Pura Neta for Prisoners

Now more than ever before, we must become better critical readers and writers. There is no escape: whether you like it or not, you are a reader and a writer. We are reading and writing more than any other people in the history of humankind. That does not mean, however, that we are better critical readers and writers. We are, for example, bombarded with propaganda that poisons us, and this affects what and how we read and write.

Because of COVID-19, we are in a new era of education. Forget all of the pedagogical problems associated with education right now. For the purpose of this writing, I want to focus on one key aspect of our education: writing. With the advent of online learning and online forums, students must be able to articulate themselves clearly, confidently, and also complexly, for they must constantly prove themselves through writing. Unlike the days of the past, when you could simply shut up in class and submit your essays on the due date, now in the online learning environment, you must constantly write and prove your ideas. The key to education now and in the future is writing.

This past year teaching online, I have witnessed what is happening. In past face-to-face classes, students could kick back, observe, and absorb. I could spit out ideas and some students could challenge them right there on the spot. We had real world engagement and a metaphysical experience as well. Students who did not want to did not have to participate or show their writing to the entire world. That was ok that they did not participate, and it was also beneficial so that they could gain confidence in an intellectual identity.

That has all changed. In every class, whether it is a sociology, political science, or English class, students must now submit their writing to a public class-discussion post every single week. Many are not confident thinkers or writers. Many do not know how to learn on their own. Students are more concerned with real life issues, such as work, family, and health. They are dropping out of all levels of school, and the main reason that they are dropping out or not even logging in is that they are not confident writers. We must change that. People become writers through reading. The more complex works you read, the more you subliminally steal and learn to copy a writing style. Then you eventually transform it into your own style. We must give students texts so that they can relate to others’ lives, learn something, imagine something else, and re-invent themselves.

It is my honor that I have joined with CHALK SF (Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids SF) and their Power Youth Movement and have donated thirty two (32) books of Barrio Bushido and Pura Neta for the imprisoned Loved Ones at San Francisco’s County Jail, aka Bruno. Over the past ten years since Barrio Bushido was published, many Loved Ones who read that book while locked up have thanked me for writing it and have told me how that book changed them. The good brother Jon Jacobo donated twenty (20) copies of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which is, coincidentally, the first book I ever taught to a high school class at a high school I had been kicked out of a dozen years earlier—the old Woodrow Wilson, aka the Dro. In the near future, we will also be donating culturally relevant books to Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail.

It is a gift to receive the blessing to give to others.

Big things are on the horizon. This new year coming up I will be implementing more unique amor action, especially to promote critical literacy and authentic education.

Stay tuned, Loved Ones 🙂

San Francisco County Jail, aka Bruno

Click here to read 48 Hills News Review and Interview: “Pura Neta, the Mission, and the Price of Gentrification” https://48hills.org/2020/12/books-pura-neta-the-mission-and-the-price-of-gentrification/

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