I was incredibly moved by this short piece. I don’t know too much about the director and I am not sure if the film speaks beyond Iran. However, I don’t think that it is at all limited to a geographic area. I want to be careful about constructing something into this video that it wasn’t meant to present. When I watched this, I couldn’t help but think about Communism, Fascism and Authoritarianism and how each society has these elements built into it.
Regardless of my own experience with the video, I hope that if I am ever faced with a situation where the answer is clearly 4 when asked what 2+2 equals, I too would stand up like this young boy.
Did you know there is a Constitution Day here in the United States? Its observed by the federal government on September 17 every year. That happens to be the day back in 1787 when our founders ratified the present day Constitution, affixing their “John Hancock’s” onto it and leaving the legacy for us Americans.
Folks might remember it by another name- Citizenship Day- which was changed in 2004 by some legislative finagling done by the late Senator Robert Byrd, who attached the name change to the Congressional Omnibus (spending) bill. No, still doesn’t ring a bell?
The funny thing is for any child (or adolescent) attending any school receiving public funding, the law requires that the educational institutions offer educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.
Its a powerful thing, our legislative process, because it in the very slightest of ways their vote penetrates into our lives. Those who wield that power are beholden to the voters.
The current process by President Obama to seek Congressional approval for military strikes against Bashar al Assads forces, and in particular his chemical weapons, is an example of how our Constitution works. Its an example of what it takes to be a Constitutional Democracy. Then there is Egypt (here, here and here).
Our Union isn’t perfect, but we’ve been working at it for 200 years and there is something to celebrate there. So for this years Constitution Day, whats do you think is the most important amendment given the reality of our experiences in the world today?
Last summer I gave my last workshop on Community Organizing at the 7th Annual Muslim Youth Leadership Program that takes place in Sacramento. Now its time for the 8th installment of MYLP and I wanted to share some thoughts with the Alumni of the program. I have been part of the program for the past seven years. It is by far one of my favorite programs because it gets high school students to engage with the legislative process and understand how they can empower and change their communities.
The program started with a half dozen kids from across the state of California and last year there were 56 students that came from across the state. AMAZING. But the past years participants have gone on to University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Boston University, Duke and Stanford for graduate studies- just to name a few places. Students have written compelling opinion pieces helped with election campaigns, gotten amazing internships, traveled internationally for research, got research published in major journals, worked on lobbying for healthcare bills and even found some pretty dope jobs. These kids that come to MYLP are truly gifted before they join the program, but I like to think that they are all empowered to find a new avenue to pursue their dreams and still be civically engaged. Its this difficult terms we call being “well rounded.” (More on this later.)
But every year participants get excited and often their excitement doesn’t translate or materialize into some community project success. I think that is not an issue but the real problem is to run into a wall and loose that excitment when faced with disappointment or relativity slow development. Here is some advice for the students who participated in past years MYLP programs.
If you are already in college go read the Undie-years. If you are a Senior in High School read Seniorities, maybe check out the Junior year post. If you are younger then jump to the part for the young’ins. If you are a parent reading this then you should start with the section that is most pertinent to your child, however, let me warn you this post might not make sense because its not written for parents, but rather those brave few students who stumble here.
1. You already got into college, Undergraduates or the way I see’em, the Undie-years
2. Senioritis- You are a Senior in High School
3. You are a Junior in High School (looooong post, but worth your time!)
4. You’re Young and Restless