From Facebook 20120423
Alonzo YoungAs an Aikido practitioner and a teacher in the educational system, I get the importance of teaching Non-violence and mindfulness in all schools. And I appreciate your passion and drive on this subject. However, there are still some questions in the back of my mind that need to be answered for me to support you 100%. 1. The Renaissance School is a private school how does supporting this program help youth outside a private school system and is there a component to bring in students who are not from a higher economic class that can not afford this type of training? 2. Because The Renaissance School is a private school shouldn't this call for support go out to the parents of the school and getting them to become your advocates? If these two questions are yes, then I'm sure the Aikido community can and will support you and the youth parents in your efforts. I, for one would be happy to support this sort of education for all, but not for the few. To much violence going on in communities to limited it to private schools. As my teacher us to say "Self-defense is a right and not a privilege" - Martial Nonviolence is a spectrum of Self-defense and therefore should be available to all.
Brandon WilliamsCraigEXCELLENT questions, Alonzo. Here are quick responses in the small space available: 1) As is often the case, programs that will be of benefit to everyone often launch where there is a grant, an angel benefactor, or a community that can support the work financially. As I have been donating the majority of my work time to social justice initiatives since the late 1990's, a better balance is required so that my spouse doesn't end up carrying each new development. For the program to get traction and be offered to students regardless of class, it must have success to report. The Catch-22 of social justice work is that it must be able to report successes in order to succeed. Otherwise, nobody will adopt it or participate, regardless of class. 2) I draw your attention to the title of the post: "Parents decide the future of Peace Practices at TRS. And) The aikido community has been enthusiastic in its response and, for the most part, is ideally suited to see the value of teaching These Children Right Here, in order to grow and offer the work to Any Child Anywhere. I look forward to hearing from you about ANY opportunity to be paid a living wage to teach this work, as opposed to physical aikido only, in a context which crosses/removes class barriers in schools as we did, for instance, by teaching at Occupy Oakland.