CW: Disturbing 9-11 Images/ Only We Can Save Each Other

 

Dear Readers,

And it’s another 9-11, the 18th year after the attacks.  And I thought I was “over” feeling sad, terrified, angry, sad… but of course not. This was a day that changed America I think.

During all this, it seems reaching out to others with love and kindness was the way to healing.

If you can watch this video without tears, don’t tell me, because I won’t believe you are human.

The still images capture the shock, terror, grief of the day. The music is by Disturbed. Warning: some disturbing images.

Spread love and kindness and compassion, dear readers. I do believe only we, with effort, love, compassion and learning–can save each other.

Link here:

Learning from Garbage Day

bicycle pexels    You need help, was all he said.

I had just come home from visiting a dear friend, and was making three trips from the curb to the car to the house–taking in emptied garbage cans, my purse, etc. I think I was limping a bit, leftover injury that’s so much better now, but still a limp at times.

He was a boy of 11-13, just riding his cool stingray bike around the block, around, around, around. I noticed him circling, looking bored. He seemed to be new to the neighborhood. Maybe he was checking out the middle school nearby.

After my second trip, a wheel on one of the garbage cans fell off.

You need help, he said, loud enough for me to hear him. No yelling. No gestures that would raise alarm. He stayed on his bike. A kid.

You need help.

Excuse me?

You need help?

No, thanks, thanks a lot though. You getting ready to go back to school.

Yeah, he said, sounding a bit sad.

And he rode off.

In another world, I would have said thank you , what’s your name, here’s $5 to carry this stuff in for me.

In this world, I wish I could have told him, someone taught you manners, and that’s great. But in this world, we don’t talk to women we don’t know for it scares them and we women tend to mistrust many males, even boys of 12-13.

And as a teacher, I would be very reluctant to accept help from ANY youngster not known–and I mean parents knowing ME.

If I see him again when I’m with the Big Guy, I will say hello and thank him for the offer.

But in this sanitized and isolated suburbia, we pay for help we cannot do ourselves. There is no community. None. We are advised to socialize out back, not in front. Nothing in front of the houses. No bikes, no lawn furniture.

Make it look like no one lives here but trees and shrubs and garbage cans.

I think I’m right that this was a boy who was taught to help the elderly.

Lesson learned, we are no longer than country.

We are the country of no guns allowed signs on schools, churches, etc.

We are the country of ever smaller nuclear families.

We are the country of cars and garages and where simple courtesy can be seen as dangerous. By children or adults.

It made me glad somehow that he asked, nonetheless. I salute your parents for teaching you manners. I hope I thanked you with a sincere smile; I didn’t have the heart to tell this middle-schooler that we just are not friendly to strangers.

I did look for this boy, but I never saw him again.  I hope he is still willing to help out older folks, and hope his heart is still so good.

 

Day 1 Adult Literacy Training Completed

Fantastic job by Literacy DuPage, part of Pro Literacy America. Professional. Cordial. Encouraging.

One interesting fact that came out is that several of the future tutors wish to tutor to WELCOME immigrants to America. To combat the negativeness of the tone toward immigrants. To let them know we welcome them.

We get matched with a student next week. Then two more training sessions until we are official literacy tutors.

We even get an official tote bag and card to identify ourselves at libraries where we will tutor.

Oh. These are all volunteers.

Well done. Well done. Seeing a positive side of this beloved America. I know there’s greatness there in her people.

More to follow. I’m exhausted!

Thanks for reading.

Cry, Beloved America

img_1024     Many educators become pensive at the end of the summer; as we get ready to return to the classroom, we cannot help but think about how we won’t have much time to actually *think* for months at a time as we enter a whirlwind of teaching activity.  Think now! Think!

This summer I have been thinking about a novel I read long ago, Cry the Beloved Country, a novel published in 1948 and written by Alan Paton. (See more here: Cry the Beloved Country.)

While this novel is a renowned novel about South Africa, the urgency, sadness, and beauty of the country strikes me to this day and the title–Cry, the Beloved Country.  This is how I felt after seeing Spike Lee’s latest movie, The Blackkklansman.  Cry, beloved America. Is there hope for us? Is there? Can we reach across the years and miles and truly love and respect all Americans?

The news from Washington? Cry, cry, beloved America.

And then I think of returning to the classroom next week and I could weep again for other reasons.

I so strongly believe in the power of literacy to improve lives, and I am so very proud to always have been a teacher of literacy in a nation that educates all students. All students.  I am no longer teaching high school, but when I see my class rosters and check into the background of my students I feel very proud, happy, a bit scared, but mostly so very excited to be a reading instructor at the community college level.

My students, as they usually are, will be those for whom English is not a first language, or those whom struggle with reading and writing.

That’s why I am there, to help them. To create lessons that will invite them to the literacy table, a great strong table.

I so desperately believe in the great promise of educating all students and I so strongly feel pride in our community college system.

So come to class students; I am waiting eagerly to meet you and start our literacy journey together.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Judge blocks 3-D guns for now … phew And sunset on the Rocky Mountains

Phew. Oh, my beloved America. Oh … so scary. So sad. Land of the brave ? Not this. Not this.

