Education Reporter, Laura Onyeneho
A teachers hugs a student arriving at Uvalde Elementary for the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in Uvalde. Students in Uvalde are returning to campuses for the first time since the shootings at Robb Elementary where two teachers and 19 students were killed. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Back to school for Uvalde students

Uvalde students returned to the classrooms this week, more than three months after 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School. Families struggle to overcome their mistrust of local school leaders and law enforcement. In July, the Uvalde school board unanimously voted to delay the start of school from Aug 16 to Sept 6 to improve security measures on campus and to give district staffers trauma-informed training, including upgrades on door locks and increased presence of police officers. But there is still concern about whether officers who did not step up to protect the school during the shooting will now be responsible for campus safety. Some parents have opted for virtual learning, while others turned to private schools. I might not be a parent yet, but I empathize with how they must feel. Who knows what major event it would take for the Texas legislature to consider changes to the state’s gun laws? If the tragedy doesn’t impact their families, why would they care?

Biden-Harris to strengthen relationship with Africa

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are reviving U.S relations with Africa starting with Harris’ meeting with Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Washington this month. The strategy outlined several priorities, including fair and transparent elections in 2023 and security challenges, the climate crisis, and COVID-19 recovery. This comes ahead of the African leader’s summit to be hosted by President Biden in December. Do you all remember former President Donald Trump’s remarks on African nations being “s-hole” countries? Well, the current administration is trying to make up and play catch up with China and Russia’s influence on the continent. There is so much to dissect here. Nigeria is under religious and political turmoil far beyond the cute photo-ops and promises. We all know the negative impact the western world has had on Africa. Is the U.S truly intentional about its “new vision” for this relationship? Has the U.S cleaned up its internal problems before running to fix another continent? 

Nigerian Music Awards receives mixed reviews.

Afrobeats fans were tuned into the 15th annual Headies Awards [Nigerian music award show) that was held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA. It was the first time the award was held on U.S soil and was hosted by Nigerian-American actress Osas Ighodaro and Hollywood actor Anthony Anderson. 

Several Nigerian superstars were honored at the ceremony with 38 award categories ranging from Song of the Year to Best West African artiste of the year. 

Wizkid, Davido, Rema, Tiwa Savage, Terms, and Chris Brown were recognized during the event. I felt this was a good step in the right direction to bridge the gap between the diaspora and Africa. The Afrobeats genre has made significant strides internationally. The cross-over appeal is evident in the famous U.S.-based collaborations with Beyoncé, Drake, French Montana, Da Baby, P Diddy, Meek Mills, and others. On the other hand, there are some native Africans who question why an indigenous music award show would be hosted in the states and co-hosted by someone who doesn’t necessarily have a connection to the Nigerian entertainment industry. Some critiques online were concerned about the need to find validation from America and whether America would consider hosting one of its famous award ceremony in another country. The quickest answer to that would probably be a “NO.” Regardless, this is the first awards ceremony based here. The only thing in life that is consistent is change. This was a good trial run, and with time and good CONSTRUCTIVE feedback, the awards will certainly measure up to the expectations of the most demanding critics… I hope. 

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...