The Citizens Campaign launches its Jersey City Education Sub-Committee

On Monday evening of July 21st, seven Jersey City residents volunteered and formed The Citizens Campaign Jersey City Educational Sub-Committee. Today’s educational breakout session served as a continuation from The Citizens Campaign First Jersey City Summit at City Hall on June 14, 2014, where Jersey City residents identified city-wide issues.

Today, the Education Sub-Committee narrowed the education city-wide issues into three priorities. The increase of parental and community involvement in schools was revered the highest on the list. Several sub-methods to increase involvement were discussed in great length, such as, outlining and creating visual profiles for each type of Jersey City parental and community member. From that first pic-tory, the sub-committee can show each profiles’ patterns, lifestyles, habits and needs. And further map out an engagement plan independent of each other. Another identified sub-method was the sharing of educational information among all the schools, each public non-charter and charter schools. Imagine a one-stop resource with all parent and community groups’ contact information or an online resource containing how-to-guides from existing local, successful fund-raising or outreach techniques? The approach to this issue would involve changing the culture of schools by creating a collaborative environment among teachers, parents and students. The Sub-Committee members agreed that the inhibiting cause has been the hierarchy of politics. And lastly, making information about all educational programs, parental and community groups readily available to all Jersey City newcomers was deemed to help new residents navigate through the Jersey City district with ease.

Other priorities identified and placed on the list of priorities were the outreach and support for troubled youth and civics leadership in education.

The Citizens Campaign has assigned the task to the Education Sub-Committee of researching how Jersey City or other cities are addressing each of these issues by the next follow-up meeting. The next meeting will target the solutions to the priorities chosen while making sure they follow The Citizen’s Campaign Four Guiding Principles:

– Community-Wide Benefit
– Evidence Based Solutions
– No-blame Implementation Approach
– Cost Effective Results

The seven volunteers to become The Citizens Campaign Jersey City Education Subcommittee are: Akisia Grigsby, Joel Torres, Roseangela Mendoza, Florence Holmes, Adam Jaegar, Caryn Rogoff and Jim Nelson.


Jersey City BOE Battle to Oust Superintendent Dr. Epps

The Jersey City Board of Education tonight attempted to approve a $268,000 settlement with Jersey City Superintendent Charles T. Epps Jr to leave the district in December 2011. There were 4 items on the agenda for the board members to vote on with the last item being “approving the resignation of Dr. Epps”. However, Dr. Epps didn’t even submit his letter of resignation!!!! Thus meaning that the entire meeting was pointless.

First of all, why did we, the people and Board Members, get a copy of his contract 15 minutes before the start of meeting? And then we are expected to read this document thoroughly and comment? And how are the Board Members to approve a resignation if Dr. Epps didn’t even submit his resignation letter? What kind of circus is going on here? It comes across that there is no communication and leadership at the board level to make sure organization occurs. Who is responsible for putting together paperwork for all these meetings? That person should be fired! I do know that changing Superintendents during the middle of the school year is not PRO KIDS! His contract was up June 2011. Why wasn’t this resolved before summer recess? Is there anyone in charge?

I won’t claim to know the intricacies of what goes on at the board level. Furthermore, I cannot say if Dr. Epps or the Board Members is good or bad. I hear a lot of chitter chatter on both sides of the spectrum causing me to not want to not be quick on chastising any one figure. There is a whole in the system. And we need to spend our time finding the hole and repairing it. There needs to be more parent leadership at the board level so that the disconnect between board members and students/parents isn’t so apparent.

I can not believe I spent 4 hours at a meeting that had no major resolution. This motivates me to be more active and involved so that our educational system gets better.

NJ Anti-Bullying Policy Promotes Criminal Profiling of Our Youth!

On September 22, 2011, I gave a speech at the Board of Education monthly meeting regarding the lack of education on this Anti-Bullying Policy amongst of Jersey City teachers, staff, parents and students. Here is the speech:


Hello my name is Akisia Grigsby.

