by Janaya Andrews
A boy calls a girl a b**ch after arguing about rumors going around school. He grabs his backpack and knocks over a desk in frustration. Before the teacher can stop him and calm him down, the boy is down the hall fuming in anger, swearing at the walls.
The newest guys-only club at McClymonds — First Love Yourself or FLY — addresses such issues of disrespect toward women, confidence and responsibility in a more social atmosphere than the Manhood class for 9th graders, says Lovell Ruffin Jr. , case manager at Alternatives in Action.
The brainchild of Jareem Gunter, community programs manager, the program was launched to help male students talk about these issues, bond and develop self-respect. So far, about a dozen male students, mostly freshmen, are attending.
“I need a person I can look up to,” said Hosea Wade, a 9th grader.
The reasons for joining FLY range from a desire to bond with other guys outside of sports teams to a need for a safe place to ask questions and get information.
“Some of the guys don’t know how to tie a tie,” said Gunther. “Others need to respect girls or women.” The current trend — to disrespect women — began 10 years ago and is reflected in rap music and culture, he said.
Some of the freshmen realize that it’s time to confront sexism. “I want to be in the men group to be more mature than I am now,” said freshman Desmond Crump. “I want to be more polite towards girls, my parents and any other adults I talk to,” said freshman Quentin Garrett.
So far, the focus has been social. But the three adult leaders have written a pledge they hope to teach club members: to honor themselves, to hurt no one, to build community.
Posted in Academic success, after school, campaign, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, Education, high school newspaper, hiphop, history, journalism, leadership, rap, reading, relationships, School News, school spirit, Sexism, single sex class, stereotype, violence, writing, Youth
Tagged Alternatives in Action, community, disrespect, First Love Yourself, FLY, honor, manhood, pledge, sexism, women
McClymonds students (left to right Jacob Miles, Lee Benson and Anthony Beron) take part in National Hoodie Day in support of Trayvon Martin.
by Anthony Beron
School’s out, but McClymonds students are closely following the Trayvon Martin trial, now in jury selection.
Several students, including juniors Jacob Miles and Lee Benson, took part in a National Hoodie Day, in support of the 17-year-old Florida high school who was murdered after buying Skittles and Arizona iced tea inside a gated complex in Sanford, Florida.
“I feel that what the man (George Zimmerman) did was out of pocket and the court should give him (Trayvon Martin) justice at least,” says Jacob Miles, a junior.
Zimmerman argued that he was in imminent danger of being attacked by Martin, who was at the time unarmed and pleading for his life, according to CNN.
“I’m angry. After all, this is just another example of how Black and Latino youth are targeted because of their skin color,” said Rafael (who would not give his last name), a Hispanic male in his 20’s from East Oakland, who was the apparent organizer of the rally. Rafael added, “We need a revolution!”
“I think George Zimmerman should serve a long sentence in jail, because he killed an innocent person. It was racial profiling: he just killed Trayvon since he was an African-American male, wearing a hoodie, just walking around,” argued Kardel Howard, a sophomore.
Zimmerman claimed to have been attacked by Martin before shooting him, and later took photos of himself with a broken nose and several cuts and bruises. The slug of the fatal round Zimmerman fired at Martin was lodged in the teen’s left chest before paramedics arrived and attempted CPR on him. Martin was later pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.
Zimmerman’s defense team allegedly tried to form a jury with the least number of minorities as possible. They denied the allegating: “Absolutely not, but if there isn’t a black juror, that doesn’t mean anything either. It just means that we chose the best people based on their answers to their questions,” according to the New York Daily News.
“I feel like it’s not fair to choose people that are not minorities who can’t relate as much to Martin,” said Howard. “With more minority jurors, they can relate to racism and oppression better; it should be more balanced.”
Posted in 100 block initiative, after school, changes, Children, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, Debate, Education, ethnicity, Guns, high school newspaper, hiphop, history, hype, Jesus, journalism, Justice, Obamacare, opinion, poetry, Police, President Obama, protest, Racism, rap, reading, relationships, restorative justice, rigor, rivalry, sagging, School News, shooting, small schools, speakers, sports, stress, Technology, Texting, Twitter, violence, voting, walls, West Oakland, work, writing, YOLO, Youth
Tagged CNN Justice, court, CPR, death, exposing the system, Florida, gated complex, George Zimmerman, jury, McClymond opinion, minorities, National Hoodie Day, nude people, racism, Sanford, shooting, Trayvon Martin
by Khristan Antoine
When Cupcake Brown talks about her mother’s addiction to drugs and her kids being taken away and placed under foster care, I related it to my life and friends I have lost because of this same issue. Books like “A Piece of Cake” by Cupcake Brown — urban literature — make me smile, laugh, cry, and see my life in a different perspective.
I enjoy reading urban fiction books (or street lit) because they express fictional situations that are related to what happens on a daily basis in Oakland and portray people interacting with each other realistically. No aliens or vampires for me, please. They’re just too ugly and non-realistic.
Dialogue fuels urban fiction. I can relate to and understand the dialogue because I see and hear most of the things described in these books or memoirs like “A Piece of Cake.”
I have nothing against mystery thrillers or romances, though they tend to be too predictable. The closest novel to urban fiction is a classic, “Black Boy” a memoir by Richard Wright, which expresses so many of the experiences and characters that I see in my daily life: he is shuffled back and forth between his sick mother, his fanatically religious grandmother and various aunts and uncles. As he ventures into the white world to find jobs, he encounters extreme racism and brutal violence, and some of the things he expresses I related to and understand deeply.
In her book, The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Street Literature, Vanessa Morris notes that some”classics” could be considered the urban fiction or “street lit” of its day. Books like Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets or even Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. So urban fiction is not just for African Americans or Latinos, but part of a long tradition of stories from diverse cultural and ethnic experiences. Just more readable — because of the street language — than Shakespeare.
Like Richard Wright, author of “Black Boy”, who writes about the failure of his environment to support and nourish him, I have found a literature that is appealing to me as well as easy to understand. Urban literature allows a story to be told without the excessive use of an extensive vocabulary. A language that is not often used and practiced in the streets of Oakland. I am not able to connect with a story in a deeper way if I cannot understand a word the author is using.
“It was not a matter of believing or disbelieving what I read, but of feeling something new, of being affected by something that made the look of the world different,” -Richard Wright, “Black Boy.”
Posted in Academic success, after school, Commentary, community, community activism, cost, hiphop, history, leadership, opinion, reading, rigor, School News, success, Trends, work, writing, Youth
Tagged books, McClymonds, reading, street lit, urban fiction