The main speaker was Salome Thomas-El, principal from the Philadelphia area. He had a rough time growing up, and understands what many students are going through. His story sounds compelling, and I really like what he's doing/living out....even if it is becoming a Disney movie. Side note: Why Disney? Why? Why not just let something good be something good, and not have to capitalize on it? Or perhaps...does good become better when Disney is allowed to amplify its' message to the world? Hmm.
In any case, while many are struggling to leave inner city jobs, and make enough to support their families in locations that are "safer, more updated, nicer, etc..." whatever. Salome Thomas-El decided to stay with the inner city, and encourages others to do the same. As a father and husband (he is too), I gotta admit, that's be a hard message to swallow. So much contained in the words "inner city" are things I want to protect my children and family from. Yet, it's the call to the church as well.
One thing he spoke of, I think is a very popular sentiment, no matter where you live it seems. From the article above: "Success is a rejection of their background (and community)." How often do you hear young people talk about success and "leaving this place" as if they go hand in hand? How many of us feel more successful than those who "still live back there"? I admit, it's an illness that I find in myself sometimes.
Not that moving away, pursuing a dream elsewhere, etc...are bad things. But what about promoting a success that finds itself at home in a long term sense of community? How about raising students and relating to them in a way that helps them envision themselves as part of something worth staying a part of/coming back to?
May we be a people who view success differently than the world...