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Com 392 | Speech Writing

Assignment #2: Tribute Speech

Write a 2-3 page tribute to a person, either living or dead.

Description of the Tribute Speech: The tribute speech, like all ceremonial speeches, is predictable, short, and planned ahead of time. The speechwriter, therefore, should make an effort to make the moment special and fresh. Two or three main points are enough for the tribute speech. The language can be more elevated than normal, but not stiff or unnatural. A good tribute speech takes into account the needs of the audience.

A Tribute to Sandra (Sondra) Elizabeth Strange

February 28, 2016

My mother made me and my siblings’ poverty stricken lives worth living. Although she is not perfect, she did all that she could do as a disabled mother. Life with my mother was difficult for many reasons; she suffered from obesity, cancer, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. As I stated…

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ANOTHER ONE: Plastic In The Shape Of A Noose Found In DMV Area

It seems that people are becoming more and more creative with how they show their hate. “ ‘Preliminary investigation reveals that this type of material is used to contain loose items during transport.’ ” I find it hard to believe that’s what it was used for. So this is just a coincidence? On the same campus where Richard Collins III was killed  by Sean Christopher Urbanski, who belonged to a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation” that promotes hate against African Americans and others. It is also the same place where a noose was found in May and several racist posters. That’s one big coincidence.

Below is a list of all the sightings of nooses in the DMV.

Hate Crime Alert: Campus Cops Investigate Plastic Wrap On Sidewalk Shaped Vaguely Like Noose

The Daily Caller

6/28/17          

Angry students at the University of Maryland, College Park were in an uproar on Tuesday because someone claimed to discover a piece of plastic wrap vaguely coiled into the shape of a noose. Two unidentified people found the tangled, frayed strip of plastic lying partially on a sidewalk near fraternity row, reports The Diamondback, the University of Maryland student newspaper. The people who found the plastic wrap took it for a noose and hastily reported it to campus police “out of concern for possible hate-bias,” according to statement released by school administrators. “Preliminary investigation reveals that this type of material is used to contain loose items during transport,” the report also said, according to Campus Reform.

Previously Found

THE WASHINGTON POST: A noose was found Saturday on the Mall, at least the third in that area in recent weeks.

NBC WASHINGTON: Montgomery County Police said the synthetic rope noose was found in a tree in a common area near the Heron’s Cove Condominium parking lot about 8 a.m.

CNN: A person dressed in black from head to toe walked around the American University campus and tied bananas to three trees.

CNN: For the second time in a week, a noose was found on Smithsonian grounds — this time, at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

CNN: A noose has been found at a construction site in the District of Columbia, police said — at least the fifth time this symbol of racial violence has turned up in the Washington area recently.

WTOP: The hate symbol was found displayed by a front door in the 2100 block of 36th Place SE on Thursday, according to a D.C. police report.

USA TODAY: A section of rope was found near the MLK Memorial in Washington on Friday, two days after a noose was discovered inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture, U.S. Park Police said.

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Authorities at the University of Maryland are investigating a noose discovered in a fraternity house.

NOOSE FOUND IN DMV AREA

Over the past few weeks, several nooses have been found in the DMV area, with more than two found in the District of Columbia. So does the hate for Blacks still exist? Yes it does. The door to racism never closed, and under the Trump Presidency the crack opens wider and wider. Below are the reported nooses found in our area:

Noose Found East Of National Gallery Of Art

The Washington Post

6/17/17

A noose was found Saturday on the Mall, at least the third in that area in recent weeks. The noose was hanging from a lamppost near the National Gallery of Art, said Sgt. Anna Rose, spokeswoman for the U.S. Park Police. She said it was found about 3 p.m. near Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The site is near the gallery’s East Building. One noose was found in a tree May 26 near the Hirshhorn Museum, and another was found May 31 inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Park Police are investigating, Rose said.

Previously Found

NBC WASHINGTON: Montgomery County Police said the synthetic rope noose was found in a tree in a common area near the the Heron’s Cove Condominium parking lot about 8 a.m. Officers responded shortly before 9:10 a.m. to community, which is located in the 18900 block of Mills Choice Road of Montgomery Village.

CNN: A person dressed in black from head to toe walked around the American University campus and tied bananas to three trees. They were hung from strings fashioned in the shape of nooses. The bananas were scrawled with the letters “AKA Free.”

CNN: For the second time in a week, a noose was found on Smithsonian grounds — this time, at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The noose was found Wednesday in the history galleries of the Washington museum, which was opened last year by President Barack Obama.

