I Had a Dream: Teaching via Hidden Race Riots and Community

After reading the excellent: Snow-Storm in August: The Struggle for American Freedom and Washington’s Race Riot of 1835 on history and community,I was, for some odd reason, facilitating a workshop at the YMCA, which I get the impression was in an upstairs room at the historic 12th Street (aka Anthony Bowen) Y, with a group of kids of color, and they seemed to regard me as an abstract expert in something for they had little interest, with the exception of a few who paid rapt attention. I was called downstairs in the midst of my talk, after I seemed to have placed the teens in work groups to solve some problems, and down in the office I was told that a pair whom I had separated for fighting were the cause of the Police having been called, and met the police lady who was to come upstairs with me. I asked her to wait at the doorway while I introduced her as our Friendly local Police Lady who was there to ask if anyone had any questions about community policing and how she could be of help to them. A pair of boys around 15 years old or so began to fight, a latino and black kid, and I stepped in, breaking it up half in Spanish and half in my childhood DC accent to remind them that I am part of both worlds, and they stepped back and listened to me, surprisingly, as the police lady edged into the room. Maybe it was her gun they were actually listening to, but the kids behaved better, and seemed to enjoy the friendly spin I tried to put on our visitor´s presence. Some girls did go talk with her, to my relief, and it seemed to go well. I wish I could recall what the topic was. I am sure it was not mathematics, but I think it was some amalgamation similar to what I wrote up in 2003 about using historical incidents, like the Snow Riots, to pick a part of the incident to use to teach every different subject, from right angles and shooting
azimuths up 7th Street, to writing an essay on the implications of the unemployed “mechanics” targetting of men of color who were unrelated to the actual trigger of the riots. Different kids seemed drawn to different stations I had set up around the room, but there was a spider web like set of strings connecting each station to the center, where the main topic was outlined in red and blue. There were other colors at different stations, but I do not know why or for what. I love connecting history with writing with mathematics (when my superior teachers were not prohibiting me from assigning math journal homework to my HS students!! Note that this actually earned me praise on my Community College Alebra teaching evaluation, so go figure. I guess I was teaching at the wrong place, or the wrong time -2002 vs. 2011…)

Well, I hope that someone else finds this dream useful or interesting, and perhaps I will work it into one of my writings.
Peace, Love, and Song,
Shira Destinie
Gregorian Date: Monday, 1 September, 2014
MEOW Date : Friday, 1 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

About ShiraHoloceneEraDest

Shira Destinie Jones Landrac is a published poet and academic author, former Washington DC Tour Guide, founder of SHIR Tours Community Cooperation Tours, and freelance writer and educator. She has organized community events such as film discussions, multi-ethnic song events, and cooperative presentations. She now lives in France, and continues to work for community cooperation and health for all. She is on LinkedIn and on Academia.edu LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/univhealthcareshirad and Academia.Edu: http://bath.academia.edu/DestinieLandrac
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3 Responses to I Had a Dream: Teaching via Hidden Race Riots and Community

  1. You are a brilliant educator, Shira! Your students are lucky to have you, regardless of whether they appear to take immediate advantage of the opportunity. Your thought patterns drift in the nebulous direction of the cloud that Moses followed through the desert. I follow your essay to the gravity of the dream that our children will be judged by “the content of their character.” A sequential step might be to judge people by the contents of their wallets but by “the content of their character”… that could take a few thousand more years, exponentially more if we allow SMART goals to overtake our collective vision, small steps toward large goals being infinitely more effective and inspiring than the accomplishment of small ends.

    • Thank you, Felice! I really appreciate that, and I hope that you are right (well, maybe except for my thoughts drifting as a nebulous cloud… But I appreciate the thought!).
      Much love,

    • “small steps toward large goals being infinitely more effective”

      Thanks for reminding me! I will add my own 7 steps that Anyone can take to help Change the World (if we all took them, it would change alot faster!):

      1. Bank small
      2. Buy local
      3. BMW (Bike/Metro/Walk)
      4. use Renewable energy providers
      5. Live Simply: RRR, go Vegan, FreeCycle, Compost, etc… :see the Voluntary Simplicity Movement…
      6. Worker’s Coops!
      7. Build Participatory Community and Policies/Politics!

      I will post these in a more explicit form to my About page…
      William-James-MEOW Date: 2 Sept. 12,014 H.E. (Holocene/Human Era)

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