Being a product of the Jersey City Public School system, a parent to an 8th grader, part of PS11’s Parent Council as well as a landlord and business owner of Jersey City, I want to take this opportunity to express my serious concern about the Jersey CIty Board of Education Anti-Bullying Policy and unintended impact on our children. I hope that every teacher, staff member and parent in this room will take a serious look at the policy and collectively work together to ensure that the policy is implemented in a way that protects our children both from bullies and from some of the unintended dangerous impact of the policy. Currently most teachers, staff and students whom I have spoken to claim that no one has gone over the Policy step by step nor explained the consequences stated in this Policy.

I became aware of the lack of education amongst our teachers and school staff when my son was mixed up in a wrongful accusation of Anti-Bullying around February 2011. The suspension against my son was rescinded in the end, but only after I made a call to a friend of mine who was our current President’s classmate at Harvard Law, so that she could review the documents and actions taken against my son.

My attorney pointed out a series of actions made in error based on the protocols listed in the Anti-Bullying Policy. PS11 staff members should not be blamed for anything. I just think proper education of the actual protocols and consequences need to be explained and enforced. I asked friends of mine who are various teachers from various Jersey City public schools about their perspectives on this policy. And they all told me the same thing. If any child accuses another of Bullying, the teachers don’t question it. They just send the kids to the office because they are too afraid to lose their jobs.

I am not hear to blame any of the staff. In fact, it requires knowing a little bit about law to understand this policy. In a Parent Council meeting, it came to my surprise that the Student Council President, who was made the leader of PS11’s Anti-Bullying Movement, was never required nor did he understand the way the language was written in this Policy. The parents were also not aware that once a child is accused of Bullying, an electronic record is sent to the Department of Education through the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System. Why is this important? When I mentioned this to the parents, they became quite upset. This is the start of direct criminal profiling of our kids at an early age. There is no way to determine the impact on a children’s future because of the criminalization and label as a bully at an early age. This should concern every parent in this room.

Most parents do not have the financial resources or connections to obtain a lawyer. Does this mean that their children should unjustly be labeled as a bully? Had I not been able to get an attorney involved, that’s exactly what would have happened to my child.  Budget cuts in education are being made at the state level. At the same time, more prisons are being built. One could make a correlation between our decreased ability to educate our kids in the Jersey City School System with the number of young people who are ending up in these prisons that are being built.

Although my son’s situation was resolved, I am here speaking on behalf of concerned parents. I am a victim of bullies when I was a child myself and believe that our kids should be protected from being bullied at school. I also believe that they should also be protected from the unintended impact of this policy and how its being implemented. Schools can and must do a better job in striking a balance between protecting our kids and criminalizing them at an early age which sets them on the path to prison.

I demand better education of the Policy line by line and consequences listed to all teachers, Parents Councils and Student Councils.


Protocols not being followed are in the following of the Anti-Bullying Policy:

File Code 5131.2 / page 3 / Section A / Steps

Lost 16lbs due to BeePollen

It was April 2010 when I noticed a dramatic weight loss in my sister and all her close friends. That was when she made me aware of a natural nutritional supplement called BeePollen. Because my sister was never into nutrition nor into a holistic approach to living, I never paid attention.

Meanwhile, months went on and I noticed that my weight gain kept increasing ever since 2 years ago when a cyst was discovered in my ovary. Cysts in ovaries are known to interfere with hormone levels thus affecting the thyroid or metabolism. The weight gain went from 145 lbs to a whopping 167 lbs by August 2010. I had always been skinny. And to now feel completely inflamed and uncomfortable within my skin caused me great discomfort. I use to be a gym rat but due to my increasing work schedule, my workouts dwindled. However, the lack of exercise and consistent regular proportioned nutritious meals did not call for this incredible rapid weight gain. Due to lack of insurance at the current moment, I felt like something else besides surgery had to give! I upped the ante on supplements since last year, yet still no avail.

In July 2010, my hubby, Ricky, decided to do research on the BeePollen supplement that my sister mentioned. Check out his research paper on Dr. Ricky William’s Blog. He made me aware of how beneficial this particular supplement actually is. I immediately ordered a bottle of BeePollen from the same place my sister ordered: and began taking my supplements August 16, 2010. At first I didn’t notice a weight change. However, my appetite decreased immediately. Soon the constant bloating sensation dissipated. It was only until about a month later when I noticed rapid weight loss.

