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ICVR tries writing a new history | Community Spirit

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ICVR tries writing a new history
ICVR tries writing a new history

The following is from an email sent to Today's THV:

A national project called PEN OR PENCIL Writing A New History is beginning in Pine Bluff supported and endorsed by U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and former U.S. Attorney Jane W. Duke is aimed at changing this bleak picture.

PEN OR PENCIL Writing A New History is a sound investment for federal decision makers, corporate promotions and philanthropic priorities. Currently, no empirical evidence exists to identify “promising” or “effective” practices regarding race and ethnicity in mentoring programs. Consistent with findings in the HHS brief, PEN OR PENCIL Writing A New History will provide the parameters necessary to examine African American youth independently from other youth, a problem that has impeded the ability to determine the unique implications of racial matching. In addition, it provides an invaluable opportunity to work with federal partners like the National Park Service to cultivate national solidarity within the broader African American landscape around the needs of youth and importance of intergenerational interventions and history’s relevance. The Department of Justice has made funds available to implement this project in twelve states including Arkansas. 

The Interested Citizens for Voter Registration, Inc. (ICVR) Arkansas’ affiliate for the PEN OR PENCIL Initiative [PEN stands for Penitentiary and PENCIL stands for education]. With Arkansas on the brink of building two additional prisons at a cost of $184 million dollars we believe if something is not done in the schools to turn this around blacks will continue to fill the prisons in Arkansas. Incarceration costs, on average, $22,650 a year per person, with some states spending as much as $44,000. Economists have calculated that each black male who graduates from high school is associated with a savings to the criminal justice system of more than $55,000 (the estimate accounts for the expense of trials, sentencing, and incarceration). If U.S. high schools and colleges raise the graduation rates of Hispanic, African American, and Native American students to the level of white students by 2020, the potential increase in personal income would add more than $310 billion to the U.S. economy at a time when the country needs all the savings it can get. Increasing the graduation rate and college matriculation of male students in the U.S. by just 5% could lead to a combined savings and revenue of almost $8 billion each year by reducing crime related cost. The majority of the prisons in Arkansas are filled with African Americans and it is critical that we succeed with PEN OR PENCIL.

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