Green Bay Packer, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Unveils First HERO Headquarters

Green Bay Packer, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Unveils First HERO Headquarters

Milwaukee Courier LogoBy Ana Martinez-Ortiz

MILWAUKEE COURIER — On Tuesday morning, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix arrived at Benjamin Franklin Elementary to launch his foundation’s first ever HERO Headquarters. He was welcomed by students and teachers alike with cheers, excitement and, above all, a sense of appreciation.

“It’s a dream come true,” Clinton-Dix said. “[I get] to be an icon kids look up to in school, not just football.”

Clinton-Dix plays football for the Green Bay Packers. Currently, he’s their safety and sports jersey number 21. In addition to playing in the national league, he’s in his senior year of college and attends the University of Alabama, where he’s studying criminal justice according to ESPN.

Ha Ha Clinton Dix, read students a book while sitting in the HERO Headquarters.

Ha Ha Clinton Dix, read students a book while sitting in the HERO Headquarters.

It’s clear that education is a priority of his and he’s working hard to make it others too. He recently started the Ha Ha HERO Foundation which aims to provide students who face economically challenged lives with the proper resources and motivation to continue their education and lead positive lives, according to the foundation’s website.

As part of the initiative, the foundation and its sponsors, Quarles & Brady and Houghton MifflinHarcourt (HMH), reached out to schools to bring a HERO Headquarters to them.

Ha Ha’s HERO Headquarters is the name allotted to the room or space the foundation revitalizes. In the case of Benjamin Franklin Elementary, they found a storage room and turned it into an “oasis” for reading. There are roughly 600 books, bean bag chairs and other resources designed to create a peaceful atmosphere.

“Reading has always been a passion of mine,” he said.

HMH provided the books and gave an additional to each child as a gift, as part of their efforts to promote, “lifelong learners.”

During the launch, Clinton-Dix spoke to the students about the importance of education. As they waved their yellow and green pom-poms he told them how he was once like them.

He explained that as a child he didn’t put a lot of effort towards his education, instead he played the role of class clown, assuming he’d catch up on school “later on.”

When later finally came, Clinton-Dix found himself struggling. He wished someone had pushed him harder like how he’s pushing younger generations.

Clinton-Dix managed to secure a spot at the University of Alabama, and learned how to balance school work and football.

“I had to prove myself,” he said, “as a football player and a student.”

Katie Perhach, from Quarles & Brady, stressed how Clinton-Dix is “truly providing the spark” these students need. In addition to providing resources, he’s a good role model.

“You are a leader on the football field and off the football field,” Perhach said.

As promised, Clinton-Dix played several games of tic-tac-toe with the students.

As promised, Clinton-Dix played several games of tic-tac-toe with the students.

As part of the event, Clinton-Dix also read to a select group of students Curious George Joins The Team, where George plays games with his friends. This resulted in a few matches of tic-tac-toe of Clinton-Dix versus various students.

Principal Sara Hmielewski likewise expressed her gratitude to Clinton-Dix. She’s looking forward to seeing the progress the children make and is happy Clinton-Dix can be their icon.

“Just get reading,” she said, “We need to have our students reading.”

Before the students returned to class, Clinton-Dix sat down on the carpet in the HERO Headquarters, answered their questions and gave them advice.

“I had a dream, I had a goal, I had somewhere I wanted to be,” he said.

He also told them to listen to their teachers, attend class on time, stay focused, stay dedicated, be respectful and “be the best you can be.”

He knows better than most, just how far their education can take them.

“One day I know football will end,” he said, “but my education and degree will never be taken away from me.”

In this upcoming year, Clinton-Dix plans to not only finish his education but open two more HERO Headquarters which will continue encourage kids in years to come.

A Day Off, But a Day to Remember: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018

A Day Off, But a Day to Remember: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018

By Dylan Deprey

MILWAUKEE COURIER — When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he was not hoping to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

When his family was in danger and their house was bombarded with bottles and flames, having a street named after him wasn’t even a thought.

When he marched amongst thousands and gave his monumental “I have a Dream Speech,” he wasn’t speaking to go into the history books.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for peace and justice in a country where freedom rang, yet separate but equal was the norm.

