Twitter / atb20

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


some days i'm just amazed at the world i live in. as part of my internship i work with families in the south bronx in a violence prevention program. we meet for eleven weeks at a given school and talk about violence in the community and ways that parents can help their kids grow up to be violence-free. there's nothing to make you feel privileged more than sitting with a bunch of women your own age who have multiple children, zero to no help from the father(s) of these children, and live in a neighborhood that does much more to ensure that these kids will never graduate high school and never get a decent job than help them grow up. as someone who grew up in a safe neighborhood where kids ran outside in the streets and rode bikes and climbed fences with intermittent supervision from the age of three on up, it boggles my mind that these children have never even felt safe in their own apartments. crack and marijuana smoke cloud the halls; violent arguments between neighbors (and sometimes parents) easily seep through apartment walls; gunshots fired a few blocks away occasionally make their way through an unfortunately-placed window (and once an unfortunately-placed child watching tv). and that's just inside the apartment. that's not talking about the old men who fondle young girls as they walk down the street, or the 13-year old girl who was shot by strangers in a funeral parlor during her relative's funeral, or the high school kids who stab another kid to death by the subway because they were dating the same girl. the deathly fear i faced in the days and weeks following 9/11 is the same fear these children face on a daily basis in their neighborhood. my fear came from one horrific event, but these children face a lifetime of living in a world that has always been dangerous and unfriendly. now imagine being the mother of these children, not knowing whether your kids will make it to school alive, not knowing whether that siren blaring past your building is rushing to the aid of your 12-year old daughter who's just been cut by a friend. these parents i meet live in constant fear for their children's lives and safety. they can't even let their kids play in the local park for fear of the repercussions, and they have to walk their kids up and down the apartment steps for fear of who's lurking in the hallways.

i have no patience for coddled politicians who claim that these people just need to get off their lazy asses in order to improve their lives. who are these white men who claim that "welfare mothers" have no right to their hard-earned tax dollars? how many of those men have sat down and had a chat with just one "welfare mother" let alone walked in their shoes?? i probably don't even need a hand to count them on. am i the only person who realizes that all of the power and privilege i was born with was just a luck of the draw? why can't these people be greatful for their good fortune and share a little of the pie? what have they got to lose? only one hummer for little dicky this year... aw shucks...

i'm sorry, but i wish every white man in washington had to live a week as a mother on public assistance before he started blowing hot air about where his tax dollars should go (just like i wish every white man on capitol hill had to get pregnant at least once before he could vote on the reproductive rights of women). i know, i know... never gonna happen... but a gal can dream..

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