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July 27, 2002

Every week, one of my colleagues, Amy, and I teach a general knowledge course. The objective of the course is just to broaden the horizons of the students. To give them a taste of all different topics. Amy and I taught a course on slavery in the United States in response to the question that we are often asked "Are their black people in the United States?" We taught a lesson about the Revolutionary war all the way thru to the mancipation Proclamation in just an hour and a half (my history teachers will be shaking in their shoes!). It is a GENERAL knowledge class to say the least! It was a difficult topic to teach about objectively and honestly to this audience. It is a question of justification....how can it possibly be justified that MY ancestors profited off of THEIR ancestors?

Just last week, though, we decided to give the students an outlet for their creativity. We introduced them to the concept of "An Open Mic Night." At first, we were nervous that no one would have anything prepared and it would be a failure. But, the students all had something they wanted to share with their classmates. One student wrote a poem in response to our class on slavery. He wrote it both in Portuguese and in English. I would like to share the English version.

LocateLike water of the river
we were run from our country...
the heart is stubborn to forget

We feel the pain
of iron, marks, fire on our skins
of our grandparents
with marks of slavery

Whatever did we do
to the world
to be worthy to wear
the Slave Crown

-Locate Pita