Experience at a high school in a neighborhood of the oppressed: a snapshot

March 15, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


These recent trips inside the class rooms with the orientation of “REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” have really been an interesting experience. The students are very receptive when it comes to hearing about injustices but then there is the question of what we are going to do about it and what is your life going to be about. I keep running into this contradiction of students not really seeing and/or not understanding why things don’t have to be this way. This is no surprise given what their lives are like. The challenge is drawing the students out; again they are very receptive and attentive to the content of what I am saying but after I present and open it up for questions and comments, its pretty dead and silent. It’s hard because I’m constantly posing questions and trying to raise the level of things but it seems to get nowhere. There was one experience where I presented and then based off the back page of the issue where a young girl in Pakistan was making bricks, a young woman made this comment “Why should we worry about that little girl when there is a 12 year old right down the street selling her body? I mean I'm not saying fuck her or let’s not care, but don’t we have to work on our shit before we say we can help others?” This comment kicked off a discussion in the class that is really rare to see.  Students began to kick around ideas like, what kind of culture is promoted, is the problem that people are too fucked up, what about human nature, patriarchy and the effects on young women, gangsterism and how it affects young men, sagging where did it come from, and many more things. I tried to give leadership to this but at the same time I let the students kick it around on their own. There is more to learn from this experience because again this doesn’t happen as much as it should. One thing I have noticed is that we need to talk more about who BA is with these students, use the materials to give people a glimpse of who BA is and what he is all about, why he is the real deal. 

There is a small core of students who have gotten tickets to the event but much work and struggle needs to be carried out to make sure that they are there and come as a group. I wanna sit down with them soon and get into why they wanna go, and how they think we can get more students involved. Also we need to be sharp in struggle with these youth, some are serious but overwhelmed by the “majority” who are not. We need to say to people flat out, we need a revolution and we have the leadership in BA, lets cut the bullshit and get serious about this because it will be us and people like us that will be the backbone and driving force of this revolution so lets get with the leadership making that possible and fight the power and transform the people for revolution, if that’s not what you wanna be about then I feel sorry for you and you’re not who we are looking for.

Also I’ve noticed that lately since I’ve been focusing on the serious students its sort of setting a pole and getting buzz going. This is nowhere near on the level it needs to be but there is a small buzz. The other day I walked into the halls and the students saw me with fliers, as they usually do, but I went only to one young woman who had a ticket. I gave her the flier that was an invite to meet in one of the classrooms after school with others who are going. Everyone around us was just staring and listening with a look of “how come she is getting a flier and I didn’t this time.” Right after her friend walked up to her and said “what’s that for?” she said “it’s about this film” then her friend asked if she was going she replied “Yeah I am, you should too.” Again this is not happening on the level it needs to be but we can and should learn from this. Finally even the not so serious students have commented on how we are always there working with the youth, and I even ran into some the other day when we went around the hood with a sound truck. These are youth who normally brush us off, they walked up to the sound truck and took palm cards for them and their family. Now they see me and walk up to shake my hand and say what’s up. I challenged one about going to the film he said “Nah I’m not going, I'm not the one you’re looking for this shit is serious and I got work to do to change myself.” I told him “Look bro its gonna be people like you and me that are gonna put this system in its grave, if that’s what you wanna be about instead of this gangsta gangsta shot um up bang bang lifestyle then you need to be at this film premiere.” He said he would really think about going but that he wasn’t sure. Again this isn’t the end and more needs to be done but seeds have been planted and sprouts are struggling to thrive.


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