)

Mark Bittman

These are all related: You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything. (It’s one of the keys to war, too, because large-scale agriculture is dependent on control of global land, oil, minerals and water.)

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The Secret to Creativity and Success

It is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively. And a genuinely creative accomplishment is almost never the result of a sudden insight, a lightbulb flashing on in the dark, but comes after years of hard work…. If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable…. To keep enjoying something, you need to increase it’s complexity. ~ Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

will smith alchemists

And as we learn in a video featuring Will Smith, Anthony Robbins, and Sir Ken Robinson, just decide who you are going to be and how you are going to do it. There is a redemptive quality to making a choice. You are not a victim of your past. A lack of resources is never the defining factor of success or failure. You were born extremely creative, the trick is to remain creative as you grow up. So make a decision and choose to do something, but be prepare to be wrong. As Sir Ken Robinson tell us “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
Sir Isaac Newton is considered one of the greatest scientists of all time, but he was foremost an alchemist. He wrote over a million words on alchemy and his laws of light and theory of gravity came from his alchemical work. After purchasing and studying Newton’s alchemical works in 1942, economist John Maynard Keyes opined that “Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians.”
Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton surrounded by symbols of some of his greatest findings.

There are two primary ways of knowing reality:
1. The rational, deductive, argumentative, intellectual thinking that is accepted by the science and our patriarchal Western culture. The alchemists called this Solar Consciousness and assigned it many code words, such as the Sun, Sulfur, the King, the Father, Spirit, and ultimately, the One Mind of the universe. This involves so-called left-brain activity like linear thought, schematics, formulae, arguments and logic.
2. The intuitive way of thinking, also called intelligence of the heart, a non-linear, image-driven way of thinking that is an accepted tool of the arts and religion. The alchemists called the other way of knowing Lunar Consciousness. Among its many symbols are the Moon, Mercury, the Queen, the Holy Ghost, Soul, and ultimately, the One Thing of the universe. This involves so-called right-brain activity dealing with drawings, paintings, mandalas, symbols, music, and meditation.
The alchemists believed that perfection could only be achieved by working with both Solar and Lunar ways of knowing and ultimately uniting them in a third state of Stellar Consciousness.  Stellar Consciousness is a state of incorruptible wisdom symbolized by the heroic Child that resulted from the marriage of the King and Queen, as well as by Salt, Gold, the Philosopher’s Stone, the Astral Body, and of course, the Stars themselves.
Lapis Philosphicus by Isaac Newton

“Lapis Philosphicus” from a manuscript 416 by Sir Isaac Newton.

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Entrepreneurship as a Cure for Violence

Karen Washington speaking

Karen Washington is the co-founder of Rise & Root Farm in Orange County, NY, and a board member of the New York Botanical Gardens. She has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access to fresh, locally grown food.
Wednesday, June 1st at 6:30 pm
500 Main Church Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Karen Washington and Michelle Obama

Karen Washington, left, receives a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service along with Gregory Long, director of the New York Botanical Garden, from First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House

As a member of the La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Karen is a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners all over the city. Karen is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to preserve community gardens. She also co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award.
We will tour the Hydroponics system at New York Covenant Church after the lecture.

Mark Bittman

[T]he issues that confront most Americans directly are income, food (thereby, agriculture), health and climate change. (And, of course, war, but let’s leave that aside for now.)
These are all related: You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything. (It’s one of the keys to war, too, because large-scale agriculture is dependent on control of global land, oil, minerals and water.)
First Lady Michelle Obama agrees about the importance of growing food:

If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas, like Chicago, have been labeled felons for life. These men are part of a growing undercaste — not class, caste – a group of people who are permanently relegated, by law, to an inferior second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits — much as their grandparents and great-grandparents once were during the Jim Crow era.
~ Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

There is also a study that tracks murders in Newark, NY as an ‘infectious disease:’
Homicides in Newark have spread through the city over the past 30 years like an infectious disease and can be tracked and treated like a public health issue with prevention, inoculation and treatment, according to a study by Michigan State University.
The study, among the first to track murder through the lens of medical research, is part of a widening trend among local leaders and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to treat violent crime like a medical condition.

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Urban Agriculture Internet-Enabled Revolution

African Americans are twice as likely to die from diabetes

Urban Agriculture Revolution

Building A Network For The Urban Agriculture Revolution
Tuesday, March 8th at 6:30 pm
The Salvation Army
22 Church Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801
According to an IEEE Spectrum article, urban agriculture is on the verge of an Internet-enabled revolution. This revolution will emerge from a series of recent technological breakthroughs that include the development of high-efficiency blue LED lighting, whose inventors received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.
MIT researchers say that as technology enables new farming opportunities in indoor, warehouse-based settings, food production can be retooled to accommodate high-density urban living and maintain food security despite a future of increasing climate instabilities and vulnerabilities. The visionaries behind this new farming tech are working toward a networked agricultural system that looks to the open-source software movement for inspiration.

The Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAG) is on a mission to create more farmers for the future of food production. They are developing the open source hardware and software platforms for sensor-controlled hydroponic and aeroponic agriculture systems.

Food Computers serve as tools for users to experiment, innovate, hack, and grow. Every time users grow and harvest, they will contribute to a library of climate recipes that can be borrowed and scaled so that users around the world can gain access to the best and freshest foods.

Food computers
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