Monday, May 22, 2006

Evaluation & New Planning

Kathy and I knew that by going to my moms school for only one day couldn’t make the huge impact we wanted to have. But we did what we could, considering going to my mom’s school was so short notice and she had to inform everyone. We at the beginning of the plan wanted to do workshops where we invited parents, family and friends to a workshop about neighborhood involvement and awareness, but there wasn’t enough time to organize it, because if we were going to do it, we would rather have took time to organize it, so it could run much more smoothly. So what we did was that on Friday we went to my mother’s school during the day and we got to sit down with a lady my mom set us up with, one she considers to an activist in Redhook. She is involved in Community Board 6, where she talks with people about issues that are on peoples mind. She is a considerable activist.
By talking to her we got a feel already on the climate and atmosphere on Redhook, so we could walk into the P.S. 27 classes with more of a look in on what the kids were experiencing, realistically, not from book or unofficial website. We were given the opportunity to visit one class from each of the grades, starting with 3rd going to 8th. It was interesting and flabbergasting what the kids already knew at such young ages. To begin we introduced ourselves as students from a high school concerned and informed on the conditions experienced in Redhook. Just with that intro, we began to ask questions about what they enjoy doing, what they do around the neighborhood, if they could change one thing what would it be, etcetera. One question led to another, and they actually informed US that they were already thinking about the unsanitary conditions and their curriculum involved the problem with Asthma in the community. By just talking to them it was simply so nice because we felt so much potential from the kids, but it was hard when they were experiencing it themselves. But we tried to let them in on how people such as teenagers ourselves were concerned, and more then willing to lend a hand and do what we could. We up things such as transportation, supermarkets and all that and we asked them the TRUE issues they feel are not fair and think should be changed. Kids see it all when it truly comes down to it, and they could put the finger on what’s really holding them down from reaching what they want.
I really think that by talking to the students, we have gotten their minds thinking a little more, because they see the issue going beyond just the limits of the community, its become domestic to a certain extent. I feel like Kathy and I have really begun something significant. I think with each visit we make we can have a smaller goal in mind, till we can get kids involved in inviting and helping us organize helpful and informative workshops.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Planning the action

Well honestly I wasn't able to take any action. I wasn't able to go to any of the nieghborhoods, or discuss with activists already involved just yet. If I would have done it I probably would have gone to my mothers school which is located in Redhook, spoke to a lady who my mom has been trying to refer me to for a long time and discuss with her my idea first. After discussing with her that probably would initiate something else. But maybe I would make certain teachers in the school aware, talk randomly to people who lived within the nerighborhood, and start getting ideas flowing. But who knows what would have happened if I went to Redhook, if an opportunity might have risen up, I don't know. I hope to carry out an action soon though.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Analysis of Action Plan

To help carry out the goal in the hopes of it being even better, Kathy and I decided to work together on the same project. So now the issue is more focused on low income communities economically disadvantaged, which includes things such as public housing and a lack of job opportunities. Many may say that it has already been targeted and ask what should make this different, but its more about why we feel this problem exists. A lack of education and awareness makes things such as bad neighborhoods happen when people aren’t informed on how to begin changing them. So what we basically want to change is the oblivion of the next generation and their willingness to accept inhumane conditions. They should feel they have more worth than to be going through things such as unsanitary homes, or an environment drained of financial benefits. We want to change the attitude in schools in the community, from ignoring the problem as if it should not be touched. In schools they hush the issue because they use student confidentiality as an argument or they say it is off topic of school work. But when it goes on with the majority of the students and they go home to be nurtured in such environments it needs to be addressed. Neighborhood awareness, and youth involvement needs to be intertwined into the curriculum somehow, or even start by having after school volunteer workshops to discuss such issues.
It is sad to say but even though I think that people working with the public housing, and those that are in charge of Redhooks conditions, etc. may get irritant or dislike what we do, I almost feel like the people of the neighborhood will be our opponents. They are so used to their lifestyle they would be scared to make such a huge step to change it. They may not take us seriously and think were in it just to “look good.” When things have been implemented for so long to come out and ask to change it, would take the same amount of time to reverse it, (well sometimes). The problem is some people can be so clueless that they choose not to even want to change it, they just deal. We need to reach those that do care and don’t want to have to stand these conditions. Conducting interviews and having in depth conversations with residents would help us see the people’s perspective on things, authentic ones. I think it could be a great start, but I don’t want people to think their guinea pigs or pitiful, we just want to educate and make those who think they don’t have the worth aware.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Action Research Project

Education is misunderstood. It cannot be defined behind the walls of a public or private school classroom, it needs to be defined as a source of awareness, and many are missing the inner ability to become aware of their surroundings. It’s easy to become accustomed to things, just because you feel you have to. I decided to have my action research plan focus on my earlier issue which was low income communities disadvantaged by public and private policies. So many low income communities are main targets of becoming malleable. They are so easily manipulated because they have been 'miseducated' on how to fight back. They’ve learned to accept, because they aren’t sure on how to rebel, or they have become victims to the unfortunate circumstances. When I say public and private policies I mean things such as banks, supermarkets, transportation all examples of things that aren’t fairly implemented in such neighborhoods. Food value is not as great, transportation sucks, and banks interest rates are way up. These are all ways the people are subjugated and unknowingly tortured because they are not aware that they are being cheated.
This issue is so interesting to me because my mom works in a school in Redhook, one of the worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn alongside Brownsville and Bedstuy. Being in that atmosphere and seeing for myself the experience was taunting because I saw how REAL it was. As well hearing the stories my mom tells me about the conditions at home, and how happy kids are to actually COME to school, made me feel like the public schools in redhook can be a great source of education. It may be the only leeway in getting kids aware of their neighborhood. If kids are excited to go to school that’s a good start. I would definitely like to talk with activists already in the neighborhood, and even create workshops, meetings, discussion panels, or even a side curriculum focusing on Redhooks conditions. You have to start off small, in one community before you branch into another. I guess what makes my issue is different is that I have already seen where exactly I want to focus, and I have already experience some life in the area with the people. I am not only trying to target homelessness or poverty but the root as to why people can become impoverished. Educate those that haven’t been given the chance.

