I want to write about making a child smile. I want to write about how making them happy made me happy. But I can’t. I can’t sit here and type away another story about superficial fluff. Not when I spent a good portion of my time at the Christmas party thinking about what lies ahead for these little boys. These boys, who will face challenges in their lives many of the people reading this could not even dream of. It is not because of their merit that they will fall behind, but because of the circumstance of their race, their education, their economic circumstances, their family and their community. When they are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white man, despite similar use rates. When African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense as white Americans do for a violent offense. When they will struggle to finish high school, to get a job, to get a life better than what their parents had. And what angers me is that, at this point in their lives, not a single piece of it is their fault. Their lives were pre-determined and shaped by a thousand factors before they were even conceived.
I found myself questioning why we were there. What good was it to help now if we know that in the future, there is a mountain of adversity in front of these little boys? Why do we even bother? But I have come to realize that while that particular activity may have not brought about lasting change, the thoughts it arose in me have given me new passion to build more, work more, do more, for the benefit of this community. Work so that those children may have a better chance, in their schools, in their jobs, or in their houses. Because that’s what AWB is. AWB is change, change in the present, change for the future.
~ Noah Doshna – 11th Grade, Flemington, NJ