Our Children Are Activists, Too [BK Nation]

Jose Vilson Jose

Asean Johnson

Asean Johnson

I had the pleasure of writing for activist Kevin Powell’s BK Nation. I dedicated my first piece to children and adults’ rapid dismissal of them as a false comparison to generations past. Observe:

We’re so quick to judge our youth that we lose the opportunity to reach out to them on a real level. That especially goes for my fellow educators, a few of whom pull out the grouch card at a moment’s notice. “These kids,” usually ends with a sentence that ostracizes the children who we need to reach. “They don’t understand,” translates to “I’m frustrated because they don’t have enough context yet and I don’t know how to give it to them.”

As adults, we assume responsibility for passing traditions and stories down to our kids, and if we can’t do that, we better bring them to someone who can. We need to connect the past to the things that they get. For instance, the Trayvon Martin murder and ensuing verdict galvanized youth activists all over the country. School shutdowns have prompted students to revolt against their school districts alongside teachers, parents, and other concerned adults. Students losing their parents and family members because they didn’t have “papers” stoked the fires in the bellies of youth, thus calling themselves DREAMers. The stop-and-frisk critics caught steam from civil-rights organizations and others, sure, but it was the children who confront the humiliation of s&f on a daily basis who grew the movement in a meaningful way.

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photo c/o – http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130828/downtown/hundreds-march-on-cps-city-hall-demand-elected-school-board