D I V E R S I T Y: Children in an Urban World
Last week I had the opportunity to volunteer for a conference being put on by an organization started by a professor at my school, Equity for Children.org and UNICEF. The conference was titled Children in an Urban World and featured panelists involved in programs and studies focusing on child poverty in urban areas. The most striking of the panelists however, was a group of inner city teenagers involved in ATD Fourth World Movement Youth Group, an NGO which works to find solutions to end extreme poverty. Living in New York, extreme poverty is not an issue we can turn a blind eye to. It is evident in this city, and it is surely acknowledged all over the world. This begs me to ask, when is it that we start to notice? Being in the field of International Development, what hits home is hearing the very people living in poverty speaking and giving their perspective. One 17 year-old girl Lameisha spoke in front of nearly a hundred students, academics and professionals so confidently about her circumstances. While she hasn’t had an easy time growing up, she knows her struggles, and through ATD has helped to realize how to overcome them. One such method she spoke of was meditation. Lameisha said that when she’s having a bad day and things become overwhelming she takes 20 minutes out of her day to meditate. When I spoke to her personally she so wisely said “conflict takes two people, and if someone tries to start a fight with me I just think, ‘who knows what kind of day they’ve had!’ and brush it off and I try to meditate”. Her maturity struck me!