I love you, America. Your warm friendly people. Your constitution. Your principles.

I do not love our gun culture.

Sunset on the Rocky Mountains

Weep, weep.

Read more here and many other news sites today:

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/399787-federal-judge-blocks-trump-admin-from-allowing-release-of-plans-for

Charles White: a Retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago

soldier

(Soldier, Charles White)

A Charles White retrospective is at the amazing Art Institute of Chicago right now through September third.  The Art Institute, on its web page Charles White at the Art Institute of Chicago, states:

Charles White, born and educated in Chicago, was one of the preeminent artists to emerge during the city’s Black Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s. A passionate mural and easel painter and superbly gifted draftsman, White powerfully interpreted African American history, culture, and lives in striking works that nevertheless have a more universal resonance

I’m not an artist, nor am I an art critic.  But what comes to mind and to heart while viewing his works was all of this: dignity, pain, suffering, caring, compassion, strength. These are not art words, and I cannot speak about what White used to create such art. But I can speak to how White;s artwork affected me, a highly sensitive poet.  I would like to find words deserving of the near reverence I felt in the presence of art that is not only great, but art from a great person. White felt people were basically good and his works are imbued with love and respect as well as with a painful knowledge of social injustice, racism, poverty, separation, loss.

I almost feel I should step back, use few words, and just show the photos, simple photos taken by my little phone camera. You can see I am not a professional or even a good photographer, but I believe you can sense the greatness of White’s art work even from my phone photos.

If you can get to the Art Institute of Chicago, I would highly recommend seeing this retrospective.  I will go again, and perhaps find some words. If you cannot get to the AIC, look here for insights and images: http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/charles-white-retrospective.

White’s creative compassion stays with me.

Charles White, a retrospective, now at the AIC through September 3rd. 

img_0783img_0782img_0779

http://m.artic.edu/node/7905

What does it mean to be American?  Read Ms. Bailey’s insightful blog post. Click on the link:

https://baileylaurajean.com/2018/07/12/a-mistaken-appeal-to-selfishness/comment-page-1/#comment-76

I so agree.  These are trying times to be American,and vital that we uphold the very highest ideals.

One of the main arguments I hear in favor of allowing undocumented people to live freely in the United States is that “they” take jobs that American citizens do not want such as backbreaking, physically demanding housekeeping and agricultural jobs. This is the wrong argument for immigration-rights activists like me to advance because it perpetuates […]

via A Mistaken Appeal to Selfishness — Laura Jean Bailey

ChicagoReader.com article on CPS scandals

pexels-photo-459846     I felt sick reading this article: Chicago public schools scandals

Behind the scandal are kids, living, breathing kids in schools.   Heartbreaking that kids are denied needed special ed. services and that all are denied clean schools.  Oh, let’s not forget the safety aspect of sexual abuse scandals!  Are we creating a generation of traumatized youth from our schools, when schools should be a safe place?

Read more if you can stomach it.  If I feel sick just reading this, what is happening to the students, faculty, and staff that work in these schools?

Poetry-reading rate is up in America per NEA study

find joy          Poets! According to this NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) study, poetry-reading rate is up, to about 12% in American, up from 6.7% in 2012. Alas, this means that MOST Americans–88%–do not read poetry at all.  Hmm… from my own acquaintances, I thought more than that percentage WRITE poetry.   And if you write poetry?  You do need to be reading poetry.

Come on, American–we can do better.

Find the article here : NEA Study on Poetry-reading rates in USA

From the study: The 2017 poetry-reading rate is five percentage points up from the 2012 survey period (when the rate was 6.7 percent) and three points up from the 2008 survey period (when the rate was 8.3 percent). This boost puts the total rate on par with 2002 levels, with 12.1 percent of adults estimated to have read poetry that year.

Growth in poetry reading is seen across most demographic sub-groups (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level), but here are highlights:

• Young adults have increased their lead, among all age groups, as poetry readers. Among 18-24-year-olds, the poetry-reading rate more than doubled, to 17.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.2 percent in 2012. Among all age groups, 25-34-year-olds had the next highest rate of poetry-reading: 12.3 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 2012.

Women also showed notable gains (14.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.0 percent in 2012). As in prior years, women accounted for more than 60 percent of all poetry-readers. Men’s poetry-reading rate grew from 5.2 percent in 2012 to 8.7 percent in 2017.

Among racial/ethnic subgroups, African Americans (15.3 percent in 2017 up from 6.9 percent in 2012), Asian Americans (12.6 percent, up from 4.8 percent), and other non-white, non-Hispanic groups (13.5 percent, up from 4.7 percent) now read poetry at the highest rates. Furthermore, poetry-reading increased among Hispanics (9.7 percent, up from 4.9 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (11.4 percent, up from 7.2 percent).

Adults with only some college education showed sharp increases in their poetry-reading rates.  Of those who attended but did not graduate from college, 13.0 percent read poetry in 2017, up from 6.6 percent in 2012. College graduates (15.2 percent, up from 8.7 percent) and adults with graduate or professional degrees (19.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent) also saw sizeable increases.

Urban and rural residents read poetry at a comparable rate (11.8 percent of urban/metro and 11.2 percent of rural/non-metro residents).