Category: Technology

Rep. Davis Gets Tech Support From Competition Winner

Thursday, January 31, 2019 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

Featured image: State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, Ronil Awalegaonkar and Congressman Danny K. Davis meeting in the congressman’s office on Jan. 26. | Submitted photo

During a brief ceremony on Jan. 26, at his district office in Chicago U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th), along with state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (8th), greeted sophomore Ronil Awalegaonkar with a certificate of recognition. Awalegaonkar was the 7th Congressional District winner of the 2018 Congressional APP Challenge, a nationwide competition for middle and high school students that encourages them to create new technologies.

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Village People: Tammera Holmes, Saved by Aviation

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Tammera Holmes, a Maywood native and founder of AeroStar Corporation. | AeroStar

Thursday, May 11, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On May 6, Tammera L. Holmes, a Maywood native and 1996 graduate of Proviso East High School, spoke at a monthly Maywood Youth Mentoring breakfast held at 200 S. 5th Ave.

Holmes, a public speaker and aviation consultant, is the founder of AeroStar Corporation — an entity she founded in 2008 in order to recruit more minority young people into aviation, aerospace and STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] careers.

Holmes, who has garnered numerous accolades and plenty of national media attention, explained to a roomful of young people how airplanes saved her life. Below is a loosely transcribed excerpt of her talk.

In Maywood, there’s a former air field that was called Checkerboard Field, which sits right across the street from Loyola. That’s where Bessie Coleman [the first African American woman to hold a pilot license], flew in shows.

I didn’t find out until I was in my 20’s that Bessie came to my neighborhood and that she took off from the same area where I had my 17th birthday party. That was during the year I fell in love with aviation. I really feel like I share a connection with Bessie and with the land, the legacy and the historic value of Maywood.

But at the same time, I have some bad memories growing up here in poverty. In elementary school, we had the same books our parents had when they were in school. You could tell who had the books before you because there were names signed in them. We would literally find our parents’ names and our aunts’ and uncles’ names in those books. That’s how old they were. Half of them were missing back and front covers, and were taped together.

But school was really easy for me. Life was hard. I was a really bad kid. I stayed in trouble. I was getting straight A’s but I wasn’t getting any money because of the behavior report on the other side of that report card.

I had a mother and a father at home and was still a plum fool every day I walked out of the house. Once, I got into a fight on 5th Avenue, near where Church’s Chicken, the Gospel Rack and Little Caesar’s used to be. It was a huge brawl — about 30 of us.

That day, I had changed into a mini skirt and some slippery church shoes (my parents didn’t know). I thought I was super cute. This girl and I had been going at it for years. She was my arch enemy and it was only a matter of time before it went down. After the fight, the police came and everybody ran except for me. While the police were taking me to the station I clearly heard a voice say, ‘It doesn’t matter how smart you are now, does it?’

I had a weapon on me — a huge chain with a giant lock on the end of it. I kept it on me for protection. I bust the girl’s head with it. I could’ve killed the girl. That fast, I could’ve been in jail. That’s how quickly your life can change if you don’t keep yourself out of those situations. Her mother could’ve pressed charges. The only reason she didn’t was because we went to the same church. Here we are going to the same church on Sunday but raising hell during the week.

By the time I graduated high school, half of the young men I went to elementary school with were dead or in jail. These were my buddies, my classmates. And to see it happening today? To say that it’s sad is an understatement. We have work to do as parents, as adults, to get our kids back on the right track, because we can’t lose another generation. I don’t know if Maywood will last.

Just three days ago, one of my best friend’s nephews was murdered on 21st and Washington Boulevard in a drive-by in the middle of the day. When I look at the news and see those faces, those are people I know, kids I watched play, babies’ diapers I changed, kids I babysat and pushed in the stroller.

I was fortunate. One day, when I was 16, my mom made me take a plane ride with the Chicago chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen at Meigs Field. I saw all these black guys with air planes giving kids rides and one asked me if I wanted to fly.

