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Friday, December 22, 2006
Introducing Ray McCoy!
I am as pleased as punch to introduce a fifth member to the blog -- Ray McCoy! Ray will be waxing rhapsodic pretty much about whatever the heck he feels like and I am personally elated. Why? The man knows his way around a blog and his posts read like that of a very profound thinker. Between Graeme Anfinson, Craig Bardo, Kay Hansen and Ray, I can see I better step up my game! Now, I'll shut up and let Ray do the talking:
Earlier this month I gave a talk to a group of students about preparing for college. The students were 12th graders attending Higher Ground Academy. To my surprise my audience was primarily Somalis and Oromos. Higher Ground’s mission is “to create a socially committed, morally responsible, and ethnically diverse learning environment that values students individually and collectively.”
I wondered how I might connect with this group.
The students made it simple. They were, quite frankly, amazing.
They wanted to know everything about selecting a career path and the right college or university to help them reach their goals. My time with them was delightful. It gave me a glimpse of the future of the United States. We discussed the influence of racism on career choice, college matriculation and career advancement. We touched on the way in which the world views credentials as compared to “goodness of fit” or do we feel comfortable with religious differences, differences based on dress, culture and national origin. They presented a new energy and substance to the discussion about race, racism and Affirmative Action.
It was most evident that these new citizens soon to enter the adult world will push the boundaries of the age-old debates regarding race, gender, equity, access and opportunity.
As a Baby Boomer I benefited from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. My life chances were profoundly influenced by the willingness of Black Americans to march and die in an effort to end segregation and provide equal access to education, employment and the promise of democracy. The history of the Civil Rights Movement and the strategies employed to achieve the gains so hard fought for and won will have to be reexamined as we seek to include so many others.
That is a good thing too. The debates about the Iraq War, Affirmative Action, Gay Marriage, U.S. policy in the Middle East and various other hot spots around the globe will be forever transformed when this generation of high school students enters the political debate. These high school students represent an opportunity to reframe discussions about access, equality and opportunity.
My hope is that we will recognize this as advancement in and of itself. My hope is that we will recognize that those whose national origin is Somali, Oromo, Ethiopian, Mexican, Salvadoran, Uzbekistan and many others are now citizens of this nation, did not share in our history but will share in and in some cases bear primary responsibility for shaping our future. They must be included and must be given room to make their contributions.
There is no future in attempts to exclude, marginalize or set them aside. In doing so, we only sow the seeds of our destruction. Our opportunity lies in setting aside our longing for the good ole days and walking boldly forward with the new faces of the United States. These new voices are just a stones throw away from the front lines of the seats of political power.
Let’s make room.
Posted by Ray McCoy
link | posted by Jae at 9:43 AM |
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