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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's 1.06.2023

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

Happy New Year!

As most of you know, I’m big on everyone keeping written notebooks. They become your Intellectual Property (IP) and that’s no joke. Yep, they are admissible in court re: disputes over patents and original work . Here’s Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulin’s words and images together from January 1st 1943. From Write a song a day to Love Everybody to Fight Fascism to Take a Bath and Shave there are some simple common sense gems here.

It seems like for the past week I can’t get away from Bklyn. My connection to Woody Guthrie was through Martha Guthrie, his wife who ran a dance studio a few neighborhoods away where quite few of my friends who had careers in dance started out. Woody’s daughter Nora was also a dancer and last I saw was at NYU Dance School ending up in Martha Graham’s Company. And while I was reading this, an article came through about a New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) album being nominated for a Grammy. After the police murder of George Floyd, the New York Youth Symphony decided to honor Black composers by rehearsing and recording selected pieces by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery and Valerie Coleman. During COVID sections of the orchestra met in the recording studio and the album was engineered and assembled. No one got COVID during the entire process. Anyone who says that there weren't lots of creative endeavors happening with our youth during COVID better think twice. This is the kind of work driven by youthful spirits that I love.

HFF Brooklyn style

A Bricklayer Rebuilds His Life is a story about Francis Rosario’s navigation through an almost impossible system to navigate. Now 20 years old, Francis dealt with so many of the issues our students face on their journey navigating the health, education, foster care, housing and human service systems. Through all of this, he ended up going to a college majoring in engineering and leaving because the support and funds weren’t there. All of this said, Francis found the trades where he fit them and they fit him. Here he could combine his art and science chops in ways where he will earn a great living and make his community a more beautiful place. Below is a photo of Francis Rosario at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn where he is working as an apprentice mason in restoration. Green-Wood is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country.

This is a Harbor Freight Fellows story without Harbor Freight. Our work is to make sure loads of youth navigate their way to meaningful work without falling on hard concrete over and over. Part of my next trip to Brooklyn will be to meet Francis and see if he will help us with HFF.

Another BPL?

And, for some unexplained reason…. The BKLYN Public Library (BPL) started appearing in my inbox. First with an article about a library having a micro college. Turns out that Bard operates this college at BPL Tuition, books, etc. are all free. Linda Johnson, President of BPL states, “The campus will be the library. Not just the building, but the resources.” This includes human resources as well as books. They give out an associate’s degree focused on the arts, advocacy and sciences. The BPL/Bard campus is one of three schools Bard started to work with New Yorkers who have been previously deterred or excluded from higher education and this is the first of its kind college/library partnership ever. Sounds like a good fit with College Unbound for a BA.

Also, at the BPL, I ran across a story about a group of high school students meeting on its entry steps for the Luddite Club. I love this youth group for its ability to self-organize across schools, take on social media and the challenges of using technology in good ways.

Then, before I read Andrew’s TGIF about Shirley Chisholm, I ran into this quote of the month. Andrew suggested at some time I share the chapter I wrote for a book about Shirley Chisholm and her influence on me and my neighborhood where Shirley Chisholm was our Congresswoman.

Finally, to end it all for Brooklyn, Chris’ TGIF referenced the new book on the Grant/Harvard longitudinal study – The Good Life and I had a quote from Walt Whitman, editor of the Brooklyn Eagle already teed up.

“Happiness not for another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour”

There were lots of other happenings this week like an uptick of work in India, a podcast I did on the International Big Picture Learning Credential with Michael Horn and lots more work on BPLiving and scaling Harbor Freight through B-Unbound Carpenter Clubhouses but Brooklyn rang. I need a trip home.

Be well!

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