Education With A Purpose Provides More Scholarships For Birmingham Students
Educational inequality between low-income communities and the rest of the country has been on the rise in recent decades. It’s a problem faced by too many of Birmingham’s residents.
District 8 Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt knows that when trying to further one’s education every single dollar counts. For the last six years, Hoyt’s “Education with a Purpose” scholarship program, working in conjunction with community leaders, has helped provide over $50,000 in scholarships to Birmingham students.
Anthony Marino, owner of Marino’s Market in Ensley, said Education with a Purpose provides the opportunity for every high school senior in Birmingham City Schools to apply for the scholarship funding. They are required to submit an essay detailing how they can make a positive impact in their community.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for us to give back to the community and our youth who are trying to get an education and push themselves forward,” Hoyt said during the scholarship presentation in the City Council chambers on June 12.
Last month, students from six of Birmingham’s high schools received a total of $8,500 in scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000. Moved by the presentation, Council President Valerie Abbott pledged $500 for Education With a Purpose scholarship fund in her brother’s honor — the James S. Anderton Scholarship.
Abbott’s gesture sparked a spirit of giving as Marino and the owner of Green Acres restaurant followed by pledging an additional $1,000 for next year’s James S. Anderton scholarship fund.
“This is what education is about,” Hoyt said. “If we are participating and helping these young people to one day change the world, we have to make sure they have what they need to succeed. I thank everyone who played a part in making this happen.”
On Tuesday, seven more students received additional scholarship funding, including a scholarship given in the honor of Mike Anderton. Abbott pledged $500 to the fund. “The spirit is moving in here,” Hoyt said. “It’s just a beautiful thing to see.”
Consent Agenda and Addressing Violence
Every item on Tuesday’s agenda passed on consent, making for a streamlined council meeting.
“We put items on consent, when they are noncontroversial. Is anyone here that wants to speak to an item we placed on consent?” Council President Valerie Abbott asked those who had gathered in the chamber. “I don’t see anyone jumping up and down so I guess that means we’re done with the agenda items.”
During the speakers portion of the meeting, neighborhood advocate Iva Williams, addressed the recent fatal shooting outside a west Birmingham Shell gas station.
“A bullet doesn’t have a name on it,” Williams said. “This is a concern for people who live next to these businesses…Is there no way we can get more police presence to patrol the area? We’ve been out there with Faith in Action, walking that block on Sundays, trying to share the word of God…Can we get the church community to come out this Sunday and flood that block with people praying and citizens supporting other neighborhoods?”
Councilor Hunter Williams, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said he plans to have discussions about possible steps to prevent future incidents from occurring.
“I think that until we are able to put something into an ordinance, I would like to ask the mayor’s office to have an increased police presence, especially if they are selling gas for 99 cents and obstructing the flow of traffic. I would ask you all address that until we can come up with a more permanent solution,” Williams said.
Councilor Lashunda Scales believes a more proactive approach needs to be taken in order to curb violent crime. “You can’t see inside the convenience store because it has signs in all the windows. I don’t know if we are waiting until people get killed until we decide to do something,” Scales said. “This has been a problem for a long time. If you’re already in a challenged community, where we know there is high crime, why would we not patrol those communities more? I’m looking for equity. That’s all anyone is asking for. We have to make this a priority.”