Reflection of Ferguson, MO. By Malcolm McCrae
Six months ago I spoke to a group of youth at an alternative high school in Fort Worth, TX.The students were made up of mostly black and hispanic young males. The students were so amazed at my presentation “Empowering Young Males” that a conversation broke out about the pressure that poverty puts on them and how they find it hard to do right when society expects them to do wrong. They were expressing their frustration of how the world perceives them as gangsters and criminals. One of the students became very emotional as he expressed how black and hispanic males are targeted. He went on to talk about how the media affects the perception of black males in schools by teachers and administration. This is something that I took to heart, as I reflect on my own life. I share my life in my book “ To Live, To Create To Inspire "How art saved my life.” I remember the feeling of being labeled as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) just because I was black, poor, and it was easier to prescribe me a drug than help me cope with the pressure of poverty at home. These young people helped me reflect on my struggles in life growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This is something that I always mention whether conducting a “How art saves lives” presentation, or teacher inservice workshops that I do with educators. The bottom line is, we have to offer more solutions to our students that help them grow from yesterdays victims into tomorrow's leaders.
Here are 5 tips that will make it easier to connect with our youth..
Solutions: On the road to recovery.
1. It's been said that, "Rules without relationship equals rebellion."
Take the time to get to know the challenges your students face.
Step into their world.
2. Create safe and sacred space for students to share their thoughts and feelings.
Teach them how to research and reason so that their thoughts and feelings are backed up with research. This is truly a teachable moment in which students can become passionate about learning.
3. Create a climate of transformation in your school and classroom.
Have posters with positive images of art that is relatable to their culture and home environment.Have students create the posters as part of a class project.
4. Involve students in service learning projects.
When students see how simple acts of service can transform their community, they take a more active role in improving their community and feel more empowered in doing so.
5. Being vulnerable builds value!
Students need to know about you, some of your personal struggles and how you overcame them. Compelling stories create trust and connection with students.
GIVE YOUR STUDENTS OR STAFF A TASTE OF TRANSFORMATION!
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