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19 January, 2018

HOUSE OF UMOJA,, INC. TURNS 50, FOCUSES ON EDUCATION

CONTACT:
Queen Mother Falaka Fattah
House of Umoja, Inc.
(215) 473-5893
E-Mail: falakafattah@aol.com


The results of the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone examinations released on 27 September 2017 by the Pennsylvania Department of Education show an improvement in academic performance of students attending public schools in the School District of Philadelphia. A press release issued by the School District of Philadelphia (https://www.philasd.org/blog/2017/09/27/philadelphias-students-make-academic-gains), reflected the fact that students at every grade level, as an example, Grades 3 through 7, showed improvements in reading. The largest gains in reading were made by students in the third grade. As the House of Umoja, Inc. (www.houseofumoja.net) approaches its 50th anniversary, it is focusing on the education of all children in the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area. This focus comes on the heels of the House of Umoja, Inc.’s 10th anniversary as the leader and organizer for the National Million Father March in Philadelphia. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic school year, the internationally acclaimed organization utilized the National Million Father March in Philadelphia as a platform to publicly set a city-wide goal of improving the literacy rate for all boys and young adolescents males enrolled in the School District of Philadelphia. Boys and young adolescent males underperform their female counterparts in reading, writing, and reading comprehension – locally, nationally, and globally.


 “We are thrilled to see an increase in the literacy rate of students enrolled in the third grade in Philadelphia schools --- particularly, among African American and Hispanic males and students with Individualized Education Plans. At the proficient and advanced reading levels, the scores for African American male students reflected an increase of +5% points. The scores for Hispanic male students reflected an increase of +6% points and the scores of students with Individualized Education Plans reflected an increase of +5% points. The increases that we are witnessing are the direct result of collaborative efforts of parents, educators, school administrators, and concerned citizens in the City of Philadelphia – and we applaud their efforts. Similar increases in proficiency in a number of other subjects in other grade levels – particularly at the high school level -- occurred. The House of Umoja, Inc. and the City of Philadelphia’s National Million Father March endorses and supports the School District of Philadelphia’s Anchor Goal One – having 100% of all students graduating from public high schools ready for college or a career. We also endorse and support Anchor Goal Two set by the Philadelphia School District – to make sure that 100% of all eight year old students attending public schools are reading on their grade level,” remarked Mr. David Fattah, the Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia’s National Million Father March.

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Established in September 1968 by Queen Mother Falaka Fattah, the House of Umoja, Inc. has positively transformed the lives of approximately 3,000 adolescent young males. The globally acclaimed organization successfully negotiated an end to years of bloody and deadly gang violence in 1974, when leaders of gangs throughout the City of Philadelphia signed the Imani Peace Pact which was authored by Mr. David Fattah, the husband of Queen Mother Falaka Fattah. In 2006, the House of Umoja, Inc. responded to escalating violence and homicides by embarking upon a journey to move a new generation of children and youths to commit to nonviolence throughout the City of Philadelphia. It launched the Faith of Our Fathers Peace Campaign through the 2006 Stay Alive IMANI Youth Anti-Violence Conference which was a Kwanzaa celebration and a forum where barriers to peace were discussed. The Faith of Our Fathers Peace Campaign continues to move a new generation of Philadelphia’s children and youths to commit to nonviolence by signing the Imani Peace Pledge ™ which is based on the Imani Peace Pact. The House of Umoja, Inc. established “Partnerships for Peace” with the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Atwater-Kent Museum, Keepers of the Culture Storytellers, and the print and electronic media which included Radio Station WXPN, major Philadelphia newspapers – The Philadelphia Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Weekly, These four newspapers published an article concerning the Faith of Our Fathers Peace Campaign and the full text of the Imani Peace Pledge ™ during the week of 10-14 April 2006 which was the Spring vacation for the School District of Philadelphia. It was a time during which students in Philadelphia’s schools would have access to and read the newspapers – particularly the article concerning the Faith of Our Fathers Peace Campaign and the full text of the Imani Peace Pledge ™. Thousands upon thousands of school children throughout the City of Philadelphia read the Imani Peace Pledge™ published in the city’s newspapers, signed the Pledge, and mailed the signed Pledge to the House of Umoja, Inc.


In 2008, as its 40th anniversary approached, the House of Umoja, Inc. saw more worlds to conquer. In the summer of 2008, the House of Umoja, Inc. launched a multi-tiered Think Green Peace Campaign which is viewed by many as a global model for environmental and economic sustainability, community development, health and wellness, holistic living, and peace. One of the tiers of the Think Green Peace Campaign came in the form of a “Peace Garden” and the transformation of vacant lots into gardens that yield vibrantly hued flowers and thirty (30) varieties of edible vegetables. At the edge of the “Peace Garden”, a hole is formed. Members of the community are asked to write their grievances on biodegradable napkins which they bring to the “Peace Garden” and bury their anger, sadness, and disappointment in its deep hole. The hole is then covered with dirt. Through its Think Green Peace Campaign, the House of Umoja, Inc. has created pathways to economic sustainability and spiritual, emotional, and psychological healing for communities.


The fact that Philadelphia is a “City of Champions” and some of the world’s prominent Thought Leaders, creative geniuses, educators, scientists, public policy makers, journalists, sports champions, and social entrepreneurs call Philadelphia their home was not lost on the House of Umoja, Inc. In 2015, the House of Umoja, Inc. launched the inaugural “I Love Philly” observance on Saturday, 14 February 2015 with a heavily attended “I Love Philly” Rally which was held at Love Park located across from Philadelphia’s City Hall.


Cognizant of the House of Umoja, Inc.’s successful track record of transforming and working with youths, universities and institutions that include, but are not limited to, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention and the Center for Disease Control, seek the expertise of Queen Mother Falaka Fattah and her husband Mr. David Fattah in the areas of gang reduction, youth programming, and community organizing. Former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and the late Ronald Reagan have recognized the House Of Umoja, Inc. for its pioneering work which has been documented in published articles such as A Summons To Life, by Robert Woodson of the American Enterprise Institute in 1981 and The Violent Juvenile Offender by Paul DeMuro and Richard Allison of the National Council On Crime And Delinquency in 1984.

For further information about the House of Umoja, Inc.’s focus on education and its 50th anniversary, call (215) 473-5893 or send an e-mail to falakafattah@aol.com, or visit the organization’s website at www.houseofumoja.net.

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