Crime, Poverty and Education: It’s Not Rocket Science
Posted on Sep 25, 2007
Harris: So if you had a solution, you’d probably be the president.
Avni: Well, no, I wouldn’t. That’s the problem. That’s the thing, we all have the solution, teach them, pay attention to them, stop treating them as criminals, you know.
Scheer: Get mentors.
Avni: Get mentors. When you do get mentors, make it easier for them to access the facilities. Apportion more money to schools, provide college scholarships. It’s not rocket science.
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Scheer: What hope is there? It’s the same elected people. They don’t care, right? You talked about that in your piece. I mean, people don’t care. There needs to be something that shakes them up, whether it be Beverly Hills being flooded with trash, or whatever, there needs to be something that shakes up the system enough so that people can get what they need.
Harris: Sheerly, is there no hope?
Avni: Of course there’s hope. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it; so it’s hard. But there’s about 15 different organizations that I could name just off the top of my head that are available in Oakland for helping kids get employment, mentorship, even transportation to school. All sorts of different things that could help them get what they want and get what they need. So, absolutely, on an individual level, there’s not a single person out there that can’t make it if they want to. On an institutional level, to Truthdig listeners right out there, we’re very active on the war. I know that the people who read Truthdig care a lot about what’s happening in Iraq, what’s happening with our presidency. If you also spent one hour a week in your local school, or tutoring some level in juvenile facilities, there is a war going on where we are right now. And you can fight that one, too.
Harris: I think that’s well said. But, just tell me when you have the time to volunteer at juvenile hall? I’m suggesting that the society we’re living in has become so harsh on the average American that the average American doesn’t have any time to really help out the public sector or to give back to the public.
Avni: You can make time.
Harris: They can make time?
Scheer: That’s what I’m saying though, you have to shake up people to let them know that there’s a problem. So many people don’t know there’s anything going on, and, you know, when you have someone who is elected and lives in the hills and doesn’t know what’s going on in West Oakland, that’s a possibility, right? Someone has to educate [Mayor] Ron Dellums and others, other people across the country.
Avni: Well, there’s also a racism issue here. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that most people who are doing well are in the white middle class, or the Asian middle class, and have really, really strong opinions about what’s wrong with these people, that they can’t get their lives together. So let’s not pretend people are just busy.
Harris: Sheerly, thanks for joining us, and thanks for your candor. If you want to read Sheerly’s work, be sure to go to Truthdig.com. The name of the piece we discussed today is “It’s the Ecstasy, Stupid.” Until the next time, I bid you farewell for Josh Scheer, for Sheerly Avni. This is James Harris and this is Truthdig.
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