Posts in category "Uncategorized"

Why the Bernie Sanders speech at the DNC failed

Throughout his speech at the DNC last night, Bernie Sanders spoke from multiple perspectives—too many perspectives for the speech to function as a unifying, mobilizing moment for this former democratic candidate who endorsed Hillary Clinton earlier this month–and who wants to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. At the beginning of the speech,... Read more »

Four reasons Michelle Obama's 2016 DNC speech made a difference

1. It spoke of the familiar Anyone who has felt isolated, angered, disillusioned, or cynical during these political campaigns had something to connect to in Michelle Obama’s DNC speech last night.  Without mentioning names, Michelle Obama mentioned all of the deplorable acts that would endanger the future of our children with a Trump presidency—whether they... Read more »

Being a barber is about more than cutting hair

Fred Castillo knows that when a man walks out of a barbershop, “Most of the time, you feel like a million bucks.”  While Fred feels proud of his work, he also sees that it’s about more than cutting hair.  “It’s about building a friendship,” Fred explains.  “At the barbershop, you develop a bond with the... Read more »
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Why the arts matter more when tragedies like the Orlando shooting happen

A few days ago, I wrote about what I say to my young son about the violence in Chicago, the city we live in.  This morning, we learned about the cruelty in an Orlando, Florida gay night club.  My 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son are unjustly growing up in a time when the life-damaging racism,... Read more »

What do I say to my young son about Chicago's gun violence?

My 11-year-old son has the responsibility of watering all of the plants the backyard, in pots on the deck, and in the front.  He complains each time.  But he does it.  Lately, he asks, “Who’s going to watch me in front?”  We’ve never let our kids be outside in front of our house by themselves. ... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools students share when speaking up made a difference in their lives

As part of our junior English class, my Chicago Public Schools students converted their personal essays into audio essays. These audio pieces explore the views of four young people who found the courage in themselves to speak up when faced with difficult situations. For Benito Escobar, speaking to police officers in a complex situation gave... Read more »
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Why my 8-year-old daughter loves dancing flamenco

Why my 8-year-old daughter loves dancing flamenco
For over a year, my 8-year-old daughter has been taking flamenco classes at Studio Mangiameli in Logan Square. She loves it.  This weekend, Angela will perform with over fifty dancers in Lovesong, a dance concert inspired by T. S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Chiara Mangiameli, the accomplished flamenco dancer who choreographed the show,... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools students learn lessons about death, racism, and drug use from friends

As part of our junior English class, my Chicago Public Schools students converted their personal essays into audio essays. These audio pieces explore the views of three young people who gained wisdom through friendship struggles. For Liliana Flores, the lesson came after dealing with the death of a close friend. For Bianca Nuñez, realizing a... Read more »

Female Chicago Public Schools students find fulfillment through sports

As part of my junior English class, my Chicago Public Schools students converted their personal essays into audio essays. These audio pieces explore the views of three young woman who found fulfillment through the struggles and triumphs of playing sports. For Gabriela Gonzalez, volleyball tryouts helped her find a courage and determination within herself. For... Read more »
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Male Chicago Public Schools students re-consider academic achievement

As part of my junior English class, my Chicago Public Schools students converted their personal essays into audio essays. These four essays explore the views of four young men who re-defined what it means to succeed academically. For Jose Rodriguez, a math test became a turning point in academic life. For Kamil Lata, a Polish... Read more »