CNN: A noose has been found at a construction site in the District of Columbia, police said — at least the fifth time this symbol of racial violence has turned up in the Washington area recently. Officers went to a house under construction in southeast Washington on Thursday morning and “discovered a rope, tied in a noose, displayed by the front door,” a police report said.

WTOP: The hate symbol was found displayed by a front door in the 2100 block of 36th Place SE on Thursday, according to a D.C. police report. The report lists the victims as “Society/Public.” The location of the noose is just up the street from Beers Elementary School and around the corner from Christian Praise Church.

USA TODAY: A section of rope was found near the MLK Memorial in Washington on Friday, two days after a noose was discovered inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture, U.S. Park Police said. The piece of rope was found on a bench at the memorial on near the National Mall. A visitor turned it in at the memorial’s bookstore.

US NEWS AND WORD REPORT: Authorities at the University of Maryland are investigating a noose discovered in a fraternity house. Local news reports say the noose was found inside the house of the school’s Phi Kappa Tau chapter on April 27. Police at the university say they are investigating the matter as a hate/bias incident.

I SURVIVED ON $150 A MONTH USING GIFT CARDS

People are always asking me how I am able to get something for a low price, or completely free. High School may not have taught me much, but it did teach basic research skills.

I can’t remember when it started or what made me search the words “how to get free money” or “how to get free gift cards.” After paying what little bills I had and getting basic everyday items, I only had about $150 left to help pay for food, transportation, and put money away for savings.

As many of the people who follow me know, I was recently living in Wayne’s Place, transitional living program for former foster youth and youth with connections to the Department of Behavioral Health. Life wasn’t just hard. At times it felt impossible. I needed more money. So, me being as curious as I am, I researched. From those simple words above I was able to get money legally using apps, surveys, and coupons.

Last year, I purchased over $700 worth of items online alone and paid only about $150 for everything. My biggest cash outs came from Bing Rewards, Google Opinion Rewards, Cross Media Panel,Panel App, Quick Thoughts, and other online surveys. Many of the ways I used to get money offered food cards to Safeway, Giant, etc. When things got really bad, I went to the food bank. No one wants to, but you have to do what you have to do.

During the winter of 2016, separate from the amounts above, I purchased about $300 worth of boots (good winter boots are expensive!) and paid about $200. That’s $100 off. I purchased an XBOX One, new condition, for $153. I remember the exact amount because even I was amazed.

I would get restaurant cards, as well as many coupons they send in emails. I made sure I was always able to go out when friends asked. I even get free movie tickets A Regal Club Card helps you build points to get free or discounted items. With movie tickets now being almost $15 (up from $7 when I was 12), who wants to pay?

I joined focus groups and research panels around the city that not only provided money, but great opportunities. I was able to speak up about issues I cared about, and I met amazing people.

Free money is everywhere. You just have to find it and be dedicated. As broke as I was before I got a job, do you really think I wanted to pay for anything? I hated asking people for money, but there were times when I had to. I even had to set up a Go Fund Me account twice!

You don’t need to have a college degree or even a high school diploma. As long as you have basic research skills (TYPE AND CLICK) and dedication, money is never far. It may not be a lot, every little thing helps.

Here’s where you can get started.

*Most of the apps can be found on both Android and IPhone

If it sounds like a scam, it probably is one. I avoid anything that ask for my password to something, Social Security number, my credit card information, or any personal information. 

Surviving CFSA

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON DAVIDGROSSO.ORG

Six years is more than enough time to learn how foster care operates. Surviving it is another thing. I entered the foster care system at the age of 15, one month before my 16th birthday, and was emancipated six years later. Year one in the system left me confused. Who were these strangers I am being told to live with? Year two was when I lost hope of living with my family. Separation and unintentional isolation will change anyone’s behavior. Year three is when things started to look hopeful because I had finally settled into a loving home. Year four I found my voice. I started demanding my clothing and transportation stipends, and advocated for the Youth Bill of Rights to be provided to every foster home. Year five is when the fear of emancipation struck hard. With no immediate family support, I became depressed and worried about homelessness. Year six, I finally cracked. I was aging out of foster care and I was afraid of what adulthood would bring. The struggle to maintain grades, travel across town to school, have enough money, and find housing in an overpopulated and expensive city is enough to drive anyone crazy, but I survived. It is because of my story that any significant changes that deals with child welfare concerns me.

