Race & Racism

Growing Roses in the Concrete

Breaking News! There is a very important resolution being presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting tomorrow night Tuesday, 04/21 at 6PM. 

At this meeting there will be an update on the African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative and My Brother and Sister’s Keeper. I will plan to attend (even if I don’t have childcare and have to drag my girls with me with their iPads!) This is only the first iteration of a draft and review process which will extend through Board Meetings in the month of May. Stay tuned for more info! 

This post is dedicated to all the amazing teachers out there who are working each day to roses in the concrete…

Some inspiration for the day…

There is a Tupac Shakur poem that describes how young people growing up in urban poverty are like the roses that grow in the concrete. Here’s the poem…

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

Tupac Shakur

Tupac has explained this poem by stating that if you saw a rose growing out of the concrete, it would probably have damaged petal. Nonetheless, you wouldn’t say, “Look at all those scratches and marks”, instead you’d say “Damn! A rose grew from the concrete?!”

Educator and researcher, Jeff Duncan-Andrade uses this analogy to talk about the ways we view poor urban youth. Instead of focusing on the “damage” they have incurred from their environment, we should instead be focused on their resilience… The fact that they keep coming back and growing toward the sun.


Dr. Duncan-Andrade uses this analogy to create a model for understanding and supporting urban youth. He states…

“The concrete is not natural. The conditions in which urban youth are growing are not natural. They are created… which means they can be changed.”

Watch this informative and inspiring TEDx Talk by Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade as he explains his perspectives on the ways we can better support urban youth in our communities and schools. Then, tell me what you think in the comments below.

TEDxGoldenGateED – Jeff Duncan-Andrade – Growing Roses in Concrete

What do you think? How does this resonate with you? Does it challenge any ideas you had before watching? Or does it reinforce them? What actions should we a community members make to ensure more roses grow in the concrete? What should we be doing to remove the concrete altogether? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.


Related reads: What does it mean to be an ‘Average Black Girl’?Tracking: When Kids Get Put into the “Dumb” ClassAmerican Denial

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