Lots of words. tread carefully
YO YO YO
I started volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club on Thursdays at the Penick location. Now a bit of background to give you some reference. Its south of 630. This is one of the more recent freeways that has come to Little Rock. Say what you will (locals) about how and why it was built, but it offers as a rough dividing line between the two Little Rocks as one. Here is a picture of Little Rock
Now 630 is the dividing line. Between the black community and the white community. Some things south of 630, one of the main campus’s for University of Arkansas, the Hillary Clinton children library, a couple of cemeteries, the sheriff office and
jail detention center. Now truthfully, bias is involved, but this won’t become an opinion piece, turn to facebook, buzzfeed and the Atlantic for that. That doesnt seem very optimistic, kinda bleak. But people…. survive south of 630.
North of 630 is an interesting mixture of white. (yes this has to do with the B&GC, stay with me). There’s a lot of money in north LR. The Walton Heights, several private communities and houses that would cost a cool million out in California but only 750k in Arkansas. There’s money in the people, there’s fancy places to go eat, the UALR medical center is north of 630. Several department stores and businesses are located north of 630.
Ok, now that I’ve painted the picture for you, lets get back to the Penick B&GC. South of 630. I wouldn’t say it’s in a bad neighborhood, I don’t think Little Rock has a truely has a bad neighborhood (define that for yourself). The first day I arrive, a bit early because my truck broke, so I got to meet the staff. One of the guys comes in and say ” You get in trouble? They usually don’t send white guys out our way”
Uhhhhh no. I’m new and volunteering.
So I get to play pick up basketball with 7 year olds and they beat me every time. I keep it close ok. 99% of the kids are african american, I make the 1% in the room for a few hours. Also Penick has a really good basketball program, they attract more kids than they hardly know what to do with it seems. People actively send their children to come play basketball here. From all over LR. I know this isn’t a 100% truth and a mere observation, however the white families that sign up there kids for basketball often drive luxur(ous)y cars, there kids dressed in charter or private school uniforms. I don’t think they need the B&GC like the kids who attend every day.
Over the last few weeks, Second Pres. has put on a series in analysis of the LR school district. Brief background: there is no easy answer. The school board was taken over by the state two years ago. Charter school are on the rise, but do they really perform as well as the LRSD schools even though they are separate from the rules and have less restrictions on how to teach. And are they taking kids that could raise test scores out of the the LRSD. Also private schools and how they stem back from the integration of central high and how people feel they needed to keep their kids separate. They represent the rich and affluent families that can afford to send their kid to private school. Also loosing a chunk of funding from the state government. And on top of that, is the government run school board going to be able to raise test scores higher that before they took it over. If they can’t then, why did they take it over in the first place. Its like wading into a kiddy pool filled with gasoline as it’s on fire. And the state government(board of education) did a swan dive into it. If you want a headache, do research on it. It’s interesting as it affects all of LR.
I went to Avilla (not Availlia) for a monday night worship service at Zion Lutheran Church. I brought some fresh vegetables from the farm as they have a food bank on Monday nights too. This is the closest food bank to camp and is only about 35 mins away from the greater LR area. However the town is quite small. Two completely different worlds 30 minutes from each other Imagine your stereotypical Arkansasan. And I bet you could have picked them out of the service crowd.
The face of hunger is is not what you expect. The face of hunger is the elderly. The face of hunger is not hungry now but tomorrow they will be. The face of hunger is not a race, a religion. The face of hunger is not educated at a doctorate level. The face of hunger has vices and smokes and I bet you 100 bucks, drinks too. The face of hunger might be clean but the body is not. The face of hunger is the body that has tattoos or scars or medically wrong. The face of hunger eats but isn’t full. The face of hunger is obese because an only carb diet will do that to you.
When do we become accountable with the choices we make, and have to live with the consequences. Can we blame it on the “system” for choices we make.