Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.

Mr. Joe Mathos, Deputy Superintendent for Education.

Mr. Nelson Perez, Associate Superintendent Bureau of Adult/ Vocational Alternative and Dropout Prevention Programs.

Mr. Samuel L. Gay, Administrative Director Office of Alternative Education and Dropout Prevention.

The Cultural Diversity/Intergroup Relations Staff:

Ms. Norma Sanchez-Zick, Director.

Mr. Earl Davis, Department Chairperson.

Mr. William Aristide
Ms. Nancy Brice
Mr. John Caudle
Ms. Esther de Varona
Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Ms. Lily Montipellier
Mr. Tony Valido


Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler
Mrs. Hyacinth O. Johnson
Ms. Fran Schmidt
Ms. Yvette Berger
Ms. Pat Ford
Ms. Yvonne T. Jenkins

SPECIAL WELCOME to all of you who are assembled here for this program.

My prayer is that you will enjoy the program that the information will be useful, memorable, and maybe even a turning point, for you to reach new heights.

I want to thank, Mr. Perez, for that warm introduction And I want to thank the program committee for having me here today and thank all of you for being concerned about PEACEFULLY RESOLVING OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES.

I certainly see great energy in this room and I pray that the power does not dissipate as you go through the exciting events offered through this PEACE EDUCATION Assembly.

You are on the front lines every day making sure that OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL’S FAMILY’S efforts to PEACEFULLY RESOLVE UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is not placed on the back burner of our school affairs and that all people have a fair and equal opportunity for success. Too me there’s no higher calling than what you do!

Not only that I know that what you do is essential, especially, in terms of opening the doors of communication with each other.

To me PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is fundamental to COMMUNICATION, and communication is essential for us to understand one another - for its importance sets the stage for not only expressing one’s self and appreciating others - but truly learning about each other as well.

I say this because the incidents of violence in our nations schools keep happening: from Shoving to Suicides; from Bullies to Bullets; from Messing-around to Massacre. I am glad that we have people like you working to give our students a peaceful world.

Not only that, it helps us to focus on how, through learning about each other, we can evolve the respect and the understanding that bring people together.

I am clear that PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES sets the stage for addressing barriers to greater communication. You see communication is very important in everyone s line of work and play. I know how important it is in politics. I have to communicate and be understood across racial, ethnic, and gender lines. Let me share a story about a School Board, aspirant politician, much like myself, who was going door to door during election time.

There was a very mean looking dog in the yard he was about to enter. He asked the man standing outside the gate, if his dog bites. The man said “No”, so the school board aspirant walked into the yard and immediately the dog bit him. Nursing his wounds the politician said to the man outside the gate “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite.” The man said that’s correct, “My dog doesn’t bite, but that is not my dog!”

Communication is the key to comprehending each other and PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is the key to communication.

Think how it enriches our lives to learn about each other.

Think also the strength that it brings to reaffirm one’s own culture; one’s own understanding of family, one’s self, one’s tribe, one’s neighborhood, one’s community, one’s state, and one’s nation.

PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is central to the strengths we need as we face some very difficult and challenging times.

So, again I want to “thank you.” I know that all of your hard work counts, because there are examples of excellence everywhere within this room. You give me strength and confidence that we will successfully meet the challenges ahead.


It is no secret that we are living in a culturally diverse world. The U. S. Census Bureau recently stated that “Given the opportunity to belier reflect their racial and ethnic heritage, 6.8 million people identified themselves as members of more than one racial group in the 2000 Census.” Unlike past census headcounts, which forced people to identify themselves with only one racial group, the 2000 Census let people select as many as six racial groups to identify themselves.

The added options produced 63 government-recognized racial categories, which included such combinations as Black/Asian/Native Hawaiian/American Indian/ and some other race. Our children need to learn how to live and communicate in a cultural diverse society.


Having mentioned communication let me share something I found quite humorous. It seems a young man from a wealthy family graduated, and as a gift, his father gave him a trip to Europe, and a lot of money.

