Print Page | Close Window

Dasani: A homeless 11 year old

Printed From: Black Hair Media Forum
Category: Lets Talk
Forum Name: Talk, Talk, and More Talk
Forum Description: In this Forum, the talk is about everything that can be talked about.
URL: http://Forum.BlackHairMedia.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=366829
Printed Date: Jan 19 2018 at 11:39pm


Topic: Dasani: A homeless 11 year old
Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Subject: Dasani: A homeless 11 year old
Date Posted: Dec 13 2013 at 11:37pm

he wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.

Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window. On mornings like this, she can see all the way across Brooklyn to the Empire State Building, the first New York skyscraper to reach 100 floors. Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its facade lit with promise.



“It makes me feel like there’s something going on out there,” says the 11-year-old girl, never one for patience. This child of New York is always running before she walks. She likes being first — the first to be born, the first to go to school, the first to make the honor roll.

Even her name, Dasani, speaks of a certain reach. The bottled water had come to Brooklyn’s bodegas just before she was born, catching the fancy of her mother, who could not afford such indulgences. It hinted at a different, upwardly mobile clientele, a set of newcomers who over the next decade would transform the borough.

Dasani’s own neighborhood, Fort Greene, is now one of gentrification’s gems. Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.

Nearly a quarter of Dasani’s childhood has unfolded at Auburn, where she shares a 520-square-foot room with her parents and seven siblings. As they begin to stir on this frigid January day, Dasani sets about her chores.


There's more it's a long read, Im not going to post all of it but it's a good read here.

http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/invisible-child/#/?chapt=1" rel="nofollow - http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/invisible-child/#/?chapt=1



Replies:
Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 13 2013 at 11:46pm
Today, Dasani rides the creaky elevator to the lobby and walks past the guards, the metal detector and the tall, iron fence that envelops what she calls “the jail.” She steps into the light, and is met by the worn brick facade of the Walt Whitman projects across the street.

“Black is beautiful, black is me,” she sings under her breath as her mother trails behind.

..................................................

This bodes poorly for the future. Decades of research have shown the staggering societal costs of children in poverty. They grow up with less education and lower earning power. They are more likely to have drug addiction, psychological trauma and disease, or wind up in prison.

Dasani does not need the proof of abstract research. All of these plights run through her family. Her future is further threatened by the fact of her homelessness, which has been shown, even in short spells, to bring disastrous consequences.

Dasani’s circumstances are largely the outcome of parental dysfunction. While nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult, her mother and father are unemployed, have a history of arrests and are battling drug addiction.

Yet Dasani’s trials are not solely of her parents’ making. They are also the result of decisions made a world away, in the marble confines of City Hall. With the economy growing in 2004, the Bloomberg administration adopted sweeping new policies intended to push the homeless to become more self-reliant. They would no longer get priority access to public housing and other programs, but would receive short-term help with rent. Poor people would be empowered, the mayor argued, and homelessness would decline.

But the opposite happened. As rents steadily rose and low-income wages stagnated, chronically poor families like Dasani’s found themselves stuck in a shelter system with fewer exits. Families are now languishing there longer than ever — a development that Mr. Bloomberg explained by saying shelters offered “a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”



Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:00am
Dasani tells herself that brand names don’t matter. She knows such yearnings will go unanswered, so better not to have them. But once in a while, when by some miracle her mother produces a new pair of Michael Jordan sneakers, Dasani finds herself succumbing to the same exercise: She wears them sparingly, and only indoors, hoping to keep them spotless. It never works.

Best to try to blend in, she tells herself, while not caring when you don’t.

She likes being small because “I can slip through things.” In the blur of her city’s crowded streets, she is just another face. What people do not see is a homeless girl whose mother succumbed to crack more than once, whose father went to prison for selling drugs, and whose cousins and aunts have become the anonymous casualties of gang shootings, AIDS and domestic violence.

“That’s not gonna be me,” she says. “Nuh-uh. Nope.”

