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2017-07-01 Emergency English? Hallelujah!

Years before TNKR, I was on the Young Executive Board of the Washington Scholarship Fund, we provided scholarships for low-income children in Washington, D.C.

One of the moments we all looked forwarded to was calling the families to inform them that a child had been awarded a scholarship. The responses were usually screams and shouts of “Hallelujah,” “Praise the Lord” and expletives of joy.

They couldn’t believe they had won a scholarship. Many of them would tell us that they had never won anything. They believed or hoped this would give their children the chance to go to a good school. We later converted the program from a privately funded to a publicly funded program when our lobbying led the US Congress to create the Washington DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Washington parents interested in school vouchers attend an orientation meeting at the DC Convention Center to fill out applications. Pictured, Juanda Benjamin (cq), center, gives her daughter DaQuanda, 9, a kiss as they listen to their options with other hopeful parents. This was after we converted the program from a privately funded to a publicly funded program. Photo credit: Washington Post

2009, I joined a rally with parents and advocates. We were fighting against President Obama’s attempt to kill the school voucher program.

With some of the parents who said the school voucher program had transformed their lives and given their children a chance to attend safe schools.

With former Mayor for Life Marion Barry. He inspired this column “Situationist.”


As I listened to the refugees talk today about joining TNKR, I was reminded of those pleasant conversations with families in Washington, DC, when they were informed their children had been awarded scholarships. It wasn’t going to save the world, but they felt this was a definite improvement and a great opportunity.

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