While in Europe, he came across a rare bird that spoke seven languages:

1. Arabic 5. German
2. Chinese 6. Hebrew, and
3. English 7. Spanish
4. French

The young man paid $15,000.00 for the bird and sent it home to his mother. Two weeks later, he came home, walked into the living room, only to see an empty cage. He asked his mother, if she had received the bird. And she answered, “Yes.”

The young man then asked, “What did you do with it?” His mother answered, “I ate him.“ The young man cried “Mother I paid $15,000 dollars for that bird and he spoke seven languages, he spoke:

1. Arabic 5. German
2. Chinese 6. Hebrew, and
3. English 7. Spanish
4. French

His mother replied, “Well, he should have said something.” If you don’t speak up, you can get gobbled up!

But we are here to stand up and speak up. In order for our children to learn to speak up they must become culturally aware. For them to become culturally aware we must deliberately expose them to some form of cultural education.

In order for our children to be exposed to PROUD education, we must continue to find ways to integrate and enhance the curriculums in our schools.


When I speak of integration, one of my favorite illustrations comes in the from of a recipe used for baking a cake: The school board becomes the mixing bowl, school administrators are the flour, our teachers are the flavor, our staff is the butter, technology is the milk, our curriculum is the eggs and our students represent the sugar. We mix them together, and then bake the blend in an oven at GRADUATION temperature until done and you have a finished cake. All of the ingredients are valuable in their own right, however joined together they can develop another valued entity.

To me that is what PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is all about - developing another valued product by joining our differences together. This recipe is beginning to have some success in our Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

This is accomplished in spite of, or just maybe because of, the diverse population that we serve.

We have over 369,000 (368,453) kindergarten through twelfth-grade students, over 70,000 (73,051) - and about one out of every five-of our students were born in a foreign country. I’m not talking about just Cuba, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

We have students who are Portuguese, Vietnamese, Russian and a host of other nationalities.

We’ve got children from every corner of the globe-an approximate total of 164 different countries.

With that many students of such diverse national and ethnic backgrounds, in order for our schools to be a safe environment where learning can take place, one of our priorities is to mix our ingredients in a way that assures that everyone is valued in their own right and that when mixed together we create another valued product.

I thank you for never forgetting that we’re not dealing with numbers, but with real live young people - people who one day are going to be leading our schools, our communities and our nation.

It appears to me that too many people are still too vague about the value of PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES, or if they are clear on the value, they are somewhat cloudy about how to get there from here.

This reality is further complicated by those who reduce our commitment to and development in PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES to some type of guessing game. To some the use of strategies to PEACEFULLY RESOLVE UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES seem so complicated that some want to give up even trying.

It is my contention that we do not have to accept either extreme. I believe that in the context of our work each of us can grow in maturity with regards to our travail on PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES.

We must continue our pursuit with programs and meetings like these - sharing strategies while at the same time identifying the best practices devised to bring about, what we call PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES. You are indeed disciples; men and women dedicated to the proposition that none of us is free until all of us are free

It is my prayer that by the time you complete this event you will have a new appreciation for what it takes to be authentic in your PROUD efforts.

When you do this, your lives will take on a dimension of peace, joy, power, and victory far greater than you have ever known, one that will be yours regardless of circumstances.

This is so because you would have discovered what Dr. King proclaimed “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny, what affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Interestingly we claim to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And we promote ourselves in this fashion. Yet on the flip side of that promotion, our daily existence suggests that we are a nation divided. And as Lincoln stated “A divided nation cannot stand.”

What is so traumatic is the fact that we will divide ourselves around any issue. Think back:

One hundred and thirty-eight years after the emancipation proclamation (January 1, 1863).

Forty-seven years after Brown vs. The Board of Education (1954), and

Thirty-seven years after the Civil Rights Act (1964), and we are still having trouble PEACEFULLY RESOLVING OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES.

So what you do takes on special importance and urgency. There is a price to pay for neglecting to PEACEFULLY RESOLVE OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES.

Economically, the cost includes the loss of national and local output due to holding some groups below their maximum productive potential.

Educationally & Socially, the cost includes increased crime and violence in our schools, and too often early deaths.

