Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank You Bill Cosby

The Peoria Association Of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal wishes to thank comedian and actor Dr. Bill Cosby for his reflections of his past, the community and our collective future in the education of our children.

On Monday Jan. 19th 2009 Dr. Cosby was the guest speaker at the M.L. King Jr. Holiday celebration held at the Peoria Civic Center. Born in the late 1930's Mr. Cosby's reflections of his personal experiences and family members went back more than 2 generations to his Grandfather who was born in the 1800's. It was from this wealth of wisdom and experience that Dr. Cosby conducted his speech to an audience of over 2000 and a parent session with children of over 100 afterward.

To diffuse any negative overtones normally associated with Dr. Cosby's presentation, it should be noted that he often spoke poignantly and clearly regarding the current condition of the modern family and the historical problems associated with childhood abandomnent, neglect and sexual abuse. Dr. Cosby also offerd a range of examples including white and black individuals for the purpose of his speech and encouragements, and consequentely comments were directed across the board to all citizens who would seek to understand the resultant problems of very difficult and sometimes highly sensitive situations that he addressed.

One of the issues that Dr. Cosby clearly identified as both problematic to his family and the community in which he grew up was the rampant and devastating effects of alchohol and alchoholism. He described that his passion to speak to the community was born out of situations in which he and his siblings witnessed his father abuse his mother while under the influence of alchohol and further cause the family to be displaced both physically and financially because of this choice. As an association of Pastors we reverberate those same sentiments because the effects of alchoholism are readily seen within the Peoria community and even so it seems that the city is intent on siding with liquior expansion. As an association we stand firmly against such efforts to expand what is called the 4 AM zone.

Dr. Cosby also distinguished the difference between past generations and current culture which seeks to glorify negatives and cling to harmful images of death destruction and mysoginistic attitudes towards women. For those who have studied this issue it is easy to observe that his comments were directed toward the current inculturations and trends that we see that encompass racial and gender boundaries. One such study that I have done can be found both HERE and HERE.
Dr. Cosby also gave wonderful examples of how education can reach and lift our children. In a stunning example Dr. Cosby pretended to be a student and asked a teacher to explain why he should learn and be excited about learning math. After some consternation and a few failed attempts to provide a motivating answer, dr. Cosby explained that the modern teaching professional must approach their student with the same enthusiasm with which they approach their profession. In other words if the teaching profession is not excited about what they do, how can they expect the student to be excited about it? Secondly, he explained that from the chair that the student sits in unto the lights that hang in the ceiling that math was used to make it all work. Third, he also explained that even the video games that many of our children commonly play was based on mathematical equations and individuals who loved and understood math enough to not only shape their financial futures but the future of nations.

Dr. Cosby's visit was more than worth the time effort and energy to bring him here and his message was highly on point and pertinent to our current situation. We encourage Peoria School District 150 to involve themselves more in the philosophical views of Dr. Cosby. In contrast to the Pacific Institute, we find Dr. Cosby's material to be more in line with what students from a diverse setting actually need, more in tune with the devastating effects of life situations on the classroom educational environment and most importantly NOT a religious or humanism indoctrination effort that the Pacific Institute has peddled to PPSD 150.

Therefore we wish to thank Dr. Cosby for his appearance and in our opinion he can't return quickly enough to provide more educational insights and wisdom.

Pastor Harvey Burnett
Exec. Director

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