There was a foul odor and floral scent mixing together at FCLC’s Rally for Solidarity on March 8th, 2012. The obvious anger and frustration caused by the racial and homophobic graffiti that littered Fordham University’s campus within recent weeks was in the air at the rally. The speakers’ personal pissed-offness and the student body’s pissed temper was constructively expressed by way of speech on Thursday. At the same time, a positive sentiment of hope fluttered around, reminding students that we are the people capable and responsible for making our present and our future better.
Each speaker present at the Rally for Solidarity delivered valuable messages; however, as a rally held in the name of solidarity, it was unfortunate that the speakers contradicted each others’ speeches.
As a Lebanese-American, there is nothing that makes me more proud and curious about life than my ethnic roots. It is absolutely correct that my ethnic roots separate me from African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Europeans, etc…, but the universal qualities that we, as human beings share, should not and shall not be disregarded.
Some speakers delivered speeches on behalf of the gay community, the Muslim community, and the African-American community, but a handful of other speakers were present as members of the human community. To the humanists, I agree with you: do not let the differences manifest themselves as concrete blockades between us and them.
Walking away from the Rally for Solidarity left me confused and unsettled. As highlighted by one of the speakers at the rally, Fordham’s style of addressing the problem was wrong: “The Walsh Incident” sounds more like a freak-accident fire. A euphemism used in order to cover up the reality of the monstrous and hideous racial conflict lurking around our campus is only feeding the evil creature more fuel.
So I thought about a way to clear up the confusion for myself, and hopefully, for all of the LC Radar readers. I went to the Harlem Children’s Zone this Saturday afternoon with my friend from Georgetown, who also attended the Rally for Solidarity at Fordham. She suggested we visit the Harlem Children’s Zone to see a place that has eliminated the black/white achievement gap.
I watched Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minutes interview with Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, before heading out to its actual location. His vision was to create a place where children could receive the best education in equal status to schools found in white suburbia. Not only did he imagine an educational safe-haven for little twirps, the mastermind installed medical facilities, after-school centers, pre-K schools, classes on parenthood for expecting families, and SAT prep courses. He successfully eliminated the achievement gap between whites and blacks in several grades as well.
Geoffrey Canada knew he was different than the white person sitting next to him, but he did not let those differences get the best of him. The Harlem Children’s Zone is not a center that looks to singularly advance the black community, it is a place that envisions the advancement of humans who unfortunately live in violent households and neighborhoods, who suffer from economic hardship, who are surrounded by drugs and alcohol, and who have little positive reinforcement. The Harlem Children’s Zone has made a step towards solidarity by recognizing the duty of people to better their present in order to advance their future.
I think Fordham needs a field trip to the Harlem Children’s Zone.
Mehgan Abdelmassih, Editor & Blog Writer