There were plenty of people that wanted to kill him and the other “colored folk” reversing the racist tides of Jim Crow, yet he worked until the last seconds his life was taken.

In 1983, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday became a national holiday. The day is observed every third Monday in January, and it focuses on keeping King’s legacy alive. The day is meant to teach our youth about the strides we have made and the struggles we still face, and to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Just as Milwaukee’s own Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive inches closer and closer to its full potential, it is a beacon of hope for other neighborhoods in the city that also emit positive energy for long-awaited change.

As for MLK Day 2018, there are several meetings and events scheduled across Milwaukee, which happened to be one of the first cities to originally celebrate the National holiday.

Some are using the day to celebrate, others to educate and also to congratulate.

The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will be hosting the 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 14. The program will take the stage at Uihlien Hall and highlight the communities’ youth, who every year interpret Dr. King’s words through an art, speech and writing contest.

Other organizations celebrating include: United Indians of Milwaukee, Latino Arts Strings, Milwaukee Flyers Tumbling Team, O.N.F.Y.A.H, MPS’ Milwaukee High School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble and more. The event will conclude with the Paulette Y. Copeland Reception in Bradley Pavilion.

The MLK Library will host a day’s worth of family friendly events including: arts and crafts, voter rights presentations, and live events like spoken word poetry with Kavon Cortez Jones and traditional African dance with Ina Onilu Drum and Dance Ensemble.

The Milwaukee YMCA will host the largest Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event in Wisconsin. The 21st Annual Celebration Breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings together elected officials, advocates and the community to celebrate those pushing the envelope for change and opening doors for everybody in every community.

“Today we celebrate those who have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to making our community a better place for all. Now more than ever the spirit of community service can help heal our differences through a common cause—giving back and strengthening the places where we live, work and play is something we all can agree on,” said Shaneé Jenkins vice president, social responsibility & strategic partnerships for the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.

Both the Hunger Task Force and Employ Milwaukee will be honored for their longstanding commitment to making the city a better place for all by supporting health, wellness, diversityand inclusion.

The breakfast program will also recognize the winners of this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spoken Word Contest. The three finalists in each age category (5-9 years, 10-13 years and 14-18 years) were selected after writing an original spoken word piece based on the theme, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Milwaukee Public Library Calendar of Events of Dec 31, 2017 through Jan 6, 2018

Milwaukee Public Library Calendar of Events of Dec 31, 2017 through Jan 6, 2018

Black and Latino Male Achievement Matters

Black and Latino Male Achievement Matters

By Nyesha Stone

Milwaukee Public Schools has begun to pave a way to a better future for young men and boys of color. The Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement (BLMA) was established to address the disparities in academic and life outcomes for young men and boys of color, and to implement programs that improve their lives, according to a press release.

MPS has high hopes that this new department, that officially launched this school year, will be a success.

BLMA is ran by five men who are dedicated to changing the lives of young men and boys. Juan Baez and Lanelle Ramey are directors of BLMA, Paul Moga is the coordinator, David Castillo is the planning assistant and the newest member is Sergio Muniz who will be working closely with the children— each of these men will report directly to Superintendent Darienne Driver.

The department brought out 50 male students of color to Casimir Pulaski High School on Oct. 2 to let the students know this department is an advocate for them, said Ramey.

Ramey along with other members of the department are products of MPS, and he’s happy to be helping young men who were just like him have a better chance at life.

“We do this from our heart,” said Ramey. “I am a product from it (MPS) all the way.”

Ramey began his days with MPS in grade school, and now many years later he’s still in the system, but now with more power to help change things.

Men and boys of color is the focus of this department because the data shows they’ve fallen behind everyone else. Now the department has made it their duty to help these students reach their full potential.

“Change is coming for our boys of color,” said Ramey. “They’re important to us.”

BLMA is in the process of their 100-day plan, which is trying to define what exact activities and curriculum the department will provide not only for the boys of color, but MPS as a whole.

The National Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) has partnered with BLMA and will be supporting the department through its endeavors.

Ramey and Baez hope to change the media’s image of these young boys and men, and to also show these students how to embrace themselves.

Baez knows by helping these young men and boys it will positively affect the rest of MPS, and other students.

“We’re going to need to need the community’s support with this,” said Baez. “It’s really going to take a family.”