A huge thank you to the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Preparatory Academy! Especially to Dr. DeGisi’s 12th graders who we had the pleasure of spending 3 days with. You were wonderful and we learned a lot. I’m still mulling over the adventure. Check back on this blog, as I expect much more to be written about our that impressionable experience.
On an interesting note, on our last day the school. There seemed to be an issue between the students and a nearby and larger public school. A violent school rivalry resulted in instances of students getting jumped from both schools. The irony of the situation had not escaped me. Here we were bringing anti-racist education and theater to a predominantly black and brown High School, where many students were dealing with issues of foster care, imprisoned family members and poverty, and they were locked in a violent conflict with another school of similar demographics, because one kid said something to another kid on the train. It reminded me of a quote from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, a book much admired by Philly’s own Mumia Abu Jamal, and spoken of by him on his reports from Prison Radio.
“While the settler or police has the right the live long day to strike the native, to insult him, to make him crawl to him, you’ll see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native. For the last result of the native is to defend his personality vis-a-vis his brother. It is as if plunging into a fraternal bloodbath allows him to ignore the obstacle, and to put off till later the choice, nevertheless inevitable…”