AmerCorps member serving in a classroom
By Rusty Federico, AmeriCorps member serving on the State Street Foundation team at the Higginson/Lewis K-8 School

On the bus that brings me to the Higginson/Lewis K-8 School, I opened up my latest literary adventure, The Autobiography of Malcom X. This is a book I’ve read before and I figured was appropriate to read again as I began my service year. I think this almost the exact second the bus takes a left onto Malcolm X Boulevard. 

We drive past the John D. O’Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science—the alma mater of my first college roommate. I remember her telling me about the racial prejudices and divides not only amongst races, but also racism within races that she often witnessed and experienced. 

A divide. Her word stuck with me. 

The word stood next to me as I pictured the Higginson/Lewis playground--the students standing underneath the trees, laughing and chatting. They belonged to the 8th graders whom I would be serving this school year. 

I was thankful I didn’t see a divide. I saw a community coming together. From the teachers who offer a grateful smile when their AmeriCorps members walk into their classrooms ready to lead a hand to the my teammates State Street Foundation team—once a group of group of strangers—who’ve quickly become my friends—we’re united by our passion for supporting Boston’s students.

These days, when I think of the word ‘divide,’ I think of that math problem a student was struggling with yesterday, and all of the methods she learned to solve it. 

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