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Project Butterfly Book by Niambi Jaha-Echols

Project Butterfly Book by Niambi Jaha-Echols

Now available from the Black Woman and Child Mama’s Market:

  • Project Butterfly: Supporting Young Women and Girls Through the Transitions of Life – a great book written by Niambi Jaha-Echols.
  • Also available – the corresponding write-in workbook.

Niambi made a great presentation at the recent Family, Culture and Lifestyle Show in Toronto on June 28. Exerts from her speech will be posted here on Blog Woman and Child. Stay tuned.

To get your own copies, visit the Black Woman and Child Mama’s Market at


CNN will premier a series, ‘Black in America with Soledad O’Brien’

Wednesday July 23 at 9pm – Black Women and Families

Thursday July 24 at 9pm – Plight of the Black Man in America.

I’ve heard it said that you should watch it with your children (or record it, if they have to be in bed!). It might make a good showing and discussion piece for a youth group. We may not all be American but there are sure to be commonalities that affect us all. I’ll be back on the blog to let you know my thoughts after the series. I hope you also do the same. Let’s keep the lines of communication open. Visit the site too, it’s powerful.

Editorial – Black Woman and Child ( Spring-Summer 2008 )

You don’t have to look too far these days to find tips, suggestions, programs and movements dedicated to “saving” the planet – most with good reason and good intention. But another environmental strategy, growing in popularity, smacks of a sinister agenda that has existed for generations and continues to recreate itself. That is the issue of Population Control.

According to groups like the Sierra Club (an environmental organization founded in 1892), the Population Institute (established in 1969 to address “population issues”) and the well-known Planned Parenthood (a “women’s health” organization founded in 1916) – overpopulation is responsible for a laundry list of social problems, including infant mortality, famine, poverty and, more recently, global warming and most forms of environmental damage. However, this perspective becomes suspect when most of these birth control efforts are aimed at poor women and women of colour. The so-called “Third World” women. Women very similar to you and me.

Some people (you probably know them) are always looking for someone to blame. In times of economic or employment crisis, they blame the immigrants – people like us. In today’s environmental crisis, they blame overpopulation – of people like us. They don’t blame the excessive lifestyle of Western waste.

The populaton control agenda gives these same people an excuse to advance white supremacist values over human rights. Environmentalists promote the ideology that there is a “perfect population” that the Earth can support. Not surprisingly, “perfection” goes beyond numbers – it’s about race and ethnicity too! In addition to birth control policy, this belief has impacted immigation, welfare policy, criminal law and sentencing, the treatment of First Nations groups, decisions of war and political intervention. Black women around the world have long endured forced sterilizations, illegal abortions and foreign aid with strings attached in pursuit of this “perfect population.”

In short, population control translates into a healthier planet and better living conditions for wealthy, non-melanated people and the children they are encouraged to have. It has not escaped my attention that Essence displays full-page advertisements for every imaginable birth control system while white-oriented mainstream magazines discuss fertility issues and advertise ovulation predictor kits.

In her academic paper, “Population Control and Environmental Protection: Misplaced Coercion,” Jennifer Simpson reveals the scandalous practices often tied to birth control programs: “Oral contraceptives, IUDs, Norplant and Depo-Provera, have been administered in less-developed countries even when they have been banned or untested in developed countries.”

And while our reproductive efforts are being discouraged, the fertility industry is booming. According to Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body: “The multiple births that result from these technologies point to the contradiction of a public not willing to pay the expenses of one additional child born to a welfare mother, yet willing to support seven children born to a white couple.”

Thinking about population and the environment means not thinking about the far-reaching after-shocks of slavery and colonialism. It means ignoring corporate pollution. It means not thinking about the environmental effects of military misbehaviour. It means not talking about land redistribution. Or developing a worldwide clean water system or accessible health services for everybody.

So rather than talk population problems, let’s talk environmental solutions. Let’s even dare to implement changes that impact the affluent lifestyles that are posing the real problems on this planet.

