its been a rough week. life is happening and i have to be ready to ride the waves, high tide or not. as part of my job i supervise interns at their internship sites doing applied theatre arts, participatory action research, and theatre of the oppressed/liberation arts. i visited a continuation high school in santa monica where two of my students are interns. we were called in to get scolded about the most recent presentation the youth gave in front of their peers and the rest of the staff.
i had never stepped into a more hostile environment in my life. that says a lot because i have worked in many schools in California. this was a whole different beast. by the end of the meeting i wondered how liberatory arts works in environments like that. our team of students, the director of the program i work for, and the non profit we collaborate with sat outside and brainstormed for about an hour after. thank the gods for supportive teams pushing liberation forward no matter what wall we have to climb over, under, break down.
i checked in with my heart on my way home and at that instant broke into tears. the thought of the young man who was killed yesterday, how he was killed, and the way that media portrayed him is heart breaking. es una injusticia. and then to have to sit through a meeting with teachers that say they care but all that comes out of their mouth about the students they teach feels, smells, and tastes of venom, it was just too much today. maybe another day i could have seen through it, found something positive about the meeting, etc.
i’m used to having some of my support system be outside of los angeles but today i just needed some holding from my long distance folks, all black and blue from life, from the injustices witnessed, experienced. it kills my heart to know that its not possible to have all loved ones together the way one may hope for. and so the heart learns to keep walking, moving forward, never losing the hope for more closeness, more peace, and so much more love.
the death, the knowing that some of the other young men and women i see and am building relationships are at the same or close to the same level of risk as the one killed, drives me insane. i’m not in the business of saving no one, and thats not what im looking to do, but still it worries me because i know that the one who really killed that young man and the ones that really have their hands around the necks of so many poor, black, brown, struggling youth is society. we are choking our youth to death and many of us are blind to it. yes, an 87 year old man pulled the trigger on a 17 year old, but how did he get there in the first place? why doesn’t the media cover that story? instead the media sources painting the man as a hero who got rid of another young troublemaker. no story is just that simple.
in honor of him, i want to share a song i was schooled on that shares the story of a young man, 17, who robs a store and on his way out is killed. the singer points the finger at society for its failure to care and nurture the young man into reaching his full potential. sound too familiar???