Black, Korean Leaders Come Together to Give a Scholarship to the Girl who Never Missed a Day of School

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Bradshaw3.jpg
At exactly noon on Monday, 16-year-old Bria Bradshaw and her mother Charmaine walked into Tommy Pak's Kwik Stop in South Dallas, then stopped short. There was a horde of men and women in the convenience store, black and Korean, and most were in suits. There were video cameras set up toward the back, by the beer fridges, and photographers were on one knee, furiously clicking away.

"Surprise!" everyone yelled.

Bria still didn't know what was going on. Then, someone procured the money: three large checks equaling $13,500 that would go toward her college tuition when she graduates from Hillcrest High School next year. That's when Charmaine started to cry.

"Bria had no clue," Mickey Wright said, beaming and hugging everyone. "She had no clue."

Her largest benefactor, a new coalition between the Justice Seekers and Korean Society in Dallas called the Global Unified Educational Scholarship Society, named the scholarship the Bria Bradshaw Scholarship and contributed $10,000. It'll go to students in the Dallas community who, like Bria, never, ever missed a day of school.

If you've been keeping up with the Kwik Stop saga lately, you'll know that it took awhile to get to Korean and black community leaders making nice and giving back to the community. Many of these same black leaders, like Reverend Ronald Wright and his brother Mickey, were protesting the store five months ago, when they caught wind of a story peddled by Nation of Islam Student Minister Jeffery Muhammad that Pak was gunning down black men and disrespecting black women in South Dallas. The story sparked months of racial tension, and even after it was debunked, the two sides found it difficult to come to terms. Just a month and a half ago, the Wright brothers, Curtis Wilbert, Marion Barnett, Ted Kim, Chong Choe, Charles Park and others attempted to give Bradshaw a scholarship, but a similar surprise presentation was abandoned at the last moment after squabbles about who owed how much money.

When asked about the holdup at Monday's scholarship unveiling, Mickey Wright smiled even wider and said simply, "It takes time."

Kim, the Korean Society vice president, spoke to the cameras, saying, "Korean leaders are working in partnership with black leaders. We will be able to build bridges between our communities."

Bria Bradshaw is famous in her own right. Legend has it that in the fourth grade, someone from Dallas ISD promised her a $25,000 if she never missed a day of school. Later, DISD said they had never promised her anything, that this secretive pact never happened. She was out of luck.

Still, never missing a day of school is tougher than getting all As, because even if you're really smart, school can still be a thoroughly distasteful place. But Charmaine enforced perfect attendance since Bria was 4 in pre-kindergarten. Charmaine, one of 12 children, almost had perfect attendance herself.

"It was something that I wanted to do," she said. "I missed it by three days. I caught the chicken pox my senior year. I wore long sleeves to hide them, but some were showing on my neck and in my face. As soon as I walked in, the principal sent me home."

The scholarship felt more ceremonial than anything else, as both communities attempt to turn a new leaf and move forward together after months -- and more accurately, decades -- of distrust and hatred.

Meanwhile, Nation of Islam members still picket the store "about once a week," according to Pak. Business is slowly picking up, though it still isn't quite as profitable as before the protests. Soon, one employee said, the temperature will consistently rise to 100, then 110, and being outside at all will be more trouble than it's worth.

But yesterday, the protesters weren't out there, and all eyes were on Bria Bradshaw, the black girl with the silver braces and cherubic cheeks and perfect attendance who was soaking in all the love from old men and women she's never seen before.

"I'm really grateful," she said. "I do want to give back to the community, because of what they've given me."

But first: "I haven't eaten Korean food yet," she admitted. Then, diplomatically, she quickly added, "I want to."


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22 comments
ralph leonard
ralph leonard

To Wise Old Man

I think it a shame that this all too deserving young lady is being caught up and prostituted to show that there are good relationships between the Koreans and blacks.  The Mayor touted a Korean beer and wine in Atkins district as economic development and not one black person has a job in the construction of it. Go by there all illegal Mexicans among unemployed black ex-convicts and Section 8 DHA Apartments.  The Korean say he bring beauty supply next to one of the few black owned beauty supply stores in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!! while the Mayor applauds  and we gave this Korean $100,000of our taxpayer money  to build it across the street from a black owned beer and wine store, (the only one in Dallas County.) The Mayor called the new KOrean beer and wine store a benefit to spur economic development in  the area, more crime ridden than South Dallas. There have been 15 foreign owned beer and wine stores that have opened in SE Oak Cliff alone in the last 11 months. We didn't see the Mayor break ground at those establishments.  Why the KOrean one

wise man can't you see. the South Dallas leadership, the DPD and the Mayor need to address the crime in S Dallas and convict Tommy Pak of illegal gambling and aggravated assault against Arthur Carpenter, one of the protesters, and many other ordinance offenses which is a crime Pak should donate to AA or the drug addict clinic in South Dallas or feed and clothe the homeless instead of a Festival for KOreans, why not a picninc in Rochester Park.

phe_75034
phe_75034

Wow. What a bunch of grumps in this comment thread. Were you guys bottle-fed as children?

