Lakeview Teaches

A reflection from a bay area educator and member of the Occupy Oakland Education Committee about the Lakeview action and struggles ahead.

In the long list of defeats that keep us humble and push us forward
knowing only that growth and knowledge come quickly and are constant
yet we remain endlessly chasing wisdom
Defeat is constantly an option
and all we can do is run the risk
We never know
but we always try
As revolutionaries and as humans-
what drives our disempowered, exhausted selves
-hearing a ten year old say that they no longer want to be a cop
-when a comrade asks me to hold him because he is scared to feel his own power
-when the police scare us with trespassing notices and THEN we open the doors of a school they thought was theirs
-the anger of standing next to a killer who continues to hold more rights to a public educational space than I ever will as an educator
-the intricate maneuver of balancing security with inclusiveness (the shades of gray between being called “fascists” and keeping away “pedophiles”)
-coming “home” to 15 children: hands and faces covered in paint, making signs fighting for schools, education, our future
-that a 3 year old learned who schools really should belong to-looking at police planted where she had slept for 3 weeks stating “Who’s Schools? Our schools”
-words from a parent “Ill do my best to be out there with my son but if not keep in mind that we r there in spirit…we love you”
-A sign held by 3 little boys that says “Tony Smith…let the 99% decide”
And yet, we don’t struggle because of this emotional feedback-where momentarily we catch a glimpse of what victory might feel like
The urgency of this moment is nothing compared to the struggles of peoples around the world and through history for their liberation and lives
Humbled by our insignificance
we can also be proud
Not because we are great, unique, or special
We are ourselves at our worst moments:
passive aggressive, exhausted, inpatient, hurtful
and at our best:
hard working, caring, intentional, strategic, brave
In a struggle where nothing will be a victory until we get there
knowing we probably won’t ever see it with our own eyes
and there are no guarantees
and yet living any other way would be impossible
For a defeat, this wasn’t bad
and those moments of building:
either of ourselves, our networks, our movement, or our collective consciousness
Prepare us to continue to build these defeats
to be honest with our children that TODAY these spaces do NOT belong to us
We only confused those powers into letting us hold it for a moment
But we tasted what it could feel like
and imagined what we could build
and the work it would take
and the joy it would bring
And these sweet reminders are necessary to propel us from defeat to defeat
deepening our resolve and belief that an ultimate victory IS possible.
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