There were no links this week. My post is not on time and for that, I apologize. I am still going through this transition from lazy student into whatever it is that I am becoming and it is very difficult to find time to actually sit down and refine some thoughts within the time limitations we have here at the Compass. That should be changing soon; expect reform but until then, things like this may happen.
This is officially Luke’s week now but I am going to make my post now since I actually have the time with the long weekend.
Sorry for the lateness and thank you all for understanding. I love you all.
City With No Children
So I just sit here now. Pretend like things are ok. There are no windows here so what else really matters besides myself right now? When the week starts, I’ll put on my uniform, smile when I need to, yell when I need to, look through books and magazines and movies and albums for inspiration during my planning period, and then come home reeking of middle school and go to bed satisfied? ”Don’t bring your work home with you.” We are a little past that point.
I exist in this city only for one reason. That is my job. To get in my subway car and stare at the silent, unhappy, dying faces until they slowly walk out. Towards my station, towards Congress Heights, no one is left but me and one or two other people. I walk past the projects and a cemetery to my school. A school that was just tested by the system to see if it should stay open in the following years. Reading and math comprehension. In less than five years, all the work I am doing could be for nothing but everyday I put on my name tag and go in there fully prepared that very few people will listen.
Some of my students need glasses. Some need medicine. Some need parents. There are some who haven’t seen a grade higher than a “D” in their lives and the system passes them every single year. In my class, in the 6th grade, some of my students can’t read. These kids are the future. Their lives are in their own hands. It isn’t just here though. My shitty school in Southeast D.C. isn’t the only one that isn’t properly preparing for the future. We are at 14 schools in the district in several different wards. There are 23 versions of us all around the world. The human race is in danger, specifically the people who live in the United States of America.
I serve because I am scared. Because when I ride the metro, no one smiles. We all know what is going to happen but no one is doing anything to stop it. Cars passing up a crash on the expressway. An elderly woman struggling to find money in her purse. A lost child in the mall. A pigeon with a hurt foot. The homeless man in the doorway in the tunnel. Black smoke on the horizon. An empty building where a bookstore used to be. Fights in the school stairway. Helicopters overhead. The stunted buildings of downtown Washington. My alarm every morning. I serve for the one day where I don’t have to wake up and say the word “Fuck.”
Two weeks ago I made my way to the national mall where the Library of Congress put on a national book festival. When I hopped on the metro, people were talking to each other. No one was in a suit. There were kids. I haven’t seen kids outside the classroom in so long. They were happy. I talked to a minister from North Carolina while I was in my Bad Religion shirt with the crossbuster. Mentally, I conflict between science and unknown faith all the time. Humans just want to get along. They do not want to worry about the politics of our society. They just want to exist without strife. But D.C. is all about politics. At the book fair, I saw children. I saw kids reading. I saw adults reading. Thousands of people gathered there for only one reason: they like reading. I listened to Dave Eggers, one of my favorite authors, speak about the power of young people and cannot reiterate enough, if you can find something to write with, do it. You don’t even know how much power you have with you at all times.
Everyone has the potential. Everyone has the ability to express his or her thoughts or emotions whether it be through the written word, graffiti, visual art, music, photography, public speaking, sculpture. Anything really. Don’t ever fucking give up. You are making a statement. Last week I walked past Occupy Boston by accident and saw what this spirit can actually do. Everyone in this country deserves equal rights. I saw none of my students at the National Book Festival because most of them do not have the financial resources to get out of their neighborhoods.
Occupy wherever. It doesn’t even matter. Wherever you go, make a presence. Whether it be on Wall Street or Boston or even here at Freedom Plaza in D.C., let the world know that the future is important. Let the world know that every single life is worth recognition, that no one person is better than the next. We are equal and we are love. Serve. Always.