How about: Good for you, Bria. Your effort has resulted in a reward. I'm sure you'll put the money to good use.

How about: Good for you, leaders of the black and Korean communities. Both of your constituencies were played by Mr Muhammad and the Nation, which puts you in pretty good company. I'm glad to see you're trying to move past the ugliness. You chose a good opportunity to show some solidarity. I hope it proves to be the first of many examples of cooperation.

See? How hard was that?

Da Truth
Da Truth

Ahhh yes little black girl. Here is your check, partially funded by Newport. Black man favorite cigarette!

ralph leonard
ralph leonard

To: Timetomoveon Pak called a racist with no proof or evidence based only on the word of a self serving race baiter? Racism is very difficult to define much less prove. Will you base your word on police records. There  IS evidence that proves that Pak who is responsible for the acts of his employees does not operate the store within the local, state, and federal laws. He has repeatedly violates the law with little or no consequences. If I get stopped for failure to buckle up, I get a ticket. If my baby is without a car seat, the Police do not try to "work" with me until I can afford one--I get a ticket. If I don't pay the ticket, I get a warrant issued and if I don't pay, I go to jail. Greg Howard and The Wrights lead us to believe that they have power to exonerate Pak with a buck. I wonder how many bucks has it taken to keep City Hall off of him.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Wait.. the same store owner your website called a racist with no proof or evidence based only on the word of a self serving race baiter?

smoke anna beer
smoke anna beer

I can only see alcohol and cigarette signs in the photo. Nice to know that the city is now subsidizing convenience stores.   

future diabetic
future diabetic

Doesn't look like she's missed a meal, either. Nice to know that people would infect others, just for falsely assumed personal gain. This is a feel good story that does not feel good to me.

Wise Old Man
Wise Old Man

Ralph,

Let's see if I get this straight. Convict Mr. Pak for illegal gambling? Or, go after drug dealers, prostitutes, gangs, etc.? Clearly, if Mr. Pak was dealing in illegal gambling, that ain't happening now.  So, why aren't you talking with Councilwoman Caroline Davis about the drugs, prostitutes, gangs, etc.?

Also, with respect to the "aggravated assault against Mr. Carpenter," just remember the South Dallas protestors jumped to conclusions right out of the gate ---  "Mr. Pak chased the robber from the store and shot him in the back for $3.00, candy, etc." WRONG: It was not Mr. Pak, he wasn't even at the store.

Don't jump to conclusions, like the South Dallas community did before, only to be proven wrong. 

Finally, take the bull by the horn and tell the South Dallas leaders that Fair Park, etc., is open for business, etc. Be proactive.

Wise Old Man.

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

There was a Korean festival in South Dallas?

Ed D.
Ed D.

What, no "the Koreans shot JFK" accusation? You're slipping.

Old Wise One
Old Wise One

FYI --- There is evidence the sale of illegal drugs is occurring across the street, as well as prostitution in the area. Why don't you criticize South Dallas Leadership for not making this area "business" friendly?!!  Everyone associated with the Diamond Shamrock dispute are moving on for the betterment of mankind.  Instead of attacking the high school graduate, everyone should applaud that Korean and Black leadership are working together to bridge the cultural divide.  Give credit where it is due. The resolution process represents a monumental step towards acceptance by all sides - Black, White, Korean, Asians, etc. If hearts are in the right place, healing will happen, against all odds!I salute the Black and Korean Leadership for their "mature" vision in working together.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I don't think the Observer ever called Mr. Pak a racist.  The did report on a news story in which Mr. Pak was called a racist by several people.  Which is, after all, the point of having news reporters writing for your website/newspaper.

I believe if you go back and read the series of stories on this particular issue, you'll find the slant is more in favor of Tommy Pak's side than not.

Steve Zimmerman
Steve Zimmerman

This is a great story on several levels that, fortunately, can't be ruined by anonymous assholes. Find something else to do with your sad life.

JS
JS

Although not the wisest decision, I think we should all applaud parents that take such an interest in their kids' schooling and kids that go to school every day trying to get educated instead of running wild on the streets.

By the way, I saw a guy in a wheelchair a few minutes ago -- would you like to make fun of him, too? 

Im_Ed_Carter
Im_Ed_Carter

What does her weight have to do with the story? Hate yourself much?

future diabetic
future diabetic

 Did the guy in the wheelchair make a bad choice like driving while intoxicated? was he shot while robbing a 7 11?  THEN, I might point out his poor decisions and their consequences. I was trying to demonstrate that her future is more than just an education. And, why would a sick child be allowed to run wild in the streets?

future diabetic
future diabetic

 Going to school while ill with infectious diseases? putting her future health at risk by becoming obese? Can't see a link?  Yea, I'm a real self hater.

Alex
Alex

You know it was her mom who ha chicken pox, not the girl, right? 

Im_Ed_Carter
Im_Ed_Carter

The only link I see is the one missing in your brain...

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