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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 10.14.2022

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

Over a span of four years, I’m always part of an advisory from one of our schools and also advise other students that intentionally find me around our similar interests. This is one way I keep grounded in what is going on in a school given that most of the time my connections are with adults, This gives me a different perspective as I can look at a student’s growth over time. Four years ago, I choose Andrew Coburn’s Advisory in the Park because I was interested in how this park experience was going to take shape and perhaps influence others. My time with his advisory started before COVID and as it turns out their wonderful use of the park and their interest in BPLiving evolved together. It is in this way that I got connected to Jasmin and Angel who have done remarkable work spreading BPLiving at The Met and beyond. BPLiving is work that matters to them as they navigate who they are and ought to be in this world. Same is true of Alisha at the Next School in Mumbai, India. Alisha is doing incredible work both in her school and in community settings around a passion she has for getting more people to have healthier lifestyles using ACLM’s measures thus preventing many diseases.

Student/youth involvement in all types of social justice issues is part and parcel of how I grew up. The recent brutal murders of two young Iranian women involved in protesting their government’s oppressive practices is just the latest example of the high stakes role our youth play in changing the world. Reports from the Iranian government show that the average age of detainees involved in these protests is 15 years-old – high school age students. They are literally putting themselves in harm’s way. In many protests, high school girls across Iran have taken off their hijabs as an acknowledgement of freedom.

In the late ‘60’s in the US, girls had to wear dresses and boys couldn’t wear sneakers to school. No one could wear jeans. Clothing is one of those symbols of change and freedom of expression. I remember us getting suspended for wearing clothing deemed not appropriate but it was way bigger than that. Finally, in 1972, part of the Title IX non-discrimination provisions, stated that dresses could not be required of girls. Dress codes thus changed in public schools across the United States. And earlier in 1969, Des Moines Independent famously lost a Supreme Court case for violating students’ First Amendment rights by suspending five teens for wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. And now because of the youth protests in Iran, The UN and Amnesty International are looking into how youth are treated internationally.

All of this is to say how passionate young people are about their feelings for freedom and creating a just world. Whether it be the Little Rock Nine or students protesting gun violence, our society still has a hard time hearing youth voice. Taking new steps and uttering new language is what people fear most.

“At least 60 percent of philanthropic resources are consumed in ‘the doing of the doing’ and never get near the people for whom they intend to do good.”

People in many circles call “the doing of the doing” planning but to me planning has always been imbedded in the doing and when it lives too far outside in meetings and becomes “the doing of the doing” unto itself watch out and I’m out. I’m always self-assessing as I’m doing so, reflection becomes embedded in the doing as well. Instead of Plannnnnnnnn….. - Do – Reflectttttttttttt…. It looks more like PlanDooooooooooooReflect. How do we spend our time?

At B-Unbound we are developing connections to adults who can give youth experiences from their experiences. To this end, this week, we signed a contract with the Sweetwater District about B-U as part of their afterschool program. We hope Sweetwater is the prototype for doing this work in other districts like Fresno, Escondido, Calexico, and more. Also, we had MOU’s developed with New Rochelle school district and Kim Jones at Oakland Adult Education Centers. And, Anthonette and I had a call for the B-U start up at Cooper Union that creates a program both for their students to be supportive adults to students in NYC as well as developing their own connections to adults who are supportive adults to them. Our “3rd Ave shuttle from E 7th - Cooper Union to 149th – The Hub” was discussed.

I was walking through the airport when I spotted a teenager wearing the t-shirt, It’s Time. Get Out There. I ordered one.

Next week Danique & Co. will be doing Living and Learning workshops on BPLiving. Another great start to this important work on creating and generating self-organizing systems of prevention. Danique, Carrie, Anthonette, Andrea and I had another very good next step meeting with Carlos Santini and Angelina Garner from Mizzen by Mott. Mizen is a platform used by youth development organizations to expand their programming. Our practice and content fit nicely into what they are attempting to do

From Lived Experience to the Written Word – Pamela A. Smith

“Skilled and expert performance of techniques can never be taught in writing: they take time and practice, and they necessitate communities of practitioners both to develop and define what constitutes skilled practice and to teach and transmit it.

If you watch this video it exemplifies this quote. My friends son is getting certified in stunt skydiving. JUMP!

Last week my friend Shelby’s dad AJ Ryder passed away at age 88. I’ve used his line, “Are you with me now?” as the start to my TGIF’s for many years. Those words put together mean a great deal. AJ was an amazing man. Hope we all stay with him now.

Be Well!

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