Monday, May 01, 2006


With the whole acts of kindness thing, I think that was all just a sugar coating scheme. Like yeah okay, we would all be nice to eachother and everyone will be kind, but that would just be a facade of what truly is going on in power structures for example. Being nice can only go so far when we restrict other emotions such as anger that come naturally in life, just to be friendly. Yes of course being kind to another should be natural but when we go out of our way when we dont feel it true to how we feel then then it becomes contradicting. Being nice is definitely comforting and nurturing, but what are we really changing? We feel nice and its great that we are helping others but its not hitting the core issue. Its the power structures that need to have politicians that know the meaning of being "nice." It seems almost insignificant when the people who hold the most power in making direct change aren't mentally alligned with the population. I think that if we use the self change approach first than that will help us respect and understand the people around us more and it will be more intrinsic for us to want to help one another with a goal and idea in mind. You have to begin with yourself first. That promises determination and aim. I truly don't think there are any limitations to working on yourself. Working on yourself is the beginning to something innovative and worthwhile.

The Man in the Mirror: description

"For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission." This quote by Henry David Thoreau addresses the mistake I can say I make day to day. I talk about things, make them vague and think by talking about it so generally categorizes my thoughts to be automatic life changing ideas. They have great potential in being, but they lack because they still lay general and open, needing to be weaved in with detail and referenced thoughts. By understanding who you are (at this particular time, because we are constantly changing) helps you see what you stand for in society, because like many say you will then fall for anything. Change starts within you, so if you don't stand and mold what you want to see how can you ask something of someone else that you cannot possibly ask of yourself. I know for myself in particular I think I am more or less oblivious to a multitude of historical events and timelines, significant world events, etc. It is easy to want to make a change in the world, but cliche or not, you cannot create a future without knowing the socities past first. To "be the change I wish to see in the world," I need to first understand and comprehend why the world is the way it is now. How can I change something when I don't know the path it took to get into the position it is currently in? To make myself more knowledgeable makes myself more aware and informative. In society like Thoreau says, it doesnt matter how small the change may be, you have to start somehwere. If you begin with yourself, and are aware of the situtaion at hand it will be much easier and convenient to reflect it of the people around you. Lack of awareness equals ignorance, and thats something we already have so much of.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


When you feel good about something, it's probably because you are proud of what you did and feel as if you grow a bit because you are adding on to who you are, and/or what you have done through past experiences. To feel good about yourself is a great thing, and on top of that because you feel you helped someone or was kind to someone almost makes its to be a win-win situation. Though, I think that forcing such acts like these is what almost defeats the purpose of being "nice," etc. The whole point is to intrinsically, almost subconsciously see no other way in acting, but being kind. In being kind its almost opening doors for people to feel more prone in talking to you, and feel comfortable as well. With an accumalative amount of people effecting eachother by acts of kindness, etc. slowly leads to a domino effect of respect between them. But how do you define being "nice"? My ideas are probably so extreme because to change the mindset of people who have been acting a certain way for years and years will take years and years to change. Im rambling on and on, because its a difficult thing to approach. How would being nice bring social change? What if to one person being nice is being cruel to another? We stress being different, but then we scream for equality, when everyone will see it so differently. Life is more complex than just being nice. Or do we only think that? Oh man, who knows?

Assignment 1: Description

Considering the fact that I spent basically all of today with my mother it seemed perfect timing to engage in "several acts of kindness" and "senseless acts of beauty." You would think living with just my mother after my brother left for college my mother and I would have an outstanding relationship; to some extent we do. Today I actually traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to visit Temple University and I acted in a way with my mother that I hadn't ever done for more than an hour. I truly took in what she said during the trip and without immediately getting irritated I would respond genuinely and kindly. Its hard for mothers to not get annoying so easily, but despite all the pounding questions and comments, and rushing she did at Temple, I really respected her perspective on things. I had to realize she was just trying to understand and she couldn't read my mind. She wasn't a psychic. I payed for my moms food, opened doors for her (and other students haha) and in her terms "didnt raise my voice." When we even got home I cleaned the house, and even sat down with her and talked to her about some issues that she was having that she wanted to discuss with me. Even though I wasnt able to interact with a lot of other people, and as well reflect kindness on to them, it felt good to show my mom that I could be genuine and understanding. My mother always thinks I raise my voice too much, and can show the least of respect at times, so to show her that the tables can turn felt good. She is always someone I look up to, which seems reasonable as a mother, so for her to appreciate it, makes me love it even more. It just can be difficult to do ALL the time, which you would think would be the goal or hope of this all. (Or at least most of the time!)