Child and Family Services Agency

Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is the District of Columbia’s child welfare agency that protects child victims and children and youth at risk of abuse and neglect, and assist their families. Overall, CFSA currently serves 2,675 children and youth: 951 (36%) youth are in foster care and 1,724 (64%) youth are served in their homes. [1] CFSA is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse and neglect of children and youth under the age of 18 that are residents of the District of Columbia. When victims of child abuse and neglect are identified, CFSA’s trained social workers work to keep children safe by assisting families and connecting them to services to prevent future endangerment. The agency also provide safe out of home care which involves the temporary removal of a child from a dangerous home with the hope of reestablishing permanent homes.

Youth in care are people too, and they deserve what is owed to them. To ensure that youth are aware of their rights, by law CFSA must provide all youth in care a copy of the Bill of Rights.

Safe Haven Redesign

CFSA’s goal is to continue to reduce the number of children in foster care by increasing placement in homes, reunification with the child’s family, guardianship, and adoption. Recently, CFSA’s Director Brenda Donald announced significant changes to the agency. She proposed a Safe Haven Redesign which will reduce foster care providers from seven to one, eliminate the traditional and therapeutic designation, bring all D.C. foster homes under direct care of CFSA, and ensure that the entire system is trauma-informed. In early March 2017, CFSA released a Request for Proposals (RFP), which solicited applications for services of a contractor to provide foster care placement and case management services for approximately four-hundred (400) children and youth in foster care who will be placed in Maryland only. For more information, please view Safe Haven Redesign Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP closed on last Friday. A few providers have applied.

Safe and Stable Families Redesign

Additionally, CFSA plans to leverage the fiscal flexibility of the Title IV-E Waiver to spend more funding on community-based prevention and family-strengthening services rather than foster care resources due to the reduced number of children and youth in foster care. CFSA hopes to revamp their prevention and in-home services for families to stay together in a safe environment.

Concerns about the changes

On April 7, 2017, Mayor Bowser released her proposed fiscal year 2018 budget for CFSA. The Mayor’s proposal allocates $226,485,929 for CFSA’s budget in fiscal year 2018, which is a $6,143,893 reduction from fiscal year 2017. Though these redesigns could bring about some benefits, I am concerned that the current proposed budget does not provide CFSA with adequate funding to properly implement these changes or to respond to unanticipated challenges. CFSA has maintained that the reductions in the budget corresponds with the decrease in the number of youth involved in the foster care system. However, this theory may backfire on them.

I am also concerned about the timing of these changes. In 2015, CFSA experienced a shortage of foster care placements when the agency terminated two contracts that placed children in homes. In CFSA’s FY2016-2017 pre-performance oversight responses, CFSA alluded to the fact that the agency is still experiencing difficulty when it stated it “continues to refine the process of matching children entering care to available foster care homes.”[2] 11 children in out-of-home care slept overnight at CFSA’s offices while awaiting a licensed placement in fiscal year 2016.[3] In fiscal year 2017, 6 children slept overnight in an office. Although some of these instances were exceptional cases, they still underscore the difficulties that the agency experiences placing children, especially youth in certain sub-populations: teens, pregnant and or parenting youth, or youth with special needs. Only 25 % of foster children are expected to be placed with kin by the end of this year.[4] I experienced this shortage first hand.

In 2015, my second foster home allowed me to stay there as long as I needed while completing school. However, CFSA began pressuring my foster parent to take in another child immediately. My foster parent became overwhelmed with the number of calls she received. I began to receive calls asking about my housing plan and was provided a list of shelters. I made the decision to leave and entered a transitional living home, named Wayne’s Place.

Wayne’s Place

Two years ago, Mayor Bowser and Director Donald announced the opening of a new transitional home for youth between the ages of 18 and 24. The Wayne’s Place Project is a partnership between CFSA and the Department of Behavioral Health that is managed by the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative. Wayne Place is a complex of six buildings with 22 two-bedroom apartments that can house up to 44 youth. It receives an annual funding of $1,015,250. The program was designed to help young adults who need support to live independently and succeed.

I lived in Wayne’s Place in my sixth year, from September 2015 to March 2017. When I first entered the transitional home at the age of 21, the security guards consistently made inappropriate comments to me. Additionally, some of security guards were engaging in inappropriate relationships with some of the young women there. Both issues were more or less taken care of after I testified before the Committee on Health and Human Services on March 3 2016. Still, Transitioned Aged Youth (TAYs) complain about unprofessional staff. Many of the female TAYs continue to express to me that they feel uncomfortable, and several have left the program. Additionally, TAYs voice frustration that their caseworkers did not provide enough housing and employment support. Thankfully, I had great caseworkers who supported me. The idea of Wayne’s Place is good idea in theory, but there still remains a lot of unresolved issues that need to be addressed. Their goal to transition youth to middle-class, for the most part, is proving more difficult than they had hoped.

