From Our News Archive
"I decided to enter the field of social work because of some of the things I saw growing up. Witnessing my family navigate life in the Bronx after immigrating from the Dominican Republic and having recognized that their identities influenced the services that they received and the kind of care that they needed motivated me. I thought social work was the best way to focus on how our identities come into play and how we can serve people in different ways. Seeing some of the challenges as well as the resilience that Bronxites have, pushed me right into the career I’m pursuing. It's been such an honor. In many ways, I’m trying to be the person that my family and I needed growing up. I’m grateful that I get to walk in these roles and provide resources for folks like myself."
Read more of Ashley Rodriguez's interview with Columbia Neighbors here.
“Reading the students’ papers, I’d think, ‘Wow, I never thought about it this way,’ though I’ve read these texts five, six times,” Abel said. “They think outside the box.” The Freedom & Citizenship program gives New York City students exposure to college-level coursework, drawing inspiration from the Columbia College course, Contemporary Civilization.
In an interview for New York's Amsterdam News, Democracy Prep senior Sage Bing says of F&C, "One thing I learned was that I’m not always right. In the program, the readings and new perspectives showed me life isn’t so black and white." While all seven of the Democracy Prep students in F&C this year are female, Sage hopes more males will join the program next year. “There were a lot of girls, so of course, that’s a good thing, but I feel like males, especially males of color, don’t push themselves enough to make themselves vulnerable,” she said.
In an article for The Bronx's Norwood News, F&C alumna Debora Camacho talks about her decision to take a chance on studying philosophy with Freedom and Citizenship in 2020. "The thought of [studying] philosophy, thinking about it really hurt my brain……but I went for it,” Camacho said. “Why not take philosophy?”
In an opinion piece for the New York Daily News, F&C Director Roosevelt Montás writes about discovering Socrates as a teenage immigrant living in Queens and what the "Great Books" can do for high school students today. Read the full story here.
In an article published to Columbia Neighbors, Shaun Abreu--who was elected this week to serve as city councilman for District 7--reflects on his passion for civic engagement and foundations in political philosophy.
Wilson Valentin writes in