by Dwayne T. Ervin
The Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA) held a “Write to Achieve!” (WTA!) pep rally with poets, tumblers and music for students in grades 5 to 12 at UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave. last Thursday.
“Hot Boys,” from Power 92.3 hosted the rally and stressed the importance of writing and using it as a way to positively express emotions. ”Sometimes you have to work to play,” one of the Hot Boys said. Derrick Taylor, owner and operator member of BMOA, asked the students to write a 200 words or less essay about living together, loving each other and stopping the violence.
Three poets gave a spoken word to encourage students to participate. Deana Dean spoke to the young women about respect. As part of a group of artist called “Chicago Poetry Underground,” (CPU) Dean has opened up for Brian McKnight, Syleena Johnson and Tyrese at the ”Expo For Today’s Black Woman.”
Khari B. talked about different types of music and has been performing poetry since 1992, where he has used his talent of poetry to reach, teach, and entertain young people. J.Ivy gave a spoken word about how writing has inspired him and told the children to write when they are happy or sad. He has worked with Kanye West on the album “College Dropout,” and had three appearances on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam.” Ivy supports the community through the “Dream Big Project,” which encourages young people to explore careers in the arts.
Each of the participants received a gift bag which included a “Writing to Achieve,” journal, pen and tshirt. The BMOA launched WTA! during the 2003-2004 school year in 17 Chicago Public Schools. In its six-year history, the organization targets students in 5th through 12th grades and seeks to improve writing skills, enhance creativity and provide a comfortable outlet by encouraging students through creative expression. With the intent of raising standards and improving overall academic achievement, WTA! provides a stepping-stone to encourage and empower students to strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives.
The Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA) of Chicago is a membership organization comprised of 17 Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana area McDonald’s restaurant owners. In addition to contributing to the success of McDonald’s brand name, BMOA of Chicago is also committed to exhibiting leadership, supporting education and developing partnerships within the African American communities they serve.