Tutor/Mentor Connection

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February celebrates Black History Month, the shortest time of the year when our country pays extra attention to the contributions of Black Americans throughout history, yet should not this recognition be absorbed in our daily institutional education, as do most notable contributions to society, in order to be recognized by all throughout the year, and not just when the occasion deems it possible to do so? While pondering this question, let us all consider how the discrepancies in history and school education affect us all in the development of our personal identities

I went to school in a small town of about 1500 people, and my family was one the first to integrate the predominantly white community. There wasn't any celebrations of Black History Month every February going to school in this town, and as I got older, I soon began to consider if learning this history would have made an impact in my social, educational, and personal development.

Looking back, I can confidently say that I wish someone would have told me that not only was Martin Luther King, Jr. a great leader in fulfilling the dream for racial equality in America, but also other notable women helped further the mission too, such as Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker. I wish someone would have told me about Alice Walker or Gwendolyn Brooks, black women who have won the Pulitzer Prize, when I was in the 8th grade: a crucial time when I was considering sending my first batch of poems to be published in the local literary journal. I also wish someone would have told me when I was a junior in high school about Audre Lorde, one of the greatest feminist social commentators in America, when I was making a choice between joining the school newspaper or trying out for the town’s dance team. Those facts would have meant a lot to me then, and they still today count today as inspiration.

In history, inspiration is always regarded in notions of influence of top to down: ancestors to descendents, educators to students, mentors to apprentice, parent to child, etc. One needs not to just look towards our forefathers and foremothers for influence as I found out today. While trying to organize a piece on Black History Month, Charles Hill, one of the students that attends Cabrini Connections, shared some of his latest writing with me. Charles had reason to celebrate and inspire this Wednesday: today was his birthday. As a freshman at Lincoln Park High School, Charles has been able to balance his school work and talent by participating in Cabrini’s tech and writing clubs. With his permission and in honor of Black History Month, I want to share a lyrical poem of his with my readers. Charles says that this piece was inspired by both President Obama and Martin Luther King, and it encompasses themes that both men have used in their speeches. Enjoy :)

Dreams Doused in Corruption
By Charles Hill

I once had a dream
That everything would change
I once believed in everything
This world had
Corrupted people took away
What I had
Corrupted sins and vengeance
Took away
What I had

Then once we had it back
The truth finally was set free
All the freedom birds
Became free

I once had a dream
That everything would change for the better
I once believed
Everything this world had to offer
Then finally
All our dreams
Came to recognition

The soil we sit on
The air we breathe
Something’s about to change
We all know it to be true
Something’s about to change
We’re all waiting for who?

That dream we once had
We all had together
This dream we once had
It’s finally forever

And all the corrupted sins
This world has had
The tragedy forgive
All the selfish people

The two separate vows
Of simple dreams
People are in doubt
But we believe
Because today, our dreams
Are finally there!
Change has come

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Comment by E Wilson on February 4, 2010 at 4:11pm
Yes, Charles is a very good student and very passionate about learning. A very good student leader
Comment by Eunsoo Lee on February 4, 2010 at 10:35am
Even though I don't know the history of Black people very well, there is just one that Martin Luther King, Jr has influenced our mind to insist the equal between White people and Black people. Anyway, I didn't know that yesterday was Charles's birthday. he's always trying to learn about something. I also have experienced to hear his lecture about Photoshop. he is passionate to participate in this Cabrini connections.

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