Monday, November 22, 2010

Planting Roots of Redemption and Healing in Oakland

I love the people that call this city (Oakland) home. I have a particular love for the neighborhood togetherness I see in West Oakland. I felt pressed on my heart, to get more deeply invested. In my past, I found students understanding redemption and healing through hip hop and spoken word. Whether listening to secular or worship hip hop, the beat of the rhyme so often speaks to the soul. Seeing youth articulate what is in their soul and transcribe it to words is powerful. I decided to send some curriculum and my resume to a West Oakland public high school proposing to lead a 7 week spoken word/ lyric writing workshop. Within a day I heard back and school officials scheduled an appointment with me.
During my meeting I walked down barren hallways. I entered a main office with bars on the windows, where to my surprise I found an abundance of students but no staff. The lights were out in the room and all the kids had been sent by their teachers. I was greeted by the afterschool teacher who informed me that 70 students were showing up to their new program and were hungry, angry and aching for attention. He told me that students were so in need of nourishment that they had been breaking into first aid kits to drink bags of water kept there. I wasn't shocked by this statement until we were approached by a student. The conversation went something like this: Teacher: “ How are you doing today”
Student: “Ah, I am feeling sick”
Teacher: “ This is the third day you have been sick, did you eat something bad?
Student: “ No I haven't eaten anything”
I will be starting to teach on November 29, 2010 at 4:30 PST. Your prayers would be appreciated. Due to the lack of staff the students have been using the pro tools and garage band equipment to make rap music with violent gang threats, slandering some of the students who have gotten involved in prostitution, and boasting on Money that they don't even have. A lot of my rap stems from the redemptive nature of my Lord and savior. I hope to bring that light into the studio. I pray that I can help focus their writing and structure it to flow from concepts, not lies. I cant do it without prayer. Please aid me.
- Tara, CSM San Francisco Bay Area Associate City Director
Teacher: “This is good, these kids need it, you have one thing against you, though”
Me: “What?”
Teacher: “You’re white”


jaybird said...

My prayers will be with you as you proceed where others would be afraid to follow. The Lord has a future and hope for those kids, as He does for us all who are willing to seek Him. May God richly bless you in this endeavour.

Calgaroo said...

I absolutely love yourvideos..thanks for sharing