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Inspiring students to be leaders now, not later

Original post made on Apr 20, 2010

Well-known educator and activist Angela Davis visited Athenian School's campus Monday morning as a part of the 2010 Round Square Americas Regional Conference taking place through Wednesday. Bringing together 21 schools representing six countries and three continents, the ceremony centered on the idea of future leaders.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 12:39 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by Ken
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 10:48 am

How disgusting it is to see the editor of this paper allow Angela Davis to be portrayed as a inspiration to our youth, and to see the Athenian school give her such a positive platform, with no less than a choir singing 60's folk songs. At the same time Danville Weekly portrays the mom and pop regular folk tea party attendes as a "tempest" with the implication thay they're dangerous, while giving this truly dangerous communist radical near adoration. Davis' philosophy is nothing less than a threat to our American way of life, as she would have us move to a planned socialist (communist) economy where government bureaucrats would pick all the winners and losers, and where totalitarian enforcement would be expected. Unfortunately, this type of thinking is becoming mainstream thanks to wave of radicals ushered to power in by Obama and his ilk of 60's era radicals. Economic damage to our nation and the spread of poverty will surely follow if their aims are achieved. Her brand of activism would move us to be more like communist states where only totalitarian enforcement keeps the party afloat after the revolution's failed promises wane. Did communism work really well in Eastern Europe, Russia, Maoist China, North Korea, Cuba? I lived in Korea and have seen the difference in how the system she supports compares to capitalism. Her brand of socialism is what we want to teach and inspire our kids with? Why not have Thomas Sowell (look him up and read his books) speak to our kids as he is a legitimately intellectual and inspirational person. All of this is not to mention Davis was a key accomplice to murder and bought the guns that were used to kidnap and murder a Superior Court Judge right here in the Bay Area, while he was held hostage to free a convicted prisoner. She is a murder, and our community should be disgusted. Free speech is welcome, but platforms of adoration for someone like her are not.

Posted by Ken-ney
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Neighbor Ken-

First she was acquitted, like it or not. That is our system of justice and you clearly disapprove. I suppose you'd rather be the one man judge, jury and executioner, what does that say about the US vs Korea.

Second, there was no platform of adoration. Simply a forum for a point of view. I suppose you'd like to be the one man censor, what does that say about what you like about the US vs Korea.

Third, elections. Like it or not Obama actually won his election, and by way more than W's first hanging chad victory in court (Bush lost the populat vote by 500,000 and won electyoral by 5) and even his weak win over Kerry (popular vote margin 51% vs 48%, compared to 53% vs 46% Obama McCain.) I imagine you'd like to be the one man dictator that decides the elections too?

Sorry man you can't have your cake and eat it too. With freedom of democracy comes elections, an open justice system, and freedom of speech.

Seems like you might actually prefer Korea, as long as you were put in charge?

Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E Ken?

Your paranoid alter ego neighbor,


Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

O.J. Simpson was acquitted, too.

Posted by Ken
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm


Your ethics are in doubt if you cannot see the difference between innocense and aqquittal. O.J. was aquitted, but do you think he didn't committ a double homicide? It remains wrong to celebrate a person so closely associated with a vicious premeditated murder, especially with our children as the audience. Angela Davis purchased the guns that were used to murder Superior Court Judge Harold Haley after he was abducted from his courtroom. So aquittal aside, she is closely linked with an act of murderous terrorism. The liklihood of her purchasing the guns for completely innocent purchases is so low as to be improbable.

I did not say retry her or take away her right to speak her opinions, but I simply question the judgement of Athenian School and its associate organization for giving her that forum her in front of our children in an unchallenged environment. Not provided adoration? Did you see the photos of the kids singing "All You Need Is Love" and the headline of the article in the DT putting her up as an "inspiration" and "empowering". Where are the opposing voices on that day, or in the DT. I believe in free speech, and I am free to condemn the nature of the forum that was given to Angela Davis by Athenian.

