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Friday, April 18, 2014

Mocha Moms, Inc. Teams With Award Winning Filmmakers To Boost Parent Involvement and Close the Education Achievement Gap

— National nonprofit and producers of “American Promise” documentary launch dialog to improve educational outcomes for African American children. —

American Promise Documentary

“American Promise” is a documentary that opens up a unique opportunity for parents to discuss ways to improve educational outcomes for black and brown children.

Upper Marlboro, MD — Mocha Moms, Inc., the groundbreaking national nonprofit organization that supports mothers of color, will host an exclusive webinar with Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster, producers of the award-winning documentary, American Promise, and its follow-up, solutions-filled book Promises Kept on April 22 at 9pm EST. The discussion will be a unique opportunity for parents across the country to discuss ways to improve educational outcomes for black and brown children.

Press/media can register for the webinar by clicking HERE. Once you register on the website, click on the confirmation link, then be sure to click the “Remind Me” button to actually RSVP for the webinar.

It’s no secret our schools are failing our black and brown children.  It is been proven that African-American and Latino high school students face harsher punishment than their white counterparts. However, new numbers show that even our preschoolers are falling victim to this sad fact. While black children make up only about 18-percent of preschool enrollment, almost half of all preschoolers who are suspended more than once are black.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights compiled data from every one of the country’s 97,000 public schools and found a pattern of inequality when it comes to discipline as well as academics. The New York Times reported the findings, which include:

* Black students are suspended and expelled three times more frequently than white students.

* A quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students don’t offer Algebra II and a third of them don’t offer Chemistry.

* Black students are more than four times as likely to attend a school where one out of five teachers fail to meet all of the state’s standards. Latino students are twice as likely.

Middle-class or upper-middle class African-American children are not immune from this problem. As filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson showed us in American Promise, even middle and upper-middle class families face the same serious issues.  Please click HERE to view scenes from American Promise.

Mocha Moms, Inc. launched Occupy Schools™ last fall, an initiative to encourage more parents of color to be active and engaged in their children’s education, as well as to address a wide range of educational inequities. Occupy Schools™ is an effort to change not just our children’s academic realities but also to change the perception of our children and our families. “All of Mocha Moms chapters throughout the country have been occupying schools,” said Kuae Kelch Mattox, national president of Mocha Moms, Inc. “Our members have been volunteering in classrooms, participating in PTA/PTA events and activities, reaching out to teachers and administrators, hosting book drives, reading to students, speaking at Board of Education meetings, reading with their children, assisting with homework and projects, and “leaning in” further with regard to their children’s education.”

“We want parents of color to become more visible in our children’s schools and to be more involved in our children’s homework and in the preparation for their tests,” said Cheli English-Figaro, co-founder of Mocha Moms, Inc. and Director of the Occupy Schools Initiative. “We are asking parents of color to turn off the TV and to ban the use of electronics that are not directly related to academics during the week so that the entire family’s attention can be given to educational pursuits during the school year.”

Last year, Mocha Moms, Inc. hosted screenings and discussions about the film American Promise throughout the country. Filmmakers Stephenson and Brewster participated in an engaging panel discussion at the 2013 Mocha Moms, Inc. National Conference. This year, the partnership continues with discussion of the filmmakers’ book, Promises Kept – Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life, an unprecedented guide to helping black children achieve success at every stage of their lives-at home, at school, and in the world.

About Mocha Moms, Inc.
Mocha Moms, Inc. was founded in 1997 by four mothers of color in Maryland who saw the need for a growing segment of stay at home mothers of color to connect and support each other. Today, the national, non-profit has 100 chapters and more than 2,000 members on the ground in 29 states, as well as a fast growing online reach of 35,000+. Its partners include the United Nations Foundation, America’s Promise Alliance, Be The Match (formerly the National Marrow Donor Program), the EPA, the U.S. Department of Education and The White House. The primary mission of Mocha Moms, Inc. is to support and encourage women of color who are making parenting a priority in this season in their lives. Its platform includes strengthening marriages and families, promoting self-care, strong educational foundations and volunteerism. All chapters are actively engaged in a wide range of community service, including mentoring students, hosting educational summits, financial forums and healthy moms symposiums, setting up reading nooks in barbershops and beauty shops throughout the country, promoting global vaccines and sharing information to reduce disparities and increase awareness of important health issues.

Mocha Moms, Inc. welcomes people of all genders, religions, races, educational backgrounds, and income levels. Anyone who supports the mission of Mocha Moms, Inc. is welcome to join. Mocha Moms, Inc. has been featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC’s Nightline, Good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, ESSENCE, Ebony and JET.

For more details, visit www.mochamoms.org

Danae Jones Aicher
Mocha Moms, Inc.