Tutoring Services

The Mayor’s FY18 proposed budget insufficiently provides tutoring services for youth in care. In a letter to Director Donald, Councilmember Grosso asked about the agency’s budget plans, and funding for tutoring services for youth. Director Donald responded that the “proposed budget is sufficient to improve the educational progress” of their children. However, I disagree.

Just a few years ago when I requested tutoring services for a college course, I was denied and told to used my school’s services. When I explained that the process to request a tutor at the school would take time, and that I desperately needed one now, I was provided a tutor who could not help me.

Similarly, when I first entered foster care my foster family grew impatient with waiting for the agency to respond to tutoring requests and eventually paid for outside tutoring services. My math and reading tutors came three times a week for two hours each. These tutoring sessions allowed me to make up what I missed in elementary and middle school. Eventually, the cost became too much for them to pay. My foster family was very frustrated that they were never reimbursed for services the agency were supposed to provide.

I am grateful that the Committee on Human Services added $250,000 for increased tutoring services when they unanimously voted on the budget on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. I believe this additional funding is sorely needed. I am also pleased that the Committee provided $500,000 additional dollars for rapid housing. I would have liked to take advantage of this program but I was told by an officer at the Office of Youth and Empowerment that 23 years olds could not receive these vouchers, which is unfair.

In closing, my time in care was not all horrible. Without services like the Education Training Voucher (ETV), a college scholarship for youth foster care, and Capital Area Asset Builder, a match savings program, I would not have been able to graduate debt-free or pay my first month’s rent. Now I am a college graduate with full time employment. No system or organization is perfect, but if CFSA wants to reach their goal of protecting and serving all youth under their care they need to do three things: improve, improve, and improve!

*This post is part of an ongoing series of posts by Councilmember Grosso’s staff to support professional development. All posts are approved and endorsed by Councilmember Grosso.

 

[1] Pg. 3. March 1, 2017. Fiscal Year 2016 CFSA Performance Oversight Hearing: Testimony of Brenda Donald, Acting Director of CFSA

[2] February 21, 2017. CFSA Performance Oversight Hearing FY2016 2017 (First Quarter) p. 113

[3] Ibid p. 117

[4] Ibid p. 111

Opposite

What if we have been calling things by the wrong name?
What if everything was the opposite of how we actually see them?
What if the land was called the sea, and the sea the land?
What If the moon was the sun, and the sun the moon?
What if black was white, and white was black?

Think. Think. Think.

Wait, what if black was white and white was black?
What if black was white and white was black?
What if, what if Blacks were the oppressors and the oppressed were White?
What if Blacks were ole massa and Whites obeyed their every command?
What if Blacks gained profit and Whites were beaten and sold?

What if Blacks were at home enjoying a meal while Whites out in the field?
What if Martin Luther King sat back on God’s word and watched the injustice take place while Whites marched the streets for a better life?
What if Blacks blew up a church where four little White girls died?
What if after almost 50 years many Blacks still hate the existence of Whites?
What if Black cops targeted and killed White boys and girls?

What if we have been calling things by the wrong name?
What if everything was the opposite of how we actually see them?
What if black was white, and white was black?
What if you were me?

Author Notes: None

After Incarcerated: The Irony of Job Opportunities

image

As I sat down at the court building with my brother, I noticed the wall seen in the above photo. It has numerous postings of job opportunities, but for who? Most formerly incarcerated individuals are discriminated against because of their background, which leads to them not obtaining employment. So then what? You are not able to provide for yourself so you get frustrated; you become angry at the world. You commit crimes to survive, to feel better about your situation, or to just release your anger. As a result, you end back in jail; it’s a never ending cycle.

If you continuously miss your appointments with your Parole Officer (P.O.), you could be thrown in jail. What if you do not have money to see your P.O.? That’s a charge. What if you illegally ride the bus or train to try to meet with your P.O. That’s another charge. What what can you do? The Justice System is designed to keep you in; it’s designed to make sure you never succeeded in life.

Waiting to see Patrol Officers

The waiting room is extremely hot, and many of the formerly incarcerated were becoming irritated. Many of them wait for long periods of time and no one ever comes to the front desk. When they knock on the window to get the workers attention they are told to “calm down and take a seat.” They were calm. They are talked down upon as if they are children. I asked if they were always treated this way and they said yes. This is sad to see, and it needs to change.

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