Saturday, January 22, 2005I'm always amazed at how editorial writers can type so much, but say so little.
'That racist thing is old'
Jan. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
When we talk of Arizona's future, it has a face. The face of your daughter. The face of your grandson.
When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke so eloquently and passionately of his dream, he was talking about a better future for his "four little children." And ours. When Gov. Janet Napolitano declares in her State of the State message that Arizona must keep moving forward, to change Arizona for the better, she means a better Arizona for our children. Arizona's future has a face. It's the face of kids like DeAsia Jackson and Jasmine Jimenez. DeAsia, 11, attends P.L. Julian Elementary School in south Phoenix. She still writes poetry but has recently developed an interest in science and experiments. She assumes she'll go to college, just like two of her uncles. Jasmine, 12, is a seventh-grader at Maxine O. Bush Elementary School. She makes friends easily. Her best friends include DeAsia and Raelle Simmonds. They are almost inseparable at the Kieckhefer Boys & Girls Club in south Phoenix. "Jasmine is my friend," DeAsia says. "She understands me." Ethnicity doesn't matter to them. DeAsia's mother, Damikka Brock, and Jasmine's mother, Lisa Jimenez, went to school together years ago. "That racist thing is old," DeAsia says. "It doesn't matter." It doesn't matter to them, at least. DeAsia and Jasmine have a lot of advantages. They've gone on countless field trips. They've been to Phoenix City Hall. They've met the governor. They're ready to try any activity, any sport. They count several good role models all around them. And yet both of them are wise beyond their years. They are familiar with problems - in their neighborhoods, in their schools, in their city. When Arizona records a troubling high school dropout rate, it has a face. A face that once looked like DeAsia and Jasmine. When police arrest youngsters - as they did earlier this week in a disturbance in central Phoenix after the King Day celebration - those arrested were once no older than DeAsia and Jasmine. They learn from us and from the streets. The attitudes we exhibit as parents, teachers and role models have consequences, on our young, on our future. And the future has a face.