Je Suis Paris….

(posted by request from a piece on Ben Slavic’s blog)
I spoke with all of my classes today. In English and in Spanish. I primarily teach juniors and seniors this year, with about 20 sophomores thrown in. I was saddened to find out that most of the students had not heard anything about it in any classes.

Earlier this year we had done a series of things re: Charlie Hebdo and half of my students now were my students then.

It isn’t always easy to do. But a number of students had wonderful questions, astute observations, and several spoke to me afterwards about their own concerns. I think that it was important to do.

I have several points that I want them to consider:

a. Read, investigate and think. Media is more about money than information right now and sensationalism makes money. Read more than the headlines. Ask questions.

b. Be grateful if you live in a place of “safe harbor” (phrase from Bob Patrick). Many people in this world, in this country, and in our own community do not.

c. Fear is the weapon of choice here and that we can fight.

d. The power-hungry rarely do their own dirty work. The people who are “on the ground” committing these crimes have been recruited because they are empty, angry or powerless. The power-hungry tap into that, manipulate that, seek it out wherever they can. When we hurt, insult, shame, embarrass or bully others (or allow it to happen), we help create the people that the power-hungry need to carry out their goals. Each one of us can prevent that from happening to someone.

Having just finished In the Time of the Butterflies with one group, and looking at Franco’s rule in Spain with another, these are timely messages.

My hope is that helping them to become aware of the abuse of power on the larger scale will not only help them to become better global citizens, but also to be aware of it in their own personal lives….and to become happier, better people.

with love,


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