YELLOW/Humanity

MLK’s Supporting Vocals

By

We’ve all heard the sound clip of MLK’s speech from 50 years ago when thousands joined him and other leaders for the March on Washington. The refrain, “I have a dream” might be even be more recognizable to today’s students than pictures of the man himself. Whatever your social media channel, it has been overrun with pictures and memories from the moment on the mall. There is no denying that those are powerful words that have a power today few could have imagined 50 years ago. Much has been made about the genius of King who improvised those famous words…

Read More
Reading List: The Warmth of Other Suns

Reading List: The Warmth of Other Suns

By

If you’ve ever taught the Civil Rights Movement or even had a conversation about it, there’s a book you should read. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson reminded me of one of my favorite classroom moments talking about the Movement. It also made me re-think what I taught while I was there. First, that classroom moment… It was Black History month and two of my students asked to interview me about the Civil Rights Movement for the morning’s video announcement program. This was not an easy question for me. I was not a subscriber to these (sometimes) empty…

Read More
Inauguration 2013: The Bridge between Words and Realities

Inauguration 2013: The Bridge between Words and Realities

By

This bridge between our words and the “realities of our time” is how Barack Obama described our “never-ending journey” in the United States. There is much to think about in the words the President chose for his 2nd Inaugural speech yesterday and the various snapshots the media has provided us of Americans who either made the trek to the nation’s capital or their local coffee shop to watch the event as a community of people. This post is a glancing blow, a first shot at sharing some of the ideas in the air this week. Many of our alumni are welcoming students…

Read More

Politics on the Inside

By

No, we’re not talking about political insiders. Not those hideous creatures that live inside the much maligned Beltway. We’re talking about one man’s perspective on the truth about politics as he understands it through human experience. For rapper El-P, all politics is internal to one’s self or to mankind. In an interview on Sound Opinions, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot asked the rapper about the subversive or personalized politics they heard embedded in his music. Jim and/or Greg (I’ve been listening for years but can’t tell their voices apart) asserted that El-P’s music had captured something important about the “tenor…

Read More

Being Human

By

We are a people who need a frontier. Carl Sagan provided these words as he reflected on space exploration long before Atlantis launched into space for the last time. You’ve seen these reflections on Politicolor through our imagined conversation between Cicero and astronaut Michael Collins. As Sagan notes in this video, the space program did not provide “bread on the table” results that changed our everyday. It’s value might be best understood in what it revealed about us and the human experience. Shifting perspectives reveals as much about previous commitments as it does new ones. We do in fact have plenty of…

Read More

Ubuntu and the Birthplace of Cool

By

I’ve been recently reminded that my own activism has roots in the campaigns for Africa in the 80’s. I convinced my mother to make a donation so I could order a Live Aid t-shirt. I’m sure she hoped the purchase would buy her some quiet time but it wasn’t about the t-shirt for me. I wanted to be a part of something. The t-shirt connected me to concerts in the U.S. and Great Britain, so I wasn’t going to leave the TV when the concert was broadcast. I know I announced each performer to the whole house. I was convinced…

Read More
Project Citizen

Project Citizen

By

Having been briefly introduced to Project Citizen at the National Academy, I decided to try it out this year.  It’s an ideal, outcome-based activity as much about the journey as the finish.  And the great thing about the finish is that it’s really just the beginning, for students receive the tools to research and formulate public policy.  In the end, it is incredibly empowering for the kids to discover the pathways through which they can enact change. A few words from my fourth-graders (non-speakers) when asked today by the panel what they had learned from the experience: “I learned what…

Read More