Children come through the doors ready to eat, learn and play. They know that when they come in, their breakfast is being prepared, because the Black Panther Party knows the importance of having breakfast in the morning. It wakes them up and gives them strength to exert their energy.
Being an assistant teacher, I have an opportunity to be amongst the children and start a conversation, and stimulate their minds to seeing clearly the state of repression that we are living in. What is so fascinating for the teachers and parents is to see how quickly their minds work, and are able to elaborate and go into detail. We know that our children are brilliant, all you have to do is show them and guide them in the right direction. Most of the children raise their hands without even being asked, to speak of the ten-point platform and program, what is happening in their community, pigs, and Panthers. They are given posters and can tell you all of the names, such as: Huey, Bobby, Eldridge, and others. And when you speak of Eldridge they say, “He’s free, he’s eating watermelon and the pigs can’t touch him.”
They are eager to learn and exchange ideas, because the curriculum is based on true experiences of revolutionaries and everyday people who the children can relate to. One mother of five told me that her children made satisfactory grades in school, but when she saw the work they were doing in the Liberation School, such as: choosing articles and writing about them or giving an oral report about an event that happened in the world, she smiled with pride; she said, “their work shows that they can relate to what is happening to them and other poor people in the world.” Some of the children who can’t even write try because they understand that we are there to help each other. We have a basic topic each day:
Monday is Revolutionary History Day
Tuesday is Revolutionary Culture Day
Wednesday is Current Events Day
Thursday is Movie Day
Friday is Field Trip Day
(The topics can be changed around for the benefit of the people working in a Liberation School)
This is basic, but we have a Curriculum Coordinator who arranges a curriculum each week. We also take the children outside for exercises. They all raise their hands to lead in the exercises. You watch them strong and full of vigor. They march to songs that tell of the pigs running amok, and Panthers fighting for the people.
We have children in the Liberation School ranging from 2–13. The older ones are becoming more and more helpful to their younger brothers and sisters. At the age of 10–13 children have seen and experienced things for themselves, whereas, they understand the need for their younger brothers and sisters to fully understand why there is a need for a Liberation School. We call ourselves the Big Family, along with the rest of our class brothers and sisters all over the world. We want the children to especially understand the class struggle, because people of all colors are being exploited by the same pigs all over the world. Most of the Liberation Schools are in areas where poor people of all colors live, who are being exploited and oppressed; because of this it is easier for them to relate to the class struggle when they see people of different races who are just as poor as they are.
Our young children are becoming more and more disciplined each day, simply because they can relate to what is being taught. One four year old, Sonya, told her fellow student who is three that he was too big to be crying, and don’t you want to hear about Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. “She” got the three year old to stop crying. We know that the children are going to rebel against their teachers and older people, but we know that the most important thing is to get the children to work with each other, because there’s not going to be a Black Panther Party around all the time to set things straight. They’re going to have to depend and relate to each other. We have small fights and arguments, but when they do occur we sit down and discuss the matter and come to a conclusion, a unity of will, because we know that if we don’t solve the problem then and there, the children will be holding grudges against each other.
In the past the college, and recently high school students have been voicing their demands and opinions. These children will teach their other brothers and sisters, and even the elementary schools will be expressing their disgust of the situation they are in. They are the ones that will carry on the struggle, and we are happy to say that in the next couple of weeks, Liberation Schools will be springing up all over the Nation, just like the Breakfast for School Children.
ALL POWER TO THE YOUTH
9th & Hearst, Berkeley
August 2, 1969