I can’t stop chanting…by Dana


This summer I worked at the Oakland Freedom School with my wonderful brothers Galvin (left) and Hiram (right). OFS serves black youth in the city of Oakland, ages 5-14. The curriculum focuses on literacy (books that feature other black kids!), and cultural pride and identity. It was a wonderful opportunity to serve with an all black staff and watch our children and community uplifted as we learned together.

One fun aspect of the Freedom Schools are the Cheers and Chants. These are songs specially designed to engage the youth with rhythmic and catchy songs about black culture or literacy. These chants are sometimes paired with tunes they already know from popular rap culture. Here are a few that I cannot stop chanting…

Good job! Good job!
*clap clap*
Good job! Good job!
*clap clap*
G-O-O-D-J-O-Bee Good job Good job!

OFS! We Manifest!
We choose the path that’s best from east to west!
We put ourselves to the test we refuse to settle for less!

See a book, grab a book, read a book, AYE!
Yesterday, tomorrow, I’ma read a book TODAY!
Freeze! What’s your name? And where yo book at?

P!-O-W-E-R We got the power ’cause we are the Freedom School!

Are you hype? Are you hype?
Yeah I’m hype! Yeah I’m hype!
Are you ready? Are you ready?
Yeah I’m ready! Yeah I’m ready!
For who?
Whatcha mean for who? I’m hype for Freedom School!
Turn up turn up! Turn up turn up!
Where yo book at?

Something inside so strong
I know that I, I know I can make it!

As I wrestle with the dissonance of returning back home, memories of OFS and all the kids I taught bring me huge and endless smiles =)


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