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Diddy Speaks Up for Kelley Williams-Bolar, Governor Plans to Investigate

It appears that the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar is getting the kind of traction that can make a difference. Since we first wrote about Kelley on AOL Black Voices, the entire nation has taken notice. and have launched petitions that have garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures. Also, the story has gained national attention as a clear example of all that’s wrong with the educational system in America.

In case you haven’t seen the story, Kelley Williams-Bolar is the single mother of two who was sent to jail for sending her children to a school outside their district. In addition to being sent to jail, Williams-Bolar would have a felony record and not be able to ever teach again in the state of Ohio.The rapper P. Diddy took the initiative to send a message out to his 3.2 million Twitter followers.

“MAKE #KELLEYWILLIAMSBOLAR a TT! I want all 3M of yall 2 hit up @johnkasich and tell him Moms shouldnt go to jail for protecting their kids!”

In a related announcement, Ohio Governor John Kasich has offered to investigate Kelley’s case. On his website, the governor had this to say:

“Karen and I work hard to make a better future for our girls so when I first heard about Ms. Kelley Williams-Bolar’s case last week it really struck me, as it has many other people. My legal team has been reviewing it in detail and is in the process of talking to her lawyer, the prosecutor and the school district, in order to provide me a complete briefing.”

I can’t put into words how proud I am of Diddy. By taking a stand for a single mother under attack by the system, he is taking the lead on showing the amazing power of the hip-hop community when it comes to fighting for real change in America. It is my hope that in addition to speaking up on behalf of Kelley Williams-Bolar, young artists and their older managers will start to help the hip-hop music industry reclaim its rightful place among the great beacons of black American activism. The racial inequality which exists within the prison, educational and economic systems in America gives artists a whole lot of places to channel their talent and energy.

In terms of what else is happening on the ground, Rev. Al Sharpton and I are planning a town hall meeting and rally in Akron, Ohio tentatively scheduled for February 9. My goal is not to simply make sure that Kelley is taken care of, but to work hard for the millions of other mothers and fathers across America who are being held hostage by an inadequate educational system. Having allies like Diddy and others speaking up on for these causes is critical, and utilizing all black voices across America is important as well. We change the world if we are not afraid to try.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.