Today I weighed myself. 153 lbs. And I have not worked out one bit. I do not recommend anyone to stop working out. I merely mention it here to emphasize that exercise has not been a contributing factor to this weight loss. Also my menstruation has regulated increasingly. Due to the cyst, my cycle had been every 23 days. For the past couple of months while on BeePollen, it has been regulating increasingly. Just this past month it went to a 28 day cycle. Also ever since the occurrence of the cyst, I would practically hemorrhage for 2 days during my menstruation with incredible clotting. This past month for the first time since before the cyst, my menstruation was bearable. I did not have to restrict myself to the indoors nor take Advil to suppress the heavy flow. My sex drive has also increased. A total feeling of wellness that I welcome!

Now I know the cause of my health problems have not seceded. And I know I must take care of it by getting an operation, which I am working on, in regards to health insurance. But in the meantime and even afterwards, this BeePollen supplement has provided my body with the needed nutrition to counteract the side affects of the cyst. And did I mention that due to the incredible amounts of energy given by this BeePollen, I have accomplished more in the past 2 months than I did all year-long!

If you are reading this article, I implore you to spread the word to your friends and physicians.

True Health vs Artificial Health

Everyday, I am amazed about what I learn on the body, the medical industry, the FDA, technology and old holistic ways of our ancestors that have existed for thousands and thousands of years. It almost seems as if we have been in the dark ages since the Library of Alexandria was destroyed by Napoleon. My assessment exists regardless of our superior technology. It’s as if humans are not spiritually ready to handle the technology that is available to us.

I would like to share some paragraphs from medical doctor, Alexis Carrel’s (1873-1944), “Man, the Unknown”.

“There are, as we know, two kinds of health, natural and artificial. Scientific medicine has given to man artificial health, and protection against most infectious diseases. It is a marvelous gift. But man is not content with health that is only lack of malady and depends on special diets, chemicals, endocrine products, vitamins, periodical medical examinations, and the expensive attention of hospitals, doctors, and nurses. He wants natural health, which comes from resistance to infectious and degenerative diseases, from equilibrium of the nervous system. He must be constructed so as to live without thinking about his health. Medicine will achieve its greatest triumph when it discovers the means of rendering the body and the mind naturally immune to diseases, fatigue, and fear. In remaking modern human beings we must endeavor to give them the freedom and the happiness engendered by the perfect soundness or organic and mental activities.

Artificial health does not suffice for human happiness. Medical examinations, medical care, are troublesome and often ineffectual. Drugs and hospitals are expensive. Men and women are constantly in need of small repairs, although they appear to be in good health. They are not well and strong enough to play their part of human beings fully. The growing dissatisfaction of the public with the medical profession is, in some measure, due to the existence of this evil. Medicine cannot give to man the kind of health he needs without taking into consideration his true nature. We have learned that organs, humors, and mind are one, that they are the result of hereditary tendencies, of the conditions of development, of the chemical, physical, physiological, and mental factors of the environment. That health depends on a definite chemical and structural constitution of each part and on certain properties of the whole. We must help this whole to perform its functions efficiently rather than intervene ourselves in the work of each organ. Some individuals are immune to infections and degenerative diseases, and to the decay of senescence. We have to learn their secret. It is the knowledge of the inner mechanisms responsible for such endurance that we must acquire. The possession of natural health would enormously increase the happiness of man

We have so far followed the easiest road. We now have to switch to rough ground and enter uncharted countries. The hope of humanity lies in the prevention of degenerative and mental diseases, not in the mere care of symptoms. The progress of medicine will not come from the construction of larger and better hospitals, of larger and better factories for pharmaceutical products. It depends entirely on imagination, on observation of the sick, on meditation and experimentation in the silence of the laboratory. And, finally, on the unveiling, beyond the proscenium of chemical structures, of the organismal and mental mysteries.”