Geoffrey Canada Speaks in Bryan Series
Social activist and educator Geoffrey Canada recently spoke at War Memorial Auditorium as part of the 2012-13 Bryan Series.
Commanding the stage as few do, he sounded the alarm about education in America.
“I have been on a crusade to wake the country up about what’s happening to our children,” he said. “I am amazed at how this country has totally lost sight of how we need to help our children.”
He spoke about how some children grow up in places where the education is far below acceptable and life often leads to crime and other hardships.
“We accept that in some places that’s just what happens to kids,” he said. “We have places where children are not being prepared for the labor market. In these places, they grow up, and many break the law. We have decided that we should lock them up instead of preparing them.”
He juxtaposed the problems with education with the fact that the United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, which leads to its own problems. He suggested that better education is the answer.
“A funny thing happens when kids get an education,” he said. “For some reason, they don’t go to jail.”
Society spends a lot of money incarcerating people and gets nothing from it, he reasoned. As an alternative, spending money on education and developing young people yields many benefits for society, including less crime.
“People can get as angry as they want, but I refuse to be quiet about this,” he said. “We’ve allowed a group of adults to convince us that what works everywhere else is bad in America.”
We must be responsible for this change if it is going to happen.
“There is no one coming to save your kids,” he said. “There is no superman, no superhero, no one flying in to save your kids. This is about what communities decide to do for themselves. I’m sorry, but that’s the only answer, and it’s not a satisfying answer.”
The Bryan Series was created through the generosity of Joseph M. Bryan Jr. ’60.
The series will continue March 28 with former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a bi-partisan conversation about how to work together to resolve important issues. The program will be moderated by Gwen Ifill, managing editor of Washington Week on PBS and two-time vice presidential debate moderator.
The 2012-13 season concludes April 16 with Thomas Friedman, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his international reporting and commentary.
Story by David Pferdekamper ’12