Rhythms of Childhood; Young Protesters

May 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Every afternoon around 3pm I walked down the hill from P.S. 104 past my apartment and across the train to the building with the colorful mural, P.S. 172. A tall dark skinned woman in a black leather vest and black jeans greeted me by the door each day silver bangles jingling from her slender arms. Ms. Janet always had activities ready as we walked into the room. For three hours a day I watched math shows, colored in Minnie Mouse books, slept, ate, and went on field trips. It was a rhythm I did not question.I thought back to this rhythm sitting in Mott Haven Library listening to the rumble of  footsteps and chants.

Groups of 15-20 kids walked down East 140th street chanting “SAVE OUR AFTERSCHOOL !”. The mass amount of children, parents, and bystanders was enough for me to visually understand the impact shortsighted budget cuts had on my neighborhood. At 7 or 8 years old these kids, like most adults, did not understand the complex web that is New York State governance, but I was happy they got the opportunity to experience the rush of using their voices positively. While feeling the cool spring breeze was better than sitting in a classroom, hopefully twenty something years later they remember this May afternoon. Twenty something years later, they are creating their own rhythms and they know which ones to interrupt.

Leslie Matrone the Director of East side settlement House so graciously allowed me to take photos of some of her kids and immerse myself in what was happening in this moment. I will never forget these kids, their signs, and the energy on East 140th street.
Thank you.

Sign the Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-mike-bloomberg-stop-cutting-funds-for-child-care-and-after-school-programs

Read the Public Advocate DeBlasio’s report of Bloomburgs cuts: http://advocate.nyc.gov/files/DeBlasio-CutNowPayLater.pdf

Rockyatu Otoo for Pearls and Revolution


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