Beyond the Classroom…
During the height of the Civil Rights Movement many children were interested in activism. Classes were held by advisors and individuals who were able to guide. The goal was to interrupt the horrible Jim Crow Laws and prepare the children what to expect while (1) sitting at the counters trying to be served (2) standing in line trying to obtain a library card and (3) silent protesting while trying to sit in a “Whites Only” park.
Community Activist in Mount Vernon, New York, reenactment of The Children’s March created a buzz. Children were invited to Brush Park for lessons on: (1) making a poster (2) how to chant (3) selecting healthy foods (4) moments with historical figures in the movement.
Social distancing was adhered to as several stations were spread throughout the field with signs guiding them where to go next. Community parent Anissa Vincent and her children created a welcome table. A release form was completed, temperatures were taken, and a huge welcome was given. The Girls Scouts from Westchester Local Troop 2203 also greeted visitors with face mask for safety. Sharon Burgess-Blades, and Beverly Hutchins mother of Jorden Hutchins who survived Covid19 were present walking the grounds and passing out miniature hand sanitizers for children and adults.
The Ossining Community Action Program partnered with Alexandra’s Playground to provide our youth with “Summer Fun: JUSTPLAY!” Bags filled with indoor and outdoor play and activities! The bags included: a frisbee, jump rope, grow your own garden kit, puzzle/activity book, playing cards, chalk, soccer ball, resistance band and a step counter watch.
The sibling of slain Ramarley Graham told his story. Chinnor Campbell was six years old at the time of his brother being murdered in front of him by NYPD on February 2, 2012. Many gathered at the story time tree with Chinnor and a representative from State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey who fought with Constance Malcolm mother of Ramarley Graham to pass 50a. The repeal of 50-a into law, the bill that passed the legislature which up until June 12, 2020 has allowed law enforcement to shield police misconduct records from the public. These disciplinary records will now be publicly disclosed, increasing systemic accountability through transparency and taking New York one step forward to addressing police violence in our communities.
King George Snell master mind behind “Solid” t-shirts hung out in the story time section with girls from Let Girls Learn. As a Black father of a Black girl he is aware that certain books must be on his daughter’s shelf. “I Am Enough” by Grace Byers was his choice for the afternoon.
Trustee of Mount Vernon Community School District Micah McOwen and Mrs. Owen and daughter featured, joined at the story time section with parents and children. Mrs. Owen who is an opera singer, white, and a parent of a Black son emphasized on how disenchanted she has been as a mother. She read aloud as families sat, ate lunches, and snacks.
Dwayne Brown showed up before the crowd and placed a few balloons around. Reminding the organizers that the heat from the sun is not a perfect match and they will pop. He placed an arch for the “Black Lives Matter” runway. Children decorated with chalk, their own rendition of Black Lives Matter mimicking the streets painted throughout several cities.
U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Ellis Schumer, County Legislature Lyndon Williams, Commisioner Glenn Scott, Father Sabune, Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, founder of The Re-Entry Chronicles Jennifer Lackard and Bishop C. Nathan Edwars took the Children’s Pledge. Reciting “I Love You Black Child” with their right fist in the air. Father Sabune of Sts. John, Paul and Clement Episcopal Church shared, “This weekend two great activists, left us, John Lewis and C.T. Vivian both were living legends. Lewis on the Edmomd Pettus Bridge and Vivian on the steps of the Court House trying to vote. They never gave up, neither shall we. Like them we need to Stand Up! For our children!”
To create equity in our communities, adults must seek to validate and acknowledge children, expose and reveal the unseen, encourage questioning, and facilitate reflection. Mayor of Mount Vernon, Shawyn Patterson-Howard led to the children with chants. “Black Lives Matter!” She shared with them that she was “Proud, Inspired, and Excited. You are the generation next. Next is now.”
The ORGANIZERS: Nesta Felix, Tasha Young, Cynthia Turnquest-Jones, Maria Dautruche, and Anissa Vincent thank all who hung out with our children who are our future. We will continue changing the narrative by building our communities “with love” and education.
Thank you to the Director Lori Hrbek and our Community Advocate Myrna Mosqueda for helping to make it happen! Shout out to our school Superintendent Dr. Ray Sanchez for participating! #OssiningCap
Thank You Sylvia Gadson for the bags of food and Colgate bags for healthy teeth, Chelsea Phaire from Chelsea’s Charity for the donations of art supplies, Senator Bailey “Bailey Kids”, Pricilla Echi, and Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard.
#thechildrenarethefuture #childrenmarch #blacklivesmatter #mountvernon #gunsdownlifeup #letgirlslearn #iamramarleygraham #solid