Dasani speaks with certainty. She often begins a sentence with “Mommy say” before reciting, verbatim, some new bit of learned wisdom, such as “camomile tea cures a bad stomach” or “that lady is a dope fiend.” She likes facts. She rarely wavers, or hints at doubt, even as her life is consumed by it.

..........................................................


In 1985, the city repurposed the former hospital into a shelter for families. This was the dawn of the period known as “modern homelessness,” driven by wage stagnation, Reagan-era cutbacks and the rising cost of homes. By the time Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, New York’s homeless population had reached 31,063 — a record for the city, which is legally obligated to provide shelter.

Among the city’s 152 family shelters, Auburn became known as a place of last resort, a dreaded destination for the chronically homeless.

City and state inspectors have repeatedly cited the shelter for deplorable conditions, including sexual misconduct by staff members, spoiled food, asbestos exposure, lead paint and vermin. Auburn has no certificate of occupancy, as required by law, and lacks an operational plan that meets state regulations. Most of the shelter’s smoke detectors and alarms have been found to be inoperable.




Posted By: nekamarie83
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:16am
i've not read it all, but i plan to. 

bless her. i witness everyday how resilient kids are, how chaos becomes normal and how they're bittersweet. 

to see such vibrancy and maturity and to know how it came about is so heartbreakng. i pray that she keeps that spark, she has passion and rises above all this. 


Posted By: Bored w/Out Me?
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:24am
Is there a place to donate?


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:27am

McKinney is a poor-kids’ version of LaGuardia Arts, the elite Manhattan public school that inspired the television series “Fame.” Threadbare curtains adorn its theater. Stage props are salvaged from a nearby trash bin. Dance class is so crowded that students practice in intervals.

And now, a charter school is angling to move in. If successful, it will eventually claim McKinney’s treasured top floor, home to its theater class, dance studio and art lab. Teachers and parents are bracing for battle, announced by fliers warning against the “apartheid” effects of a charter co-location.

Dasani knows about charter schools. Her former school, P.S. 67, shared space with one. She never spoke to those children, whose classrooms were stocked with new computers. Dasani’s own school was failing by the time she left.

If there is one place she feels free, it is dance class. When she walks into McKinney’s studio, and the music starts, her body releases whatever she is feeling.

“When I’m happy I dance fast,” she says. “When I’m sad I dance slow. When I’m upset I dance both.”





Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:30am
At McKinney, Dasani quickly draws the notice of the older students, and not because she is short, though the nickname “Shorty” sticks. It is her electricity. When they dote on her, she giggles. But say the wrong thing and she turns fierce, letting the four-letter words fly.

It is still September when Dasani’s temper lands her in the principal’s office.

“Please don’t call my mother,” Dasani whispers.

Miss Holmes is seated in a rolling pleather chair held together by duct tape. She stares at the anguished girl. She has been at McKinney long enough to know when a child’s transgressions at school might bring a beating at home.

The principal slowly scoots her chair up to Dasani and leans within inches of her face.

“O.K.,” she says softly. “Let’s make a deal.”

From that day forward, Dasani will be on her best behavior. In turn, Miss Holmes will keep what happens at school in school.

With that, she waves Dasani off, fighting the urge to smile. She can’t help but like this feisty little girl.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can be popular in one of three ways, Dasani’s mother always says. Dress fly. Do good in school. Fight.

The first option is out of the question. While Dasani clings to her uniform, other students wear coveted Adidas hoodies and Doc Marten boots. In dance class, Dasani does not even have a leotard.

So she applies herself in school. “I have a lot of possibility,” she says. “I do.”

Her strongest subject is English, where a poem she writes is tacked to a teacher’s wall.

By October, she is on the honor roll, just as her life at Auburn is coming apart.



Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:31am
Okay, there's a lot more but it's a good read. Also there are videos on the bottom of the page of her and her mom.

It's interesting because from reading  the article you can tell her mom has a lot of love for her. But she picks up some truley truley bad habits from her at the same time. 


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 12:52am
Okay. I know I said I was finished. But wtfCry



Yet the manual given to incoming families boasts a “full complement of professional and support personnel” who are “available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days per week.” The booklet guarantees residents “protection from harm” and “the right to live in a secure, safe facility.”

