11 September 2006


No, this is not a 9/11 post.

Someone I know, more specifically, someone I taught this summer, was killed. He was enthusiastic, capable, and young: he had his whole life ahead of him. I knew that most of the people in that program lived very different lives than I have. That to grow up poor and a minority in a city has certain temptations, certain risks, and a lower life expectancy, but this really drove the point home. So much potential, just... extinguished.

Every place I have lived has taught me something. Philadelphia is the city that is really rubbing my nose in the realities of life for those who didn't grow up near golf courses and taking piano lessons. The people I saw in the ER, the men I worked with in Veterans Upward Bound, even the composition of the neighborhood I live in... I have never seen so low a level of general education, so many guns, and such a high level of drugs, violence, anger, PTSD, alcoholism... and all so beautifully juxtaposed with the Ivy league, rich-kid haven that is UPenn.

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