We are the bringers of news to America. We are the voices of the people. We experience the toil of the earth, the woes of labor, the disenchantment of everyday things. Every movement, every calling, every revolution starts at our feet. Yet. And I say yet painfully. We are rarely the bearer of such things. We are just the beginning. Let me explain.
Behind every report, every Rhodes Scholar, every doctorate, every critic, every artist – is the real thing, the news, the experience, the life, the struggle, the experience. And yet, we are not the bearer of news. We are not the published few. We are not the reputable group called pundits, called artists, called journalists, called historians, called noteworthy few who make a living off the lives and backs of the rest of us. We are not the scholars who make a living dictating research at college off the backs of disenfranchised boys and girls who were paid candy canes and blow-pops to fill out yet another survey or take another test – all for the benefit of John Doe, Ph.D. who publishes another research report saying all in one “the achievement gap exists,” and “we continue to study outcomes.”
We are the ones who sweat and toil. We are the ones who deliver curriculums made each night by the bedside, after a long days work, because if we don’t nothing gets taught. We are the ones who dig in the soil and give over what we find for a small compromise, commitment or compensation – most likely enough to feed a month or two state of mind. We are the ones who sit and listen to the problems of mankind, only to share for a fare to get from here to tomorrow. When will the person who dreams, feels, works, toils, spoils, rots, cries, despairs, gives up and comes back, forgets about school be the one to share their story for me and for you? Why do we always read about our lives through the pen of others? Why must we find an intermediary? Why are we always looking for someone to tell us our story? Going back to school, sending out a paper, looking for a publisher, getting a job are all such difficult tasks for the working class while for some, it is as simple as that. And the best reads are the ones of the elite who go slipping and sliding into the ordinary world only to go back and tell the details of this and that for the purpose of tolerance, understanding and diplomacy. When won’t we need you to give me charity? When will I get to speak in my own language? When will we get paid for our experience instead of selling it to you (and often without knowing) for free, or for beans? Gringo news. I don’t prefer to hear about things from you. I prefer to hear it from the source. What? They don’t know how to write as eloquently as you? Not true. The only thing is this man who works in the mines doesn’t know the editor of the Nation or the Boston Globe. Isn’t that just it? Coming of Age in Latin America.
We must make a public and valued space for the ordinary. It is not because the ordinary is anything more than what currently exists, but rather because it is not anything less. We must make space for the ordinary. The ordinary builds peace and acceptance for every day life and existence. We must practice the art of honoring the every day voices of the street. That does not mean the “street” as in ghetto. It means the all in between. The world that we know it, not the kings and the queens or the stars and their bars. Simply you and me and mom and pop and his neighbor and down the street. We are the people and we need to fight for a place to be heard. Not because we have studied, or deserve it or have merited it or because we have worked for it or because we are exceptionally gifted and talented or because we are aspiring to be somebody. Simply because we are the ones who sweat the toil of the earth and without us, with out us, there would be no green.