A starkly different Auburn — the one to which Dasani is witness — emerges from  http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/invisible-child/#" rel="nofollow -


There is the 12-year-old boy who writes, on Oct. 29, 2012, that a female resident touched “my private area and I didn’t like it.” His mother also files a complaint, saying the woman was showing pornography to children.

The police are never notified.

Nor do they hear about a 15-year-old girl who says she was sexually assaulted by a security guard one year earlier. The complaint, written by her mother in Spanish, never appears to have been translated. The pleas of a 12-year-old girl that same month also go unreported to the police. She writes of a man who exposes his genitals in a girls’ bathroom, making her too afraid to go back without a parent: “I am still scared that someone will come in.”

Auburn’s children have yet to assume their parents’ air of defeat. The children’s complaints recount their fear or discomfort as reason enough for action. The adults write as if no one is listening.


Like most children, Dasani absorbs more than her mother would like. She can see how the shelter shrinks Chanel’s self-regard. Dasani is there when the guards rip through her mother’s carefully folded laundry in the name of “inspection,” or when a caseworker dresses her down like a cheeky adolescent. “Sometimes it feels like, ‘Why you guys messin’ with my mom?’”

Chanel is not the first woman to encounter sexual advances by an Auburn employee. Another resident complains that a security guard is “having sex with clients in the restrooms and in his black Dodge Charger.” A 2012 letter by state inspectors to the Department of Homeless Services mentions a security supervisor and guards having “improper sexual contact” with a resident.

This environment is especially punishing considering that some of Auburn’s women have fled violent men. After a caseworker touched his 46-year-old client on the breast in February 2012, another male employee smiled at her the next day and asked “if I was being good,” she wrote in a complaint, adding, “I walk around every day feeling violated.”



Posted By: blaquefoxx
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 1:03am
I have to come back to this threadThumbs Up

I'm in high spirits for the Sabbath, so I will be back...


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 1:33am
telling picture



Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 1:56am
Dasani also knows that not everyone in the projects is poor. Her Uncle Waverly, who lives in the Walt Whitman Houses across from her shelter, the Auburn Family Residence, works as a supervisor for the parks department and has a Lexus S.U.V. When he drives past Dasani and her siblings, he pretends not to know them.

Ermm wow


Posted By: Sang Froid
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 1:59am
This breaks my heart. 


Posted By: QueenBee
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 2:17am
Excellent read. I read all 5 chapters.

Hopefully, Dasani will rise above what has been handed to her (poverty, ex drug addicted parents,etc). An 11 year old with so many adult burdens. God Bless her!


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 2:19am

Supreme (Dasani's father) was born to heroin addicts in the Cypress Hills projects of East New York. By age 7, he knew how to shop with his mother’s food stamps and cook grits for his four younger siblings. When the pantry was empty, he made sugar sandwiches.

He was 9 when he came upon the lifeless body of his baby sister. She had been left near the entrance of the projects, wrapped in a blanket. Supreme stroked her head and kept saying her name, Precious. “She didn’t wake up,” he says.


Cry


Later that day, the agency’s workers removed Supreme and his siblings from the home. For the next three years, Supreme bounced from foster care to group homes. He soon dropped out of school and left for North Carolina to join the crack trade. By 17, Supreme had a felony drug conviction and was serving time at a maximum-security prison in Walpole, Mass.



Posted By: QueenBee
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 2:31am
How are the parents spending the money they get from the government?   

I don't remember reading anything where they stated they were paying rent, water, and utilities to live in the shelter.


Posted By: SN2BPHD
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 3:10am
Makes you think about all that name brand stuff that we don't need and more about doing something to make a difference.


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 3:25am
Okay instead of helping her. Let's take a picture for my story!!

NO


Posted By: sexyandfamous
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 3:33am
Originally posted by _ConcreteRose_ _ConcreteRose_ wrote:

Dasani also knows that not everyone in the projects is poor. Her Uncle Waverly, who lives in the Walt Whitman Houses across from her shelter, the Auburn Family Residence, works as a supervisor for the parks department and has a Lexus S.U.V. When he drives past Dasani and her siblings, he pretends not to know them.

