Friday, June 29, 2007

Ahmay Ahgo

Hi, everyone!

Well, much like Rhea, I came alone (*sidenote: we should have met up since we both came from Chicago!). The first day, Wednesday, was a bit daunting, since there were so many groups, organizations, communities, etc. who already had a strong bond. I’ve been in “school” mode for the past few years, so I almost forgot what it was like to be able to connect with the bounty of organizations, programs and… people!

By far, the most amazing experience I’ve had so far was at the “Engaging Black Youth” workshop, combined with a workshop on “Sexism in Hip Hop” facilitated by Dereca Blackmon of Leadership Excellence in conjunction with the National Hip Hop Political Convention. Within this workshop, I was able to observe what is known as a “walk through”. In this activity, five women (Jessica Lashon of Chicago, Regina Kelly of Texas, Adelic Mosely of Atlanta, Pamela Bush of Boston and Randa Powell of Oakland – sorry, I've butchered most of these names) lined up on stage and repeated disrespectful language they had encountered in their lives as five young men (Brent of Oakland, Darrell of Baltimore, Kelon of St. Louis, Dante of Chelsea, MA and Michael Chung of Chelsea, MA) walked by them one-by-one.

The emotions from this activity are hard to describe. I had seen and read about programs like this, but it truly is about the experience. It had been so long since I have felt such a deep feeling of hurt and pain. As an educator, these are the feelings that are hard to deal with but most important to bring to the forefront. It is the act of letting go of the “internalized oppression” in which young women can feel love and respected and young men can become men. While this particular program is intended for African-American youth ages 14-18, I feel like it has the utmost relevancy in the elementary grades. After all, racism and sexism are not ageist.

1 comment:

Miss Rhea said...

i am so glad that you made it to that session. it was on the top of my list of things to do today. i ended up getting a) real lost on foot b) involved in a debate and by the time i was back on track it was too late to get involved. it seems you and i have similar interest in sessions. wanna meet up some time tommorrow?