I was like, ‘This dude doesn’t know how crazy I am.’ But I did it. We flew over Lake Michigan on the most beautiful day, looking at the Chicago skyline. I told myself then that I may be able do this for the rest of my life. What I knew for sure is that I wouldn’t be in the back seat of a police car again.

Aviation saved my life because it gave me something to pursue, something to lose and something to live for.

Why aviation needs minority young people 

We’re at a crossroads in the United States, which ranks 20th in science and 27th in math among developed nations. Fifty percent of all freshmen entering high school in the United States won’t graduate on time and only 20 percent have post-secondary pathways that they’ll complete within five years. That means they won’t get a college degree and they won’t acquire hard skills.

Around 10,500 highly skilled employees are leaving the workforce every day, but we have so many young people and young adults who can’t replace them. Who’s qualified to work those jobs? That’s why each year the aerospace industry gives out 7,100 H-1B visas, which are given to people who come into our country to work. Those 7,100 jobs aren’t going to U.S. citizens.

Boeing put out a report in 2016 saying 1.5 million technicians, pilots and crew are going to be needed by 2035. Where will we get the people to fill them in 20 years? Are our kindergartners going to be able to take those jobs in 20 years? Not if they’re not trained. VFP

Maywood Youth Mentoring holds monthly breakfasts from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., on the first Saturday of each month, at 200 S. 5th Ave.

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C O N S I D E R  T H I S

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County Commissioner Calls for Moratorium on Facebook Live

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Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin during a press conference outside of Facebook’s Chicago headquarters on Friday. | Michael Romain/VFP

Sunday, April 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) — whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood and Melrose Park — staged a press conference Friday outside of Facebook’s Chicago headquarters in the West Loop.

Boykin — along with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pfleger, and a small group of experts in the fields of education, medicine, law enforcement and social services — called for the social media giant to institute a 30-day moratorium on its live-streaming service so that the company could consider reforming the technology.

The press conference comes in the wake of the killing of Robert Godwin, a Cleveland man who was shot to death on Easter Sunday by Steve Stephens, who apparently targeted Godwin randomly. Stevens later posted Godwin’s murder on Facebook before committing suicide on April 18.

“The death of Mr. Godwin, the crucifixion of Mr. Godwin on Resurrection Sunday, stayed on Facebook for more than two hours,” said Boykin at the April 21 press conference. “That should never happen. Not in America.”

Boykin and others who spoke at the press conference referenced other acts of violence that have been posted to Facebook.

“There must be a floor of decency beneath which we are unwilling to go,” Boykin said. “The live-streaming of rapes, murders, suicides and vicious assaults is that floor that we must never go beneath.”

Boykin said that he sent a letter to Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, asking the billionaire to implement the 30-day moratorium and to put an emergency button in place to notify Facebook administrators that “a vile video has been posted.”

The commissioner also asked for the company to implement a measure that would prevent those videos from being shared with third parties other than law enforcement.

“We’re calling on Facebook to have corporate responsibility,” said Pfleger. “I appreciate when Facebook puts out statements of sympathy when somebody’s been raped or shot or killed on Facebook Live. But sympathy is not good enough. We need corporate action and corporate responsibility.”

Pfleger argued that Facebook should be as vigilant with protecting human life as it is with protecting property rights.

“I can’t even tell you how much violence in the neighborhoods, in my neighborhood, that is sparked and birthed on social media,” Pfleger said.

“I don’t quite understand. I do Facebook Live and behind me Stevie Wonder’s song is playing. They will immediately shut it down because I don’t have property rights to play that song in the background of my Facebook Live.

“If we have intellectual rights and copyright protections, why would we not have human life protection? So when 14- and 15-year-olds are on Facebook and Facebook Live wielding guns around, which is illegal, why is that not immediately shut down?”

Jackson said that he called Facebook’s California office earlier this month but has not yet gotten a response from the company. Boykin said that Zuckerberg hasn’t responded yet to his letter.

Jackson nonetheless called for an emergency meeting with Facebook leadership to try to resolve some of the problems with its live-streaming service.

Facebook officials could not be reached for comment. VFP

P A I D  A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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