Ermm wow


Honestly, you can't blame the uncle.; he knows Dasani's mother and father better than the reporter. It is very easy to show love for your kid when the cameras are rolling and you might touch someone's heart who could get you out of misery. Plus, Dasani's mother has 7 kids - SEVEN. The uncle must have been much smarter and fathered less children.
So what they expect the uncle to do? He could wave at the kids when he drives by, but maybe he has done that and then eventually one day the kids ran to the car to talk to her while stopped at a red light, or her parents asked him money, you never know.

He is not supposed to help, the parents should have protected themselves against unwanted pregnancies to avoid putting so many kids through that.


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 3:37am
Pretendng not to know you're own family is heartless. You don't have to help them, feed them, shelter them, or buy them presents. But I judge him for not acknowleding his five year old nephew's existance when he sees him. Likewise for the other children.


Posted By: bindy
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 3:42am
Originally posted by _ConcreteRose_ _ConcreteRose_ wrote:

Okay instead of helping her. Let's take a picture for my story!!

NO


What is happening in this photo?


Posted By: _ConcreteRose_
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 3:44am
Originally posted by bindy bindy wrote:

Originally posted by _ConcreteRose_ _ConcreteRose_ wrote:

Okay instead of helping her. Let's take a picture for my story!!

NO


What is happening in this photo?

read the article, it explains it better. Basically This bully picks on her in school. She used to fight the bully but got suspended so the counselor taught her to do dep breathing when she get's mad in order to avoid getting "too hyped" when being bullied. 

She does this but the nully decided to fight her anyway. And the bully's friend jumps in also.


Posted By: Xamaycana
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 4:09am
I feel bad for the little girl, but there's got to be some responsibility on the part of the parents.  Why do they keep procreating?  Yes, they all live in one room, but she can still sweep the floors( there are cheerios on the ground in one pic, fold each child's clothes and put it in a cardboard box, throw out the food containers.

Pretty much the parents seem to be doing nothing but collecting the checks.  Who is looking our for the best interest of the children?


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 4:58am
Actually I read about one and a half chapter of Dasani's story and come to find out that she has two step siblings.  The father in this article is actually her step father and he has brought about two or three children into the marriage.  Also her mother (Dasani's mother) also had a crappy childhood with her mother (Dasani's grandmother ) smoking crack for most of Dasani's mother childhood.  She eventually got herself clean but unfortunately passed away from leukemia. 


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 4:59am
Originally posted by _ConcreteRose_ _ConcreteRose_ wrote:

Okay, there's a lot more but it's a good read. Also there are videos on the bottom of the page of her and her mom.

It's interesting because from reading  the article you can tell her mom has a lot of love for her. But she picks up some truley truley bad habits from her at the same time. 



Her mother has some demons that she needs to get rid of if you ask me. 


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 5:01am
Originally posted by Xamaycana Xamaycana wrote:

I feel bad for the little girl, but there's got to be some responsibility on the part of the parents.  Why do they keep procreating?  Yes, they all live in one room, but she can still sweep the floors( there are cheerios on the ground in one pic, fold each child's clothes and put it in a cardboard box, throw out the food containers.

Pretty much the parents seem to be doing nothing but collecting the checks.  Who is looking our for the best interest of the children?


I don't know if this is apt but there was a article published not too long ago that stated that poverty has a orifound effect on decision making skills, which in effect keeps them poor. 


Posted By: dee1672
Date Posted: Dec 14 2013 at 6:55pm
Originally posted by QueenBee QueenBee wrote:

Excellent read. I read all 5 chapters.

Hopefully, Dasani will rise above what has been handed to her (poverty, ex drug addicted parents,etc). An 11 year old with so many adult burdens. God Bless her!


I did too. I hope I hope she, and her siblings, are able to rise above their circumstances.


Posted By: herwoman
Date Posted: Dec 15 2013 at 3:28pm
I could not stop thinking about her as I went to bed I said a prayer. You can do it Dasani, just look at Miss Hester!



Print Page | Close Window