The tweens and teens gathered on a warm Tuesday at a coffee shop in St. Charles on Beale Street to sit outside and wonder why the world seemed so entangled.
They felt they needed to process the new that was coming across their parents’ social media, their friends’ conversations, and the news over the last week about murders, protests, and still the quest for black people to simply live in the United States.
Deciding to forgo an afternoon of intended writing, they engaged in think tanking, dialogue, and examining their experiences as students in suburban schools.
One telling moment was when the police circled the quaint little residential/retail area and the youngest girl immediately replied to the group that “Books Up, Don’t Shoot” would be their new mantra, the most dangerous thing they have been doing is reading. It was interesting that this 11 year old, newly minted middle schooler instinctively knew that her presence in the country has now become more complicated.
Over the course of a summer of literary dialogue, these young people have been transparent and transformative in their discussion about the upcoming election, the place of history in the current culture, and the danger of ignoring the obvious.