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Standing on the Wall

photographed by Sara Symoczko

photographed by Sara Symoczko

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” — Carl Sagan, Cosmos

“I want to see the city as a site of vigor and zip and possibility, to see young people in the city- like youth everywhere- as unruly sparks of meaning-making energy on a propulsive voyage toward discovery and surprise. I want to join them on that journey. I also want to measure my efforts, as well as the efforts of others- by goals like these: the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society. I want to nourish citizens; I don’t want to create bondsmen or vassals. I begin, then, with faith that every child and every student appears as a whole and multidimensional being- a gooey biological wonder, pulsing with the breath and beat of life itself, evolved and evolving, shaped by genetics, twisted and gnarled by the unique set of circumstances that makes his or her life understandable and sensible, bearable or unbearable. Each is unique, each walks a singular path across the Earth… each with a distinct mark to be made, and each somehow sacred. This recognition asks me to reject any action that treats students as objects, any gesture that “thingifies” young people. For starters, it demands that I struggle constantly to embrace the full humanity of everyone who walks through the classroom door.”
— William Ayers, from City Kids, City Schools

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Standing on the Wall

Walled Women

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