Politically, the costs include tension in our national, state and local life - the constant threat of civil disorder and increased difficulty in obtaining congressional support for any cohesive set of school policies.

Our human costs include the loss of human potential which weakens family stability and strengthening hostile behaviors that are often compounded by drug use and drug abuse.

Know this: Whoever controls your thoughts, controls your emotions. Whoever controls your emotions, controls your actions; and whoever controls your actions, controls your destiny. Without being able to PEACEFULLY RESOLVE OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES the result may be not understanding, or they may be misunderstanding. Either way the outcome could be fatal.

And there exist immeasurable evidence to support this fact. One need only call the roll: SANTEE, CA., CONYERS, GA., LITTLETON, CO., NOTUS, IDAHO, SPRINGFIELD, OR. , FAYETTEVILLE, TN, EDINBORO, PA., JONESBORO, AR., WEST PADUCAH, KY., PEARL, MS. , and other murders right here in Florida.

We need what I will call, inclusive sensitivity - a sensitivity that will help us realize some of the impediments that surrounds us.

Have you ever noticed that many of us get out of bed in our pajamas, a garment of East Indian origin,
We then drink our breakfast coffee, grown from a plant first discovered by the Arabs,

We place upon our heads a molded piece of felt invented by the Nomads of eastern Asia
And then if it rains, we put on outer shoes of rubber discovered by ancient Mexicans,

Not only that, to cover ourselves we take our umbrella invented in India,
And then run to catch a train (we call tri-rail), which is an English invention,

And at the train station we buy a newspaper with coins invented in ancient Lydia,
And once on board the train we settle back and read the news imprinted in characters Invented by the early Semites,

By a process invented in Germany,
Upon material invented in China,

As we go about the business of encouraging legislation forbidding foreign ideas and foreign immigrants using a language of Indo-European origin

While calling on the name of a God that was born in Africa. TO stop the madness you must continue the reforms that you have adopted.



I am proud of you because you we RESOURCEFUL, RELIABLE, REALISTIC AND READY.

I am proud of you because you are ORIGINAL, ORDERLY, ON-TIME AND OVER-COMERS.



I am proud of you because YOU are a part of PROUD imparting peace, and joy; offering encouragement, advancing hope, and assuring possibilities.

I invite you to Continue to Break Down All Barriers That Divide Us.

Yes, I know that there are natural biological differences between males and females.

Yes, I know that there exist differences between ethnic groups, differences in places that we are born, differences in socio-economic classes, differences in language, differences in religions, but our tasks is to continue organizing those differences in a way that produces the greatest good for the greatest number.

You must continue to be energized not polarized by our differences.

We must teach others to do more than lecture about PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES. We must help them to live it.


Let me invite you to ponder these questions. It is time for a new world leader, and your vote counts. Here are the facts about three candidates:


Fellowships with crooked politicians, and consults with Astrologists. He had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 Martinis a day.


Was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college, and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening


Is a decorated war hero. He is a vegetarian, doesn‘t smoke, he drinks an occasional beer and is not known to have had any Extra Marital Affairs.

Which candidate would be your choice?


Candidate A: was Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Candidate B: was Winston Churchill; and

Candidate C: was Adolph Hitler.

Pretty interesting isn’t it?


You cannot always judge a book by its cover. That type of judgment is the reason


It provides us with more information for making judgments. Dr. King in his book, Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community outlined his vision for the world.

He compared the predicament of humanity to that of a large family of diverse individuals who were forced to live together under one roof. He noted that “We have inherited a large house” he said it is “a great world house in which we have to live together – black, white, Easterner, and Westerner, Gentile, and Jew, Catholic, and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu.”

He also noted “this family is unduly separated by ideas, culture, and interests, who must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

We must build relationships with all people regardless of their station in life. Taking on the giant of PEACEFULLY RESOLVING OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is no easy proposition, but it must be done. We Must Put A Stop To Violence.

Violence in our schools, in my opinion, has a devastating impact on the effectiveness of our students’ classroom growth. Our students cannot learn in fear and our teachers cannot teach in few.

So severe is the impact of not PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is the possibility of destroying a whole generation of our students.

