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)