It seems like a long time since Occupy held my riveted attention–and probably yours too. I went into NYC several times last fall to visit Zuccotti Park. It was an exhilarating experience—which is hard to describe now. It was made even nicer by finding James De La Vega and his friends and relatives there. He was our student at Central Park East ore than 30 year ago—maybe 40? —whose thoughtful wisdom at age 5 has remained with me for years, as well as his special artistic talent, He does many kinds of art—but is perhaps best known for is graffiti art. We hugged and laughed and took pictures of each other in many poses—with and without friends and relatives.
So, how nice that my friend Todd Gitlin wrote a book about Occupy—focused on Zucotti but going beyond, He captures everything I loved about it as well as the mistaken reasons that I would definitely have advised against it, if I had been asked. Fortunately, I wasn’t. They did exactly what Ted Sizer tried to do when starting the Coalition of Essential Schools in 1985 (whose its 17th birthday will take place on Nov 9-11 in Providence). They both “changed the conversation.”
Gitlin both celebrates Occupy and tries to understand its role in our future. It’s not a pessimistic account even though OCCUPY, like all the rest of us, hasn’t figured out what to do with the energy they helped create, in lieu of obstacles everywhere for “occupying” space.
We’ll see. Read it and learn from it—because we need their spirit to re-occupy center stage in educational circles tool
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