Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Just too briefly discuss my experiences at Sampson Park; I’d say it was a real “eye-opener.” To assist in promoting nonviolence was a privilege but our community has work to do. I observed children depreciate their area and there was no one telling them otherwise. The level of disrespect is high. Our role in the Super Bowl event on this past Saturday was to offer peace education through the arts. So AFSC set up an area where we would first explain to the youth what both peace and conflict were. Following the discussion, we helped them to express what peace meant to them through painting t-shirts. A lot of the kids were in competition, telling one another that their shirts weren’t as good as theirs. This discouragement caused conflict. I also witnessed some of the youth write the names of their “hoods” on the backs of their t-shirts. Instant segregation. As AFSC Interns, I’d say, me and the other interns tried our very best to create a environment for everyone to come and express themselves.
I remember one young girl asking if she could make a shirt for her mother because there was another girl next to her making a t-shirt with help from her mother. Unfortunately, we were unable to give her another shirt because we were backed up with other youth who still needed shirts. But before we could express that to her, one of the girls she came with said “I don’t know why you making her one cause it’s not like she coming out here to get it and if you bring it home it’s not like she’s gonna wear it.” The look on this young girls face struck me. I could only imagine the feeling of watching someone else’s great relationship with their parents and not having developed one with my own. Support from the parents, I believe, would have made all the difference on Saturday.-B. Kennedy
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I left our day at the park feeling like I made a difference. Since this was my first event with AFSC, I wasn’t sure what to expect from not only the 9th Ward, but the kids we were supposed to be reaching out to. I had never been to that part of New Orleans, so I was shocked to see how deserted the area still was although Katrina passed years ago. It pained me to find out that broken glass, trash, and bullet casings around the park were what the kids were used to. I was a little intimidated by my lack of “street experience” and wasn’t sure what I could possible teach them. Once things started, I was reminded that no matter how chaotic their surroundings were, they were still kids. I didn’t know how natural talking to them was going to be until halfway through the workshop. They were more attentive than I expected and it felt good to see them listening to our list of peaceful tactics to deal with their anger. I enjoyed helping them make their Peace T-Shirts and look forward to the next event
Pictures from the glorious day
My experience at Samson Park was typical. I deal with many events where the environment is the way it was there. I originally thought the turnout would be bad. I’m glad a lot of kids showed up but I feel that the message wasn’t getting across to them. They were more focused on other things and starting conflict amongst themselves. Most of the kids there were positive and had a good attitude, others not so much. The next time we do an event such as this one I know we’ll have better ways of pushing the point of us coming.
Pictures from the glorious day