Oneeka Benjamin is the K-5 site supervisor for the SCO Family of Services/Family Dynamics after-school program at P.S./I.S. 41 in Brooklyn, New York. She has been working with children since 1999. OST Hub editor Sara Hill asked her a series of questions about her work.
As “bathroom bills,” military transgender bans and elimination of protections for LGBTQ federal employees demonstrate, we are a long way from a society in which coming out is a realistic option for all. The truth of this likely hits youth the hardest, who still risk family rejection, bullying, even homelessness for coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
Imagine working hard to achieve your dream of attending the University of California at Los Angeles, only to find after getting in that your dreams may not come true after all. Sean Tan, 24, a UCLA public policy graduate student, knows that feeling all too well.
A little over a month ago, the Trump administration announced it was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since 2012, DACA has provided work authorization and temporary relief from deportation to approximately 800,000 young immigrants — Dreamers — who came to the United States as children. Today, these young people are 25 years old on average and have been in the country for at least 10 years — much longer for many.
At 7 a.m., teenagers are scurrying to dress and head to class. There are no parents or older siblings nearby to push them out of bed and out the door. And the commute isn’t long — just a short walk from prison bed to classroom.
I met Arthur 10 years ago at a principals’ convening. That night, Arthur and I talked about how to make students’ learning memorable and meaningful. Today, Arthur is one of our inaugural Students at the Center Distinguished Fellows. He is now a veteran school leader at the Met high school, a podcaster and college instructor.
My life seemed like something right out of a horror flick — and my mother — well, she could have won an Oscar for her role as the sick, evil, twisted alcoholic mother who hated her son so much that she would beat him for any reason — or for simply no reason at all.