by Romanalyn Inocencio
Watching In and Out of Shadows at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco was like sitting in my living room listening to my Mom. The Filipina mother in the story threatened like my mother, giving you a choice of what household instrument you can get hit with.
It hit home because I’m Filipina and these life stories — focused on fears about the police, stress over grades and college — reflect the anxieties of my undocumented cousins and friends.
Some significant details are different of course. The stories of crossing the border into the United States from Mexico, when one kid had to be drugged because he could not learn his fake name,and another had to crawl through the sewers, are harrowing.
The musical builds on a familiar theme: college application. In it, the undocumented teens are preparing their personal statements for an AB 540 conference at UC Berkeley (AB 540 allows DREAMers to attend California colleges at in-state rates).
We meet Angel, who arrived in the US alone via a sewer when he was 13. And Juan who, as a determined six-year-old, had to be drugged with cough syrup during the crossing because he adamantly refused to take his cousin’s name as his own. We watch a newly urbanized “vato loco” (crazy dude in Spanish) teaching an undocumented Chinese friend how to speak street Spanish.
Running through the entire musical is the fear of deportation. Many families in the play have deceptive status – undocumented parents who lie to their children about their papers (often telling their children they have papers, when they don’t) and who live in constant fear of separation.
Even under AB 540 or President Obama’s recent two-year deportation deferral program for certain undocumented youth, students who get to stay may suddenly be left alone with nobody to take care of them. The diverse group of young actors, many whom are directly affected by the issue, mix English, Spanish, Tagalog and other languages as they examine the unwieldy human effects of this messy political issue.
DeSean Jackson talks about Crenshaw, bullies and achievement
by Pamela Tapia
Nobody knew the “back story”: how McClymonds “won” an assembly with DeSean Jackson, Cal’s beloved star, now 24 and a wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was tweeted and Facebooked, announced and whispered and then, he was there.
Wearing jeans, a light blue Superman T-shirt, earrings, and a beaded necklace, Jackson dominated the room.
“He the man” said Shaquille Jackson, a freshman at Mack (no relation to DeSean).
The football star spoke from the heart, talking about his tough childhood living in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. He mentioned the violence that he witnessed as a kid and remembered friends he lost to crime in that area. He also touched on the subject of poverty and making a promise to his family about “making it big.”
“My mother doesn’t work for anybody. She works for me now,” said Jackson.
Jackson turned to a more serious tone when he explained that bullying was one of the reasons why he got involved in football.
“Where the bullies at?” said Jackson, who is 5-foot-10.
Eddie Heard, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and quarterback for the McClymonds football team, jokingly stood up as the crowd chanted his name.
“He’s the biggest bully here,” said Dalvin Guy, a sophomore.
Jackson snickered as Heard sat down. He regained the crowd’s attention by assuring the group that “bullying doesn’t pay the bills.”
Jackson explained the dangers of bullying and mentioned his meeting with a victim of bullying on the show “The View.” He described that the 13-year-old victim was bullied by a group of seven teenagers and one of the offenders filmed the entire assault.
Jackson introduced his brother Byron Jackson, former San Jose State University wide receiver, who spoke about achievements in both of their lives.
“Desire. Principle. Belief. Power. With these principles you can achieve what you want,” said Byron Jackson.
Byron Jackson then showed a film about DeSean Jackson’s football career. The film calmed down the excited students, and ended with an image of Jackson’s loss to the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 playoff game.
“Don’t let anybody tell you can’t do it,” said Jackson.
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Tagged bullying, Cal football, Crenshaw, DeSean Jackson, The View, UC Berkeley