Mr. Joe Mathos,
Deputy Superintendent for Education.
Mr. Nelson Perez, Associate Superintendent Bureau
of Adult/ Vocational Alternative and Dropout Prevention
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 SCHOOLS FAMILYS 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 theres
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
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 ones 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 doesnt bite. The
man said thats correct, My dog doesnt
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 ones
own culture; ones own understanding of family, ones
self, ones tribe, ones neighborhood, ones
community, ones state, and ones 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.
WE ARE LIVING IN A DIVERSE WORLD
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
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
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,
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:
His mother replied, Well, he should have
said something. If you dont 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.
Im not talking about just Cuba, Haiti, El Salvador,
We have students who are Portuguese, Vietnamese, Russian
and a host of other nationalities.
Weve 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 were 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
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
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
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
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!
I am proud of you because you are PERSISTENT,
PREVAILING, PERSUASIVE AND PEACEFUL.
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 UNSELFISH,
UNDAUNTED, UNDERSTANDING AND UPLIFTING.
I am proud of you because you are DEDICATED,
DISCIPLINED, DETERMINED, AND DEPENDABLE.
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
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
We must teach others to do more than lecture about PEACEFULLY
RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES. We must help them to
NEW WORLD LEADER
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
Is a decorated war hero. He is a vegetarian, doesnt
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 isnt it?
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
You cannot always judge a book by its cover. That type
of judgment is the reason
PEACEFULLY RESOLVING OUR UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES is so
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
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
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. Kings 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
Dr. King during his service said, Now is the
I offer the same supplication at this hour: NOW IS
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
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 didnt 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
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
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
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.
PEACEFULLY RESOLVING UNSETTLED DIFFERENCES offers us
an opportunity for:
Circumstances to be changed!
Difficulties to be dissolved!
Fears to be vanquished!
Nerves to be settled!
Heartaches to be healed!
Problems to be solved!
Ive 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 ones
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!