In my opinion (and I am not alone), these people argue for population control because they don’t want to share. We could all live comfortably if we worked at equitable distribution of food, land, water, money and other basic needs. It’s not a population problem. We have a consumption problem.

How can food supply be an issue in a world where food is mass-produced, packaged, and discarded after the expiry date or left to spoil? Is water an issue? Let’s limit water supply to only a few hours a day – outside of North America, many of us are used to that. Drive less, or not at all. Give up foreign fruits and vegetables. Put real money into development projects in countries where workers and resources have been exploited.

Why not focus on sharing and sustainability rather than obsess over who is having how many children? For me, the bottom line is: Talk to me about population control when we’ve exhausted all other options.

Nicole Osbourne James

[Click on the heading to post your comments.]

In my humble opinion, it sucks to make minimum wage. Right now I don’t, but it wasn’t so long ago that I did, and a lot of parents still DO. Trying to make ends meet on minimum wage is a joke that isn’t even funny anymore. Where I live (Ontario, CANADA), minimum wage was $6.85 in 1995 and stayed that way until 2004 when it went up 30 cents to $7.15. Under tremendous pressure from activists and other starving people, minimum wage has been raised to a whopping $8.75 as of yesterday. Keep in mind that 2007 saw the movement pushing for a $10 minimum wage but instead we got 25 cents, taking us from $7.75 to $8.00 an hour. Thanks a million!

If I sound particularly disgruntled today, it could be because March 31, the day that minimum wage in Ontario was raised to $8.75, was the same day that the “Sunshine List” was released — all those lucky Canadians making over $100,000 per year. Count among them those Ontario MPPs who are getting their third pay raise in 16 months to $116,550 a year. That’s BASE pay, a lot of them actually make more than that. Now, minimum wage didn’t budge one red cent in eight years and has since grown less than two dollars in the last four years. But the base pay for MPPs has risen by almost $28,000 since December 2006. Something stinks.

So that’s my rant. Ain’t no sunshine making minimum wage, that’s for sure, and more than a million people in Canada do exactly that. I think that the wealth in this country could be better distributed. What do you think? It’s not enough for me to say “Stay in school, get your degree, YOU could be doing one of those top dollar jobs.” Most of us will do those things, stay in school, all that, and end up with crippling student loan debt and a middle-of-the-road salary if we’re very lucky.

We all need to do our part, even if you don’t make minimum wage. Better distribution of the wealth means stronger, healthier families and more stable communities. Safer and better for everyone I think.

Find out more at

Let me know your thoughts.

Racist police too? Who knew?!

Wow, African schools just can’t catch a break, can they? I was reading Pride newspaper this week and learned about an email sent by a senior police inspector to several staff, entitled “Afrocentric Math for Toronto’s new black only school.” One question asks: “Ramon has an AK-47 with a 30-round clip. He usually misses six out of every 10 shots and he uses 13 rounds per drive-by shooting. How many drive-by shootings can Ramon attempt before he has to reload?”

Well, I also learned that the police inspector was suspended over this mess. That’s what I call results! Can we get somebody suspended at the Globe and Mail too? Let’s work on it.

Let’s keep the pressure on, people. Here are some good examples to give you ideas for your own letter — as well as responses to that rubberstamped apology. Remember:You can leave comments directly for the Globe and Mail at You can also email or fax to 416.585.5085. Click here to see the original post. Let’s take action!

Here is a Call to Action from Louis:

“Hello All,

I know that you will have all seen or heard about this cartoon that was published in the Globe and Mail newspaper. This is totally unacceptable and requires a quick and immediate response from our community. There is no way that the Globe and Mail would have published a similar cartoon attacking the Jewish, Chinese or Gay communities in Toronto. The questions now are…..what was their motivation and how will we respond?

Here is some timely advice from Kay:

“Silent protest will not accomplish anything in this glaring case of a
rascism. Please find attached additional comments and an avenue to make
your voice heard.

Please also send to the the following, we pay taxes:

The big cheeses: – Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO – Edward Greenspon, Editor-in-chief

Also make sure to CC the Chief, so that they can’t sweep it under the rug: or – Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon)
Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission


This response was sent via email to Kristen, a Globe and Mail reader. It is from Gerald Owen, reader response editor at the Globe and Mail. I received it as a forward from a colleague.

“Thank you for your letter, to which Mr. Greenspon has asked me to reply.

Yesterday morning, the first four letters on the letters to the editor page all complained about this cartoon.

The intention of the cartoonist was not racist. Rather, the idea was that mathematics, one of the essential elements of education, does not vary with ethnicity, though language often does. The cartoon was therefore critical of the proposal for a black-focused school in Toronto, and this was expressed by the words “Afrocentric algebra …” at the top. We regret that it was offensive to a considerable number of readers.
yours truly,

Gerald Owen
reader response editor”

Your thoughts? As far as apologies go, do you think this goes far enough? And do you agree that mathematics does not vary with ethnicity? Wow, there are so many issues at stake here.

Globe and Mail - Racist Cartoon
This cartoon ran in the Monday, February 18, 2008 edition of the Globe and Mail. This is their opinion of Afrocentric Algebra. And this is why we need our African-Centered Schools. Because if anybody knew REAL history, they would know Africans were the ones who created and taught Math to the world.

I have to site some serious references and we have to write some serious letters to these people. Don’t turn your backs! If you want to post your comments here, click the link about. I will make sure that they get to the right people. I don’t know who drew this cartoon. If it was an African, that makes it sadder than ever. But more importantly, we have to make sure our children know their history and know that we have a lot more going for us than ‘Sup Dog. Ridiculous! And don’t talk to me about having a sense of humour. When it comes to putting Black people down and trying to make us look stupid, the history is just too fresh. My generation was still being put back a grade on arrival to Canada as a matter of routine! This is no laughing matter.

Our dedicated sister Yolisa sent these comments:

I am responding to the offensive racist cartoon in your paper on Monday Feb. 18th, the first family Day holiday, no less.
This cartoon caricature exposes a deeply racist Euro-Canadian mindset that shamelessly promotes these stereotypes of Afrikan/Blak people, much less a teacher. This type of racism is fueling the hysteria toward Africentric schools, a desperately needed option for learners and their families who confront racism everyday at school.
This cartoon is exactly why we need Africentric schools where learners are ‘safe’ from such blatant racist behaviour from educators and administrators. In a mainstream school this probably wouldn’t even be talked about but could be the basis of an entire unit on Race & Racism in Canada in an Africentric school.
Not only does this betray ignorance & hate, it also exposes fear that Africentric schools will actually make a difference that threatens the status quo.
For a national paper, you should be ashamed and owe the collective Afrikan/Blak community an apology. Furthermore, the person who created this cartoon should be fired and made to undergo anti-racism training as well as community service in the Afrikan/Blak community!
All Canadians should be outraged by this not just those who are for Africentric schools. Everyone who is committed to anti-racism should hold this paper accountable!

All Canadians should be outraged by this not just those who are for Africentric schools. Everyone who is committed to anti-racism should hold this paper accountable!”
So let’s follow our sister’s advice and hold this paper accountable. You can leave comments directly for the Globe and Mail at You can also email or fax to 416.585.5085. I wish we could totally bombard these people. But every one letter makes a difference. No matter how short or long, say SOMETHING! Click on the heading to leave your comments.
Visit this link for another comment – from Jason Robinson from AKA Activist –

Please bear with me as I try to sort out my mangled thoughts.

Last weekend, I went to a “Parent Forum” at a family event. The children were engaged elsewhere in various activities geared towards their age groups (it was an EXCELLENT event) while the parents had an opportunity to talk about different issues that were affecting us as parents and our families.

