Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wake Up Everybody



Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed

No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead

The world has changed so very much

From what it used to be so

there is so much hatred war an’ poverty

Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way

Maybe then they’ll listen to whatcha have to say

Cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands

when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.

The world won’t get no better if we just let it be

The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.

Wake up all the doctors make the ol’ people well

They’re the ones who suffer an’ who catch all the hell

But they don’t have so very long before the Judgement Day

So won’tcha make them happy before they pass away.

Wake up all the builders time to build a new land

I know we can do it if we all lend a hand

The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind

Surely things will work out they do it every time.

Reprinted from

Originally posted by Biko Baker

Emerging and Surpassing: A Prodigy Excels at Morehouse

13-year-old student wows Morehouse

Stephen Stafford II in front of MLK statue on campus.

by Kalin Thomas

As a 13-year-old, Lithonia resident Stephen Stafford II can usually be found sitting in front of the television playing video games or playing his drum set. But Stafford is no typical 13-year old – he’s a college student. The triple-major child prodigy is becoming a sensation at Morehouse College.

“I’ve never taught a student as young as Stephen, and it’s been amazing,” said computer science professor Sonya Dennis. “He’s motivating other students to do better and makes them want to step up their game.”

“When I saw how much knowledge Stephen has at such a young age, I wondered what I had been doing with my life,” laughed third-year student, Eric Crawford. A psychology major and computer science minor, Crawford wanted to step up his game so much that he got Stephen to tutor him. “Even though I’m older, Stephen is like a mentor and my elder in computer science,” said Crawford.

“Eric’s a really fun person to be around, and we have a good time together,” said Stafford.

Crawford added, “Stephen has a lot of patience with me. I got a 95 in the class because of Stephen.”

Even at age 11 when Stafford started at Morehouse, he got the highest score in his pre-calculus class. “He breezes through whatever I throw at him. If it’s an hour lab, he can do it in 20 or 30 minutes,” said Dennis.

Stafford said he isn’t nervous about studying with students much older than himself. “I just do what I always did. I show up, I do the work, and I go home,” he said.

When talking to Stafford, it’s easy to forget his age. But his age shows when he’s playing video games or even at dinner, where he eats while also trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Still, Stafford finds it hard to relate to teens his age. “I relate better to Eric…most kids my age don’t know when to stop playing around and when to be serious,” he said.

Stafford’s mother, Michelle Brown-Stafford, home-schooled both her children (Stephen has an older sister also in college) and believes that parental involvement is essential for students to excel. But when she realized her son was starting to teach her instead of being taught, she knew he needed to be in a college environment.

“It was surreal because on one hand he’s talking about technical things I didn’t even understand, and on the other hand he was asking me to come watch Sponge Bob with him. So it was bittersweet to let him go.”

Brown-Stafford wondered if there were other parents who shared her experiences with a gifted child, so she helped found a support group:

And the Morehouse family has become a support group for Stafford, personifying the African proverb about it taking a village to raise a child. Stafford is too young to stay on campus, so his mother picks him up and drops him off each day. The students protect him and make a point not to curse or discuss certain mature issues around him, according to his mother and Stafford. Even the staff of Jazzman’s CafĂ©, where Stafford tutors Crawford, helps nurture Stephen into becoming a “Morehouse Renaissance Man”–well-spoken, well-dressed, well-read, well-traveled, and well-balanced. The cafe’s general Manager, Darren Page, added an unofficial principle: well-fed. “A Morehouse Man cannot study on an empty stomach,” said Page. So whenever Stafford comes to Jazzman’s, Page gives up his own employee meal for the 13-year-old.

It seems that everyone wants to be a part of helping Stafford graduate in 2012, and go on to Morehouse School of Medicine. And because of a Georgia law that requires a student to be 16 to graduate high school, he’ll be getting his high school diploma the same year he receives his college degrees in math, computer science and pre-med.

“Kids will live up to your expectations. But I ultimately want Stephen to be happy,” said Stephen Stafford Sr. Brown-Stafford added, “I want him to be well-rounded and still connect with kids his own age, so we put him in DeKalb County’s 4-H Club and other programs.” She added that she’s thankful to the Morehouse family for embracing her son.

“I want to see what Stephen becomes 10 years from now,” said Crawford. Page added, “I want to be at his graduation. And then I want to walk by and touch the [campus] statue of Dr. Martin Luther King and recognize I had a role in [Stephen] walking in Martin Luther King’s footsteps.” And how fitting, since Dr. King entered Morehouse at age 15.

So to put a spin on Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Stephen is being judged by the content of his character, not by his age.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Dear Members and Friends of ECN:

Over the past 42 hours we have watched the worst kind of devastation happen to the Haitian people. I can not help but feel an overwhelming sense of pain, fear, heartbreak and frustration as story after story talks about the present need for water, medical help, electricity, heavy equipment to move rubble and a coordinated effort to field questions and receive and distribute aid to everyone.

All day long, I have been getting emails and calls asking what we can do. Many of us on the Gulf Coast of America remember what it was like in those immediate hours and days following the vicious slams of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Life, at this moment, is critical and medical help is paramount.

Dr. Evan Lyon and Jill Petty, who have a long relationship to Haiti, have offered us an opportunity to send some direct help. Evan used to work fulltime for an international health services organization called Partners In Health (PIH), and spent most of his medical career going back and forth between managing a health clinic in a rural section of Haiti and teaching at a hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The director of Partners in Health is Paul Farmer; I don’t know if Farmer has received a Nobel prize, but he has probably got just about all the other awards similar to that. I think he is an ambassador now; works closely with Bill Clinton.

Evan still works with PIH a lot, and still goes to Haiti on a frequent basis. His soul is rooted with the people there. While here in Alabama he is working part time with Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and full time with the Montgomery Aids Outreach, setting up an HIV/AIDS clinic in Selma. Googling Evan Lyon, Partners in Health, and Paul Farmer will pull up all kinds of stuff about them.

Evan and his wife Jill have asked that we donate to Partners In Health (PIH). This organization has very low overhead, has a trusted history and will know where to get the resources. PIH has set up small hospitals and clinics in the rural parts of Haiti. Since the main hospital in the capital city there is now destroyed, people are being transported to the PIH health facilities now. The tricky part is, Haiti does not really have roads as we know them; the infrastructure there was already pretty barren. Add to that, all the rubble and we have a logistical catastrophe. But people are going to do what they can to get people to those PIH facilities. Those facilities will surely do what they can to get their resources to the people. Please visit this link below and give, today.

With all of our thanks and love,

Jessica Norwood
Evan Milligan
Demetrius L. Bass
Teumbay Barnes
Marquelon Sigler
June Weston
Rod Barge
Regina Moorer
Patrick Grayson
and the Emerging ChangeMakers Network