Help Get me to grad school. I am working on finalizing my admission into grad school for human services. Help me help people. It’s that simple. Click the link and please donate. Peace.
I had the pleasure of reading a fellow blogger’s post titled “The Plight of the Safe Black Man” and with her many well made points there is one in particular that stands out to me the most, “All too often Black men (boys, girls and women as well) are criminalized. Criminalized at work, in school, in the neighborhood and on the news.”
I see this everyday in my place of employment. I’m a behavioral health worker in an urban school in Philadelphia. The school demographic is primarily Black and Latino students and a small percentage being non Black or Latino. Many of the parents of the Latino students use their children as translators when it comes to interacting with school staff. I watch as staff belittle these students and their families due to a lack of understanding.
I have worked in urban schools before and I saw the same treatment of Black and Brown students in contrast to their non Black peers.
As a behavioral health worker I observe and analyze the treatment, triggers, and behavior of not only my students but any students that I come in contact with. There is a pattern. When Black and brown students misbehave they are left to roam the hallways and rarely is action taken to redirect or encourage the student to turn back to class. In many cases they are deemed a lost cause. This being the case, teachers are giving students the boot at the first sight of a student’s disruption and have little regard if they complete classwork or learn that day.
In a much different scenario non Black or brown students are approached by one and sometimes two teachers at a time. School staff list out the rewards and learning opportunities that children will miss if they do not return to class. The staff use bargaining and whatever it takes to make sure these students properly transition back into their classes. Black and brown students are criminalized in the most shameful ways. I have a class of 11 “behaviorally challenged” boys. The second that a few of them step foot in the school their every step is repeated across walkie talkies with staff being warned of their arrival. They are either bombarded by staff who look for myself and my co-worker to “deal” with the students or completely ignored because no one wants the responsibility.
The treatment that Black and brown students receive shares little similarity to those who are non Black. It sickens me that even from a young age they are criminalized and degraded and given up on. These reactions are not uncommon. These students are taught that they do not belong in general population and sent to ES classrooms or SpEd classrooms. They have little to no engagement with their peers for recess and stay in one class for 90% of their day. They are taught in schools that they are different. Their classrooms are contracted out by companies like mine because no one wants to interact with these children or has the training to do so. They are seen as aggressive and pose a threat to non Black staff who do not possess the social competency to interact with the urban students or their families. The system seems to be a setup for black and brown children.
It’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything on this blog. There’s been family issues, car issues, work issues, money issues, school issues etc. However, when life gets thick for me I always refer back to my writing. A time where I actually had time and things ran smoothly for me. Here I am hoping that the time for smooth sailing has come once again.
Since June of 2015 I’ve had over 5 different jobs in a number of fields and there’s no telling how many interviews I’ve been on. Since that time I have also acquired an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s degree in a field that I thought would carry me into the career of my dreams. WRONG. Life threw a curveball and at one of these jobs I found my calling, Teaching. So, since this realization I’ve been taking the necessary steps to rebuild my game plan but also land me into the career field where I want to be.
Often times I found myself looking at my peers and seeing how some of their lives seemed to be “on track” and running “right.” WRONG. The best advice that I could give to myself looking back is to “never judge your progress based on someone else’s timeline.”
The best thing for me and any person to do is to focus on yourself and your strengths and reaching your goals. At the end of it all everything leads back to YOU. I’ll admit that I became worried when I graduated twice and didn’t immediately have a job lined up and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. But that was ok. What works for someone else didn’t work for me. Only I can pick and choose the perfect path to guide me to my goals.
Right now I have an outline of a plan (nothing is ever perfect) and I’m executing that plan one step at a time. I’m starting yet another job but this time I feel passionate about the field, the people and the work. That’s something that I’ve never experienced before. I’m excited for new peaks, highs, lows, goals, and success. I’m going up. I just have to trust myself.
I’ve been long gone from both of my blogs for a good amount of time. I graduated, switched jobs, and went back to school. And while all of that was going on I managed to perform at a spoken word event, which is what this blog is centered around.
I figured with going back to school and all the writing I’m being forced to do I should squeeze in some therapeutic writing as well. So, here I am. I’m taking a poetry course this semester and during our first session today we did a free write. You sit and write for about 5-10 mins and don’t think. You simply write what ever comes to mind with no regard for spelling or grammar. Choosing a prompt helps.
Our prompt was : An intense feeling I had recently. Many who know me or follow this blog know I love words, reading, writing and poetry. But as I mentioned I had the wonderful opportunity to perform. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was also my first performance. Here’s my free write on that night.
An intense experience I had recently was performing at a spoken word event. The whole hour leading to my name being called, I was nervous. My palms were sweating and I kept hoping that soon my gf and I would get up and leave. I kept listening and the more I heard from other performers the more I hated the piece I was going to perform. I didn’t feel worthy (We are all our toughest critic). After someone would finish I felt tremendous anxiety fill my being as I hoped that my name wouldn’t be next. Finally, it was. My body felt empty but heavy and the room was silent. I recited my Instagram name the way I had practice and said “follow me”. first line of my piece and the rest effortlessly spilled from my lips with the most emotion I had ever felt. The crowd was snapping and whispering and the moment was euphoric and orgasmic. The last line was spoken and I felt as light as a feather. MY LEGS WERE SPAGHETTI BUT IT WAS AN AMAZING FEELING. ALMOST ROMANTIC. I can’t wait for the next date. I had never recanted that night on paper and as I wrote it those same shifts in weighted feelings and energy came back to me. Body hot and fiery!
Once we reach the time limit we were asked to choose 1-2 lines that stuck out to us. That would be the above words in all caps. The goal is to combine everyone’s stand out lines into a poem which the professor will jumble and hand back to us so that we can create a poem of our own. A “found” poem. This exercise was awesome. Because looking at that line alone is poetry to me. I think I could really make this a daily thing.
Nice catching up. Until next time… Peace