By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
Umar Abdullah-Johnson, PhD, spoke to a packed room at Greater New Psalmist Church in Toledo on Thursday, August 11 and received a standing ovation from the crowd. The event was organized by Shannon Riven, who gave greetings and introduced the featured speaker.
“I would like to welcome you to my very first event here, in a place that has always been my home, Toledo. My heart is so full today and has been everyday leading up to this moment. I am so humbled, grateful and blessed. There was a time when I had no idea what my passion or purpose was, until one day, almost six years ago. I felt my heart strings being pulled to activate the greatness inside of me, by any means, and not only in me, but in my people. We are powerful, we are resilient,” said Riven.
Umar Abdullah-Johnson was born in Philadelphia, is a motivational speaker, author and licensed child psychologist who focuses on Pan-Africanism. Johnson has been featured on News One Now, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Bev Smith Show and The Breakfast Club.
Johnson has authored Psycho-Academic Holocaust, The Special Education & ADHD War Against Black Boys, and Black Parent Advocate, The Art of War dealing with America’s Public & Charter Schools. In addition to speaking and writing, Johnson is founder and president of the National Independent Black Parent Association and currently building a new charter school. For additional information visit https://www.drumarjohnson.com.
Johnson spoke directly about the special education system, the history and how parents should advocate against it.
“I’ve been to Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati, so many times. Somehow never managed to make today happen sooner, but I’ve been ready to make this day happen. Parents, let me begin with you first. I’m a school psychologist at my heart and have evaluated children that ended up in special education. Special education is a part of the school to prison pipeline. It was established in 1975 because they couldn’t use race as a factor to segregate, so white folks said, let’s start a mentally gifted program. The mentally gifted program was started to help white kids escape integrated classes. Special education is a business, a hustle off the backs of black boys. Parents the system won’t work without your participation, you have to sign your four times before they are put into the system,” explained Johnson.
In addition to hearing from the featured speaker, the event opened with prayer, singing of the Black National Anthem and reading of two spoken words. Johnson also remained after his speech to facilitate a question and answer session and sign copies of his most recent book.
The event organizer publicly thanked the following individuals, businesses and organizations: Greater New Psalmist Church, Bishop Brehon Hall and staff; Scrumptious Baby Cakes and Letitia McKinley; Salon Onyx and Alina Dunbar; Taylor Automotive Community and Ambassador Terry Crosby; CSRN Network and Washington Muhammad; KLC Transportation-Ohio and Pamela Johnson; Rochell McCallum of Baltimore; Brandon Crosby; The Sojourner’s Truth newspaper and Annette Crosby; and also, Azzie’s Creations.
Greater New Psalmist Church is located at 3251 Glendale Ave under the leadership of Bishop Brehon Hall, PhD. Known as “A City of Refuge,” the ministry was started in 1999 and has seen 1,300 join the ministry that has impacted thousands in the northwest Ohio area. For additional information visit the website http://brehonhall.com/gnpc/.