UPDATE: ‘Educational hurdles for minorities’ ran in the April 18 edition of Vida en el Valle.
The Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color held a regional hearing at Fresno City Hall last Friday.
This was no ordinary hearing.
The hearing was intended to investigate ways to improve the lives of young men of color in communities across the state. And in Fresno – where boys and men of color comprised 65.2 percent of the city’s total male population in 2010 – there is a lot of room for improvement.
But this extraordinary hearing proved that despite the social and educational challenges facing young men of color, there is a lot to be hopeful about.
Minutes into the hearing, Roosevelt High School students “flashmobbed” the Fresno City Council Chambers, and began singing and dancing to the Black Eyes Peas song, ‘One Tribe.’ Everyone in the packed audience – and especially the legislators on the dais – clapped to the beat of the song.
Throughout the hearing, young people shared their stories of struggle and triumph. At times, I found myself wiping tears from my eyes, instead of taking notes. (You can read more about these stories in this week’s edition of Vida.)
Toward the end of the hearing, Sammy Nuñez, of Fathers and Families of San Joaquín, complimented the youth on their performance.
“Earlier today we saw our young people do a phenomenal job – they rocked the place,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on, but I loved every minute of it.”
Then he launched into a performance of his own, reciting the lyrics of ‘The Rose That Grew from Concrete,’ by Tupac Shakur:
You see, you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love its will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals.
Based on all of those performance, I’d say there is enough energy, commitment, and passion to bring #BMOC Justice to Fresno.
Boys and Men of Color, previously on Harvesting Health:
- The story behind the story: How the first Assembly Select Committee hearing on Boys and Men of Color inspired a story
Boys and Men of Color, on other blogs:
- PolicyLink Equity Blog: Reflections: Hoodies, Flash Mobs, and the Future of CA’s Boys and Men of Color