Hope in the City: Students push back against stereotypes

This is how a failing city fights back. After a recent stabbing at a local high school released a torrent of vitriol directed at the 20,000 students in the Syracuse City School District students pushed back (so did I after reading this). Students at Corcoran High School made this video responding to their critics.

These students hit the mark with their response to the gross stereotypes and immature hyperbole thrown their way. Syracuse has a hard time thinking or believing anything good about itself and the comments made about SCSD students shows that. Living in a city that’s been in decline for decades some of us have gotten comfortable being at the bottom of the heap. Being first in things no one wants to be first in and last for the things everyone wants.

Our surrounding suburbs have gotten used to us being at the bottom as well. Every bit of bad news they hear about Syracuse serves to confirm the negative perception. Anything good that happens is surely doomed to fail according to conventional wisdom. Nothing good happens in or comes out of Syracuse. So much so that a whole generation must be ground into the dirt to prove that point. Except some of us have learned to fight back.

There are people here in Syracuse who still have hope. We know how to treat our fellow travelers in life with dignity and respect no matter where they come from. I’ve met people who fearlessly go where none dare tread and by their presence and friendship transform lives. I’ve met people fighting for what is right and good with integrity. These students haven’t given up hope.

While Syracuse has been mismanaged for decades there are still people fighting to set right the wrongs and mitigate the damage done through neglect. We won’t let naysayers stop us from trying. We will out think, and out work, anyone who says it can’t be done or sits back to watch us fail. Why? Because we have hope that there can be something better for Syracuse. We already have it in these students.


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