"The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place." Marion Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund
Last night at Disneyland, we caught the Parade as it made its glorious way down Main Street.
Do you know what got me?
Not Mickey, or Ariel, or even my favorite Duck-
What got me were teenage guys leading the parade in a drumline.
The music was Mickey-does- rap, and the drummers wore head bands and street clothes.
I have no idea who these guys were, but to me- they were a mandate the community: Someone gave these kids a drum, two sticks and a purpose, and that can make all the difference.
There are two groups of people in the world who claim to know it all:
politicians and undergraduates and of the two, undergrads seem to lead the pack.
Whenever I teach a class on juvenile justice, it amazes me that the "throw away the key" attitude seems to prevail among my students. And as they are not the ones making the rules, I can only assume their are those in power who feel the same way.
Perhaps because I spent a great deal of my early teaching years educating "at risk" youth, I just don't get it.
We mend tires, shirts, and garden hoses, but seem reluctant to mend kids.
The kids I worked with were ones that had been kicked to the side of the road by schools and even churches.
They were the kids you warned your kids about.
Operative word: kids.
If the people from Iowa in that Disneyland crowd had seen those drummers (or my former students) on any street other than Main Street, they would have been very nervous. But they weren't. They seemed...curious, and perhaps they were even wondering about the possibilities. Perhaps they will take home more than Mickey ears. Perhaps they will take home a new idea about our youth.
Wouldn't that be great?