Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Civic Duty

Recently I was called to Jury Duty for the Federal Court. Even though these things are never convenient it was an interesting experience when I got selected as a juror. The alleged crime took place in my neighborhood and several derogatory remarks were made by police and attorneys about my neighborhood of "Oak Cliff" Texas, which I totally did not appreciate! It reminded me that that the neighborhoods we generally serve in HIPPY are saturated with negative self images and stereotypes that are perpetuated both by those within and outside of the community. What's it like for a child growing up hearing that their neighborhood is "the bad side of town", and their school is "a bad school"? How does that affect their own self image and their hopes and dreams? Yes, we hear a lot about the kids that break out of their humble roots. What are we supposed to do with those who don't, those who stay in the neighborhood and raise children of their own there? We have a responsability to all children, those who stay and those who go. One of the strengths of HIPPY is that it builds upon the leadership and positive aspects of every neighborhood and every school. That's something that will make lasting change from the inside.

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