One brother shared his frustration with what he called the “Babylon System.” Separated from his former girlfriend, he was now caught up in the crazy world of family court, child support, custody and visitation. I think he said that he was allowed to see his daughter only once a week on Wednesday plus every other weekend. His rage was directed at his ex who had thrown their entire family into a turmoil by calling Babylon on him (which included Children’s Aid or what is sometimes called Child Services) but it was obvious to him that in the end, his daughter would be the one to suffer the most.

Two days later, I was driving with a girlfriend of mine. She is recently separated from her husband and lives alone with their daughters. She shared her frustration that her husband is not holding up his end of the financial responsibility. She says that she has been more than patient while he got a job and got his financial house in order. However, after taking note of his new car and a new computer while he still claims that he has no money to put toward the support of his daughters, she is ready to take her request to the next level. Thinking of the comments that the brother made on the weekend, I shared his concerns with my friend, especially around the impact of Children’s Aid and the court system on the children. She repeated, vehemently, that her daughter’s father gives no money for food, no money for their schooling and seems bent on punishing her at the expense of their daughters. She asked me, “What am I supposed to do?” I didn’t have an answer.

My anxiety is centered around the realization that we have too many fathers who are not helping to support their children, either with money OR with their time. Then, when a mother is forced to go to court, brothers are quick to say “Can you believe it? She called the MAN on me!” It is seen as the ultimate betrayal. On the other hand, we DO have mothers who play the games, holding out their child as a pawn for the most money, denying visitation, telling lies, everything. And we DO have those fathers who use fake addresses to avoid the court papers, work under the table to avoid having their wages garnished, get their driver’s licenses revoked, passports revoked and still jump through all kinds of hoops, all to avoid giving money to feed their children!

But we also have hard working mothers who wish they didn’t have to take it there, having the court in their family business just to make a father do right — and usually unsuccessfully. And we have fathers who genuinely want to be a part of their children’s lives but are just not able to get a fair break in the legal system.

My question to you is: Have you been involved in the family court system for child-support or custody issues? If yes, why did it come to that? If no, is it something that you would do if you had to?

The other thing that blows my mind is the hate that sometimes comes along with the rage. When I heard this man talking about his ex-girlfriend, it seemed like he forgot there was ever a time that he had loved this woman. That he CHOSE to have a child with this woman. I think if I could talk to every angry “babydaddy” or ex-husband out there, I would ask them, Do you remember what it was like to love this woman? Before she became, as you say, a “crazy, deranged babymama?” Same for the sisters: Unless this was a hit-and-run, I’m thinking that we CHOSE to have a child with this man. What happened? How do things fall apart?

So Black-focused schools have been approved by the Toronto District School Board. All I can say is, I wonder what all the fuss is about? I don’t know too much about “black-focused” but I can tell you that my children have been thriving at an African-Centered school for over three years now. And there have been African-Centered schools in Canada for much longer than that. We’re paying out of pocket for it and it is more than worth it. Next issue: fighting to pull our tax dollars out of the public school system and have the choice to put those dollars toward the educational institute of our choice!

Yes, Black schools: To all those who were arguing about if we should or we shouldn’t have it — sorry, we already have it, have had it and have been having it for quite some time now, if anybody cared to notice. And we’re not alone. Check out this article that we published in the Spring 2006 Black Woman and Child. Special thanks to Angelot Ndongmo.

On the Frontlines Report: African-Centered Schools

“For decades, black mothers have put their faith in public and private school systems that have failed them miserably. Our children are still complaining of racism, unfair treatment, a lack of understanding of their cultural heritage and the frustration of having to learn about every other race’s contributions except their own. African mothers are no different from any other mother when it comes to wanting the best educational experience for their children. These parents desperately need a resolution to help steer their children away from a life of hardship or crime which seem to be gripping countless black youth.”

Click here to read the full article.

Click on the heading to leave your comments.