They should have better judgement in which organizations to associate with and which speakers to allow to address their kids. Communists, ex-black panthers, and probable accessories to murder are not first on any list of individuals I would put in front of our high school kids, except in perhaps a debate of ideas with multiple viewpoints expressed. But instead they tried to make her look like a hero, which she is clearly not. So let her excercise her 1st ammendment elsewhere, perhaps to an adult audience, or on a street corner.

It is the leftists like you who are the real censors. I suppose you suport Hugo Chavez who shuts down all opposing media outlets in his country. In reality, people like you hide behind the individual freedoms our constitution provides, but have aims and desires to take it apart. You twist truths and riddicule opponents with insults. Obama achieved a relatively slim electoral victory by falsely portraying himself as a pragmatic moderate. The people now know he is not, and this coming November we will find where the people stand. Oh, and by the way, Jerry McNerney, you should start looking for another job.

Posted by jjobes
a resident of Danville
on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

She is also a committed Communist (ran for Vice President twice as a Communist). Yes, freedom of speech, but this is the bottom of the barrel for all the possible speakers out there for a 6-12 school.

I wonder if Communist countries would allow a person promoting Democracy to speak, as Ms. Davis was allowed to speak in the U.S.A.?

Posted by Ken gets an F in Math ;-)
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Ken's math re: "Obama's relatively slim electoral victory"

(ha ha ha evidently Math is not your star subject!!!)

bush w. vs gore:
271/266 electoral
47.9%/48.4% (yes Bush W LOST the popular vote)

bush w. vs kerry:
286/252 electoral
51%/48% popular

obama vs mccain:
365/173 electoral
52%/46% popular

Posted by I was there
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I was there...were you? If you had been there you would have gotten the real message which wasn't about encouraging students to march for a socialist (or as was depicted by Ken) /communist state. it was about challenging youth to follow their passions whatever they might be and not settle for waiting for the future for change......sounds like the Tea Party to me. She also strongly supported the role of women in our society....from what I've observed there are lot of women who are actively involved in the Tea Party beginning with Sarah....what's her name? The most important message was that wisdom tempers rash behavior.....seems like she has learned a lot over these many years. Maybe if you had attended this presentation you might have figured out that we all have important things to say without declaring that what we believe is absolute...afterall, our beliefs are just opinions.....once you dictate them to be absolute then democracy is dead.

Posted by Ken
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Comrade Ken-ney,

As tired as we were of G.W. Bush, in the midst of a economic crisis, and with as much hype Obama got from the media, it is alarming Obama couldn't beat an 'over the hill' candidate like Ol' Maverick McCain by more than 52% to 46%.

Now here is an impressive election victory:

Reagan 59.8% (49 States)
Mondale 40.6% (1 State)

Now if my math is correct, that's an election margin that you can't call slim! His victory over Carter was was also powerful.

Obama's a socialist and now it is in the open. I guess you are too. I miss the Democrats of old, when the radical left was only a fringe. Now it seems to be the mainstream of the party, which is why America is going to give you a smack-down. Just watch Harry Reid get squashed like a bug. And did I forget to mention Jerry McNerny...

Enjoy your leftist moment in the sun while it lasts, it won't be too long. Viva Che.

Posted by Ken
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm

What wisdom? That kidnapping a judge out of his courtroom and murdering him is not a good way to achive your goals? That failure to be convicted is the same thing as being innocent? Yes, I guess we all have a lot to learn from her sage council.

Posted by jjobes
a resident of Danville
on Apr 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I was there. She mentioned the U.S. still engaging in genocide and colonialism. She said Islamophobia is the new racism (I guess that all major terrorist attacks in the world over the past couple of decades have been done by Islamic extremists does not count--and don't give me TImothy McVey who was just a nut). It's just that we are racists, not that we are fact-based in our fears of who has attacked us and other innocents around the world and the rallies that Destroy America, Kill Americans, etc. are not really happening--just our imagination. She also talked a number of times about how many genders there are now--not just 2. I don't pay big tuition, a HUGE sacrifice, for this. She talked about "free" education--okay, who'll pay for that? Don't tell me I am a racist--I'd vote for Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, JC Watts, and Condoleeza Rice--would you?

