Saturday, February 16, 2008

Diversity Week in the library

This week was an interesting one. The library hosted two Diversity Week speakers on Monday and Tuesday and we had a full house for both presenters.

On Monday a group from the teen homeless advocacy organization, Ambassadors of Hope, talked about the problems homeless teens and young adults have in Marin County. The speakers someone who was homeless herself as a teen and determined to do something about it to help others. A young man who had recently been homeless also told of his experiences on the street. They showed a movie narrated by Peter Coyote, a county resident, about the particular problems homeless teens face here. Once they turn eighteen young people can no longer be part of the foster care system and with little or no support many become homeless.

Tuesday's speaker from Seeds of Learning explained the issue of fair trade to students who attended her presentations. She had worked in Central America with coffee growers who tend to be exploited under free trade agreements. The picture at the top of this post is from their website.

Both sets of speakers spoke to all seven periods of classes and as many as two-hundred students heard them each period--so they reached a lot of kids.
From the students comments, questions and answers I could tell there was a wide range of beliefs and responses to both speakers.

At Redwood we are fortunate that the Leadership class and it's teachers are not afraid to delve into controversial issues and consider that diversity refers to more than just ethnic or racial diversity. In Marin it's sometimes easy to forget that there's a great, wide world out there with issues and problems that we can make a difference about.

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