Letter to Walter (draft 2.2)

Dear Walter:

I’ve been reading your books since my mother recommended Devil in A Blue Dress to me a few decades back.  I admire the story-telling as much as the running themes of the power of imagination to change the world and the gentleness that is at the core of even your most hardened protagonists.  

Reading Twelve Steps to Political Revelation not long ago I was struck by the section calling for changes in how education needs to work to ensure a more creative, critically thinking, multi-lingual populace.  I agree that the generations coming up now are the last, best agents for the change needed to avert the looming disasters we face as a planet.  You gave a great example at the Moth recently, those two young gay strangers on Christopher Street retooling the ugly word “nigger” into a shorthand for their brotherhood.

Cheekums baboon

In the wake of Cheney and Bush I thought up my best bet for helping to bring about the kind of change we need to see.  I’ve started a not-for-profit student-run animation workshop, called wehearyou.net, to listen to young children’s concerns and help them show the creativity that is so often ignored in our testing-obsessed prison-prep factory schools.  

My hope is to have young kids produce works that will shame the more liberal of the Job Creator types (currently chafing at a theoretical 0.03% stock transaction tax) enough to fund what I envision as a grassroots movement to change the landscape of urban education, starting in the worst public schools I can find in NYC.  I worked in one in Harlem for several years, so I’m intimately familiar with the challenges kids in those schools are up against.


I invite to you have a look at some of the kids’ work at wehearyou.net, along with my descriptions of the program   I hope the potential of this program, directed and produced by young kids working as teams of creative problem-solvers, lights up your imagination.   I would love to speak to you about the program.   You can send me an email or call me at (… ellipsis added…).   On my dream team of people of vision and action to work and brainstorm with, you’re very high on the list.  

Yours sincerely,
[name withheld at request of ‘author’]

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