Monday, November 06, 2006

Pedagogy of the Oppressed and the Poor

My job is more than a hoot! I know that I am very fortunate to get to do what I do everyday.

This past Thursday, as is always the case on the first Thursday of each month, I attended the November edition of our Urban Engagement Book Club. Randy Mayeux, my longtime friend and "partner in crime,"did his usual masterful job in providing a thorough synopsis of yet another important book, Michelle Kennedy's, Without a Net--Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) In America: My Story. Each month we all leave feeling as if we have read and digested another significant book that addresses some aspect of social justice, public policy and/or chronic poverty.

These meetings are very helpful and extremely unique. I'm not sure there is another group like this anywhere in the country. If you know of one, please let me know. We are exploring plans to offer these meetings in additional locations around the Metroplex and in other cities.

The conversation is always amazing.

The reason is not hard to find: the diversity of our group.

Ministers, business leaders, public officials, teachers, volunteers, social sector workers and the homeless gather for a light meal and for the stimulation of Randy's presentation and our discussion.

I know of no other public space in Dallas where homeless persons take the floor and instruct those with homes about the realities of their lives on the streets of our city. Nothing trumped up here either. Just a meal, a book and a conversation.

It is magic.

It is also community.

We have been doing this for over two years and community is forming.

I know that a number of the studio apartments in our new Downtown building will be taken by some of the participants at our book club. I also know that the intelligence of these very poor persons is informing our plans and the hearts of all who show up each month.

If you live in Dallas or if you are here on a book club day, join us. You won't be disappointed I can assure you.

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