Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kozol- Amazing Grace (Revisited)

In his article "Amazing Grace" Jonathan Kozol tells us about his experience in Mott Haven the people he met there, and the conditions in which they live.  He tells us about the disease, poverty and neglect they live through in order to show us the clear lack of attention and disrespect they are given by those in positions of power who have the ability to help, but dont.  Poor people staying poor and rich people getting richer keeps the system of poverty and racism in place. Kozol shows us this system with examples of how many people didn't get proper medical care and were born into a world of racism and poverty, and how most of them didn't have the resources to get away from this environment.  "Racism and poverty are systematic problems, not individual ones."

“3,000 homeless families have been relocated by the city in this neighborhood during the past few years, and she asks a question I will hear from many other people here during the months ahead. ‘Why do you want to put so many people with small children in a place with so much sickness? This is the last place in New York that they should put poor children. Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and same problems, in one crowded place with nothin' they can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time.’” (11)

“’If poor people behaved rationally," says Lawrence Mead, a professor of political science at New York University, "they would seldom be poor for long in the first place.”’(21)

‘"Evil exists," he says, not flinching at the word. "I believe that what the rich have done to the poor people in this city is something that a preacher could call evil. Somebody has power. Pretending that they don't so they don't need to use it to help people-that is my idea of evil.”’ (23)
"I saw a boy shot in the head right over there," he said a moment later, in a voice that does not sound particularly sad (6)

‘"I don't know how sick you have to be to qualify for SSI. My girlfriend died from AIDS in March. She never did get SSI. After she died, the checks began to come. “’ (20)
Some connections to other blogs:
In her blog, Nathali included this video, or one similar to it and i thought it gave a good visual of the area Kozol's article took place.
In her blog, Cindy includes connections to her own life, and how her family was from the bronx and some of her family still lives there, but how her parents moved her family to a different area.
Alyssa included a picture in her blog that I also had in mine of the St. Annes Church that many children and families went to as a sort of sanctuary away from the dangers of the streets in the city.  
In her blog, Karissa includes her thoughts about the religion of the people of Mott Haven "One thing I would like to bring up in class is some of these families go to church every weekend and have God in their life. I think their lifestyle is very hard and I am proud of these people for always believing in God and trusting him along their way. I think the children believe more in him because they do not know how bad their life really is compared to their parents. "
Mike included a link to the local newspaper of Mott Haven in his blog post that I liked because it showed some progress and I also liked that it made this all much more real, that this was a real place with real struggles that they need to overcome.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In The Service of What? -Extended Comments

This weeks reading "In the Service of What?" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer looked at service learning, and the benefits and learning that students can take out of helping the community by serving those in need.  In her blog post, Karissa says that she would rather go out and learn by seeing and doing rather than reading about what it is that she could do.  I agree with her.  It is so important and rewarding to go out and meet people and create bonds and feel connected with them and help them because you genuinely care.  It is so important for students to see those in need and to help them.  
Like Karissa, I also belong to a very involved church community.  While I was in school, starting in fourth grade, and going until I graduated from high school, we had to complete hours of community service.  I spent many hours at soup kitchens, including St. Vincent de Paul in Norwich, CT.  There I met a lot of people who not only needed something to eat but also a friendly face.  When I read Kozol’s article, this is where my mind went, although Norwich is not nearly as bad as Mott Haven, but still not a very nice area.  And has sloth of people in need of help. I wish I had the experience that Karissa had, to go on a mission trip and help children in another country.  Helping people locally is just as important though.  There are people everywhere that need help, and we can help them.  
Starting up my service learning project this week is very exciting.  I was so nervous before I got there, but as soon as I was in the classroom I felt much better, and very comfortable.  I cannot wait to go back next week and continue helping these kids in my Providence elementary school.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Safe Spaces - Reflection

         Growing up I went to a very small, Catholic K-8 elementary/middle school.  Then I moved on to another very small, Catholic high school.  I had little to no exposure to any LGBT students, or bullying not only because my schools were so small but also because both schools I went to were Catholic.  Although I didn't see anything LGBT related when I was in school, I do have gay members of my family and it was never strange to me, I never thought anything of it.  
          When I read this "Safe Spaces" article I felt so sad for the horrible bullying that these children go through.  The last line of the first paragraph says "Unfortunately, for many young people suicide feels like a better alternative than living with rejection or abuse from peers, family members, or community leaders."  This is not okay.  It is heartbreaking that young people thing that suicide should be a way out of their lives.  Nobody should every have to feel that way.  The article tells of many ways that a student could become uncomfortable, and feel ostracized in a classroom environment. (95)  These are not things that the teacher, or students do on purpose but we do need to be aware of.  All students need to feel like they are safe in school.  
        Looking back, in a small Catholic school these kind of things could have happened.  There also was probably quite a bit of heterosexism, which August describes as “the assumption that everyone should be heterosexual.” (1)  I do see this now, but I didn’t as a student in school.