Tonight is the Plenary Session! Below is a repost of the special message written by Plenary guest, Malcolm London:
Today’s guest blog post is by Malcolm London. London called the Gil-Scott Heron of this generation by Cornel West, is a young Chicago poet, activist & educator. Malcolm appears on PBS for the first TED Talk television program with John Legend & Bill Gates. Malcolm has shared stages with actor Matt Damon & Lupe Fiasco as a part of the The People Speak, Live! cast. Appears on Season 2 of TVOne’s Verses & Flow. Winner of Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival 2011 and once a member of the Youth Adult Council at Steppenwolf Theatre. He is now a member of UCAN’s National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention & Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. A passionate educator through Young Chicago Authors & Northwestern Legal Clinic apart of Rights to Power project where he visits communities introducing poetry workshops and performances linked to juvenile & social justice to hundreds of youth every year.
No building has a story without a foundation. If we are building a future where the sky’s the limit, one without ceilings, one where all our children are heading in the right direction–upward–we must have a strong foundation. Join panelist Dr. Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, Lila Leff, founder of Umoja Student Development Corporation, Dr. Sofia Villenas, Associate Professor at Cornell University and myself, TED Speaker and educator through Young Chicago Authors and Northwestern Legal Clinic, as we discuss the necessary need for our culture, our true histories and our stories to be the foundations of our everyday curriculums. I encourage you to come out to the American Anthropological Association’s 112th Annual Meeting plenary session located at Hilton Hotel International Ballroom North (720 Michigan Avenue) November 20th, Wednesday evening at 6:00pm as we reimagine education.
We will be joined by four incredibly talented students I’ve been working with for the past two years from Simeon Career Academy’s poetry club, Writers Never Die, started by school counselor Patrick Kirkwood and teacher Lisa Roule, who will perform spoken word pieces at the AAA Plenary. As a Chicagoan and young organizer in this beautiful city, with beautiful buildings, I know its’ crumbling. Only half of the public school students’ graduate (that’s a failing grade) and public funding has and is taking a hard hit in this city, and nationally. While my work as an activist is to find out who is doing the punching, on this evening we will come together to inspire, challenge, invigorate and engage in fruitful dialogue as anthropologist, educators, students, parents, all loving human beings in hopes to continue to build toward the sky, while remembering and re-examining our histories, our foundations so we can reimagine our stories, and our education.