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

The biggest problem I have is the audience for this "educator", students in a school as young as 6th grade. At that young age, they are very impressionable, and their logic and critical thinking skills are green. If a college wanted to have this "educator" come speak, that is a different story, but 6th grade is not the appropriate forum for her. Young students in 6th grade might wrongly conclude she is an honorable, non-violent, christian leader in the civil rights arena, and incorrectly lump her in with honorable individuals like Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, etc. If this school really cares about having an open forum, they need to immediately invite the family of the Superior Court Judge, and the local D.A., and let them explain to these young students who she really was.

Posted by Ken-ney
a resident of Diablo
on Apr 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm

you keep changing the subject.

Is a >2:1 electoral margin Obama over Alzheimers McCain a "relatively slim electoral margin"

it isn't, by the definition of "relatively slim."

W. Bush's victory over Gore was squeaky slim and W. Bush over Kerry was "relatively slim,"

Reagan over Mondale was a landslide!!!!!!!!

BTW I too wish the Dems were more moderate, and they may well have a tough election, but Obama did win 2:1, and I still believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and accepting the outcomes of our justice system. Flawed as it may be, it's the best in the world.

Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Apr 20, 2010 at 8:13 pm

jrm is a registered user.

Wow...I figured her presence would trigger a response. To my fellow Americans, I say celebrate her invitation to speak and God bless our children's right to hear all perspectives. Look, the kids at Athenian are not dummies soaking up dogma like some other private schools I will not name. She is a "brand" and has made a name for herself in the capitalist society in which she lives. It is called "Radical Chic" and it's all good as long as you recognize it as such. Angela markets herself as such to augment her income. Don't freak out Ken...but I will say her peripheral involvement in this event is terrible and the Judge did not deserve this and those involved went to jail. What are you really afraid of? Hearing wack-a-doodles is part of growing up.

Posted by James W
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:24 am

I would quite like to hear what lessons life has taught Angela Davis. The kids were lucky.

Posted by guynextdoor
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2010 at 10:08 am

The issue here is Angela Davis, not the election. The school should have invited a speaker who not only inspires but is accomplished and looked up to. I agree 100% with Ken. Now invite Thomas Sowell.

Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:09 am

jrm is a registered user.

At the University I attended we had diverse speakers all the time, we all knew their frame of reference bias and listened to their remarks with that in mind. Ken and others are in essence wanting to be the "thought police" deciding who is appropriate to be heard and who is not. That is not the American way. Ken even thought having her picture in the DE was is scary. Ken, do you think the regime in Iran is the right way to do things? I almost think this is a generational thing, I don't know how old you are but I think you are a bit north of 60. Tolerance is a virtue, what are you afraid of?

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

JRM: We are not talking about "your University", we are talking about young, 6th grade students, who are impressionable, who do not know the "frame of reference" of this alleged "educator". This school showed incredibly bad judgment in having her as a speaker for their young students. She is no Martin Luther King, Jr., she is no Jackie Robinson, but the school gave her a forum for their young students, who incorrectly will assume she was an honorable, law abiding, christian, civil rights hero, which she was not. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to re write history, to spin a person or an issue to support liberal agendas, at the expense of our youth.

Posted by Seamus
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

God Forbid any of your kids hear an opionion other than those purported by white, heterosexual, Chritstian males. Angela Davis is a sought after speaker for many universities and focuses on encouraging young people to develop ctitical thinking skills. Don't you want your kids to think for themselves, not just regurgitate your own opinions? Do you think the kids in Danville don't hear Thomas Sowell's message every night at the dinner table already? Not sure how this is bad...also not sure what this has to do with the margin of victory in any election. Maybe you shouldn't talk to your kids about sex until college either.

Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Apr 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm

jrm is a registered user.

THX Seamus, I could not have said it any better. His previous threads all have the same theme and smack of intolerance and hatred for all things Obama. He must have had a bad experience in the past where one of his children was fundamentally affected by being exposed to an opposing view so he is fearful of protecting "our youth" from poisonous "liberal" perspectives. He should know the Athenian school in particular welcomes diverse attitudes....and maybe that is really at the core of his discontent. My Grandmother had a great saying "if everyone drove a red car the world would be a pretty boring place" and the neo conservatives tryng to cram their censorship into our lives is a lost cause for them.

Posted by Seamus
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

the funny thing is...I am a white, heterosexual, Christian male. But this inability to see things from another's point of view and the complete lack of tolerance is scary, especially considering we live in a fairly enlightened area of the world.

Posted by Rose
a resident of Danville
on Apr 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm

The very thought of eleven year old children gathering around Angela Davis singing "Kumbaya" is nauseating! Perhaps the Black Panthers could sing backup!!

Posted by A former Student
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm

As a former student I appreciate the opportunities Athenian provided me to learn from a variety of individuals with varying backgrounds and allowed me to come to independent conclusions in a supportive environment facilitated by competent instructors.

I am amused by the notion that a majority of these straw-man arguments presented both in support and in opposition of the administrator's choices will be torn apart by 6th and 7th graders in classrooms at the school in the coming weeks.


Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

"A former student": You suggest that Athenian provided a variety of individuals with varying backgrounds as speakers. Please give me some examples of speakers at your school who were conservative Republicans.

Posted by A former Student
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

While it has been quite some time since I graduated from the school and don’t have a specific listing of guest speakers during my seven years there, I can offer some interesting anecdotes about my experiences learning (and I quote from my reply) “from a variety of individuals with varying backgrounds.”

In the early 90’s during Desert Storm, I was in a classroom with students who had family in Kuwait and Iran. We discussed real world politics with people who had knowledge of the social and political climate in the area. Again, in 1994 (if I recall correctly) I was in a World Cultures seminar with international students from different parts of the former Yugoslavia.

During the 1999 International round square conference, we were encouraged to share meals with students from sister schools. There was one dinner in particular when I was at a table with a student from Canada, Scotland, Germany, France, Switzerland and India. It was a genuinely unique experience for all of us. We joked that even at the Olympics we couldn’t find a more diverse group around one table.

I also recognize that this neither refutes nor reinforces the point you are trying to make. If nothing else the selection of Angela Davis as a guest to speak during the regional Round Square conference pushed boundaries and brought people out of their comfort zones. Whether you agree or disagree about her individual politics, her involvement in the conference has not only spurred dialogue with students and faculty at the school, but helped to ignite discussion in the local community.

Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Apr 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm

jrm is a registered user.

THX "A Former Student"...I'm sure your well written comment has our fellow "American" reaching for his Polident refill...

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Apr 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

"A former student": Thank you for sharing your information. You write well, and it sounds like you did receive an excellent education at Athenian. I respect that. I just feel inviting Angela Davis to speak to 6th grade students was inappropriate. As to "JRM", you have attacked in other blogs a Mike Arata and his wife for allegedly being "hate mongers", but I have noticed that your writings always lack substance and instead rely on labels in which you are actually "the hate monger" of anyone who does not agree with your liberal opinions. You also are not nearly as "clever" or "funny" as you think you are. I respect you right to offer your first amendment opinions, but would appreciate you using some basic logic and critical thinking skills to back up your poorly written opinions.

Posted by Rs
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I considered sending my child to Athenian but decided against it because of their uber liberalism. Soon after we decided against it we heard that Angela Davis was to speak there. That confirmed our decision. We are disgusted with their ultra
liberal philosophy as it is incredibly destructive to societies.
If Athenian were truly "tolerant" and "welcoming" of other ideas and ideals, let's see if they invite a prominent conservative who trumpets the wonders of capitalism to speak there. I won't hold my breath.

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