On Thursday, I took the 10th grade boys group to The Interact Show, hosted by one of our very own alums, Nasir Ellis. We traveled downtown to 59th and 11th Avenue, where the studio was located. Around 6PM the show began with a warm-up activity, led by StreetSquash alumna Rokya Samake. Rokya had us watch clips from previous episodes on the topic of catcalling and discuss our reactions to what was said. When it was time to share out, Mouctar stood up and shared why he calls his friends out when they catcall. He said something along the lines of “When my friends catcall, I tell them to just chill. I tell them it’s disrespectful- you don’t know where that girl is going or if she’s scared”. He received applause from everyone in the room.
Following the warm-up activity, it was time for the panel to begin. Each person on the panel shared their views on manhood and masculinity. The thoughts shared ranged from feeling pressure to be the “lead” all the time, being strong and emotionless, which many of the kids related to. Some of the men on the panel expressed that it’s ok to show emotion, and some of the students were relieved to hear that you can do both. The session ended with a Q&A, and then we promptly got back on the train.
Overall it was a great evening, featuring thought-provoking topics and conversations. One of the main highlights I heard from the students were being able to hear from older men who look like them and share their experiences.
-Jennifer, Director of College Success & Alumni Support