Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thurgood Marshall Starz

The risk of pity is that it kills with kindness; the promise of passion is that it builds on the hope that the poor are fully capable of helping themselves if given the chance.
-Nancy Gibbs

Just thought I'd share a fun picture from the school I've been volunteering at since fall: Thurgood Marshall Elementary. Every Wednesday I help in Ms. Pan's 4th grade class. The kids are great; they crack me up. Nearly all of them qualify for free/reduced lunch and belong to communities of color. The odds may be stacked against them--statistically they have no chance of overcoming the various barriers to high achievement--but when I see them singing and dancing to Chris Brown, I feel hopeful.

These kids fit the classic profile for "the oppressed." But as a classmate said today, it's not about pity. These kids aren't sitting around feeling sorry for themselves because they were born with the chips stacked against them. They're enjoying life!

And they've got these great new friends! In the picture are girls from Seattle Girls School, a non-profit focused on empowering young women and their communities. They laugh and play games together; it's obvious the kids LOVE being with their mentors.

When we look at any person--homeless, a survivor of domestic violence, a family at a food bank--it's not about the inward thought of, "Oh, poor homeless man" or "Oh, poor battered woman" or "Oh, poor family that can't make ends meet." We--I--need to stop seeing them as victims. These people can reach the freakin' stars if they wanted.

They are not victims. They have power and potential.

Similarly, WE are not victims in any situation or circumstance. WE have power and potential.

Christ looks at us and sees our potential. He knows our power because it's his power.

Aiming to see myself and others with the eyes of Jesus.


  1. I love this picture, April, and I like to imagine the kids dancing. Do you dance with them, too?

  2. kids are sort of amazing. i'm glad you have them and they have you.