I am sure you will agree that Violence perpetuates estranged relationships.

Probably, in our Miami-Dade County community the most underused approach of our time to combat violence is PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES.

I follow Dr. King’s notion that instead of the arms race, we ought to be lifting up the human race. Instead of investing in more weapons of death and destruction, we ought to be investing in education and economic development, so that our people will have the opportunity to realize their potential.

Dr. King during his service said, “Now is the time.”

I offer the same supplication at this hour: NOW IS THE TIME!

Now is the time to move forward in a unified non-violent coalition to fulfill the promise of Democracy for all of our school family members.

Now is the time to make real the dream of freedom and justice, wherein each one reach and lift them to higher heights.

Now is the time to stand for PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES, so that we can truly develop unity, peace and world sisterhood and brotherhood.

Let me close using a story I call “Touched by and Angel.” There once was a man who died and was visited by an angel. The angel took the man to the kingdom, and on one side of the kingdom the man saw a huge banquet table with all the delicacies of life. Especially the things I like. There was fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas, candied yams and corn bread. Not only that, there was a salad bar for the vegetarians.

The point I want to make is that the food was top of the line, absolutely a delight for the palate. In fact, it was so good that your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to it.

But the man noticed something strange. The people were frail, there was no laughter, no joy, no mobility - and he asked the angel why, with all the delicious food, the people seemed so starved and unhappy.

The angel said “There is but one law in the entire kingdom.“ The man was puzzled, confused and didn’t understand. So the angel then took him to another side of the kingdom. On the other side the man found the same type of banquet table arrayed with the same delicate foods.

This time, however, the people looked healthy and happy. There was laughter in the air. The man asked the angel “What is the difference between the kingdoms?” The angel explained again that “There is but one law in the entire kingdom,” and that law is that you must use the eating utensils provided by the management.

The management provided utensils that were ten (10) feet long.

Now the first kingdom, where the bodies were frail and there was no laughter, the people were using ten-foot-long forks, knives, and spoons to try and feed themselves and because they could not, they were literally starving to death.

However, in the second kingdom, where there was laughter and bodies were healthy, and people were joyful - they were using the same ten-foot-long forks, knives and spoons, but they were reaching across the table feeding each other.

Over the years I have come to the frightening conclusion, that when it comes to doing something about PEACEFULLY RESOLVING OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES the most decisive individual in the school system to reach across the table and feed my constituents is ME.

I cannot shrink from my responsibility and you cannot shrink from your responsibility to reach across race, class, gender, religion, or any superficial barriers to start feeding each other.

No matter how arduous that task or how difficult the moment; we must continue to help each other.

We must continue to gain and regain our sense of mission and our sense of purpose.

We must not let ourselves or our people live below their potential.

We must fulfill the greatness within ourselves.

We must say to our people:

Do more than exist – achieve!

Do more than touch – comfort!

Do more than look – see!

Do more than listen – understand!

Do more talk - REMEMBER THE RARE BIRD - say something!

We must PEACEFULLY RESOLVE UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES to help our school family out of despair into delight.

Out of failure into success.

Out of condemnation into justification.

Out of grief into gladness.

Out of deficiency into efficiency.


Circumstances to be changed!
Difficulties to be dissolved!

Fears to be vanquished!
Nerves to be settled!

Heartaches to be healed!
Problems to be solved!

I’ve stopped by to invite you to continue standing tall! Continue to make a difference!

When PROUD is infused, angry winds and raging seas timidly curls up and flies away.

When PROUD is infused, chains begin to fall from bleeding ankles; and manhood; womanhood is lifted to a higher level of dignity!

When PROUD is infused, mystics become poets, Poets become anthem writers, anthem writers become philosophers, and philosophers become teachers!

When PROUD is infused, we lift each other up with a nurturing attitude, characterized by unselfish caring, supportiveness, and a willingness to share one’s time, talent and treasure.

When PROUD is infused, Civilization rises, educational, social, economical, and political systems undergo a positive change and we stand together forever and ever, because we are PROUD! PROUD! PROUD! PROUD! PROUD!

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail