first in a series
During the culminating ceremony for our 2016 Summer Institute at Balboa High School, participants shared their thoughts on the subject “If I could tell the world about human rights…”
Here’s Tasha Pasternack, a teacher:
“If I Could Tell the World”
If I could tell the world about human rights,
I would start with my students.
I would tell the world how smart they are,
How they leave school at 3:30 to go work until midnight,
washing someone else’s dishes,
then go home to do their homework
in someone else’s language,
then sleep for a few hours before waking up
to do it all again.
I would tell the world how my students
have left their countries
to come to a place where things are “better,”
a place with justice for all,
the land of the brave
and home of the free.
But instead, many find a place where racism still reigns,
where there’s justice only for those with the “right color” skin,
a place where colonialism kills and exploitation still happens.
A place that is still very much far from free.
I would tell the world about these students
I get to work with every day,
how I marvel at who they are,
and all that they face.
I would tell the world about my students
and how much they mean to me,
and how they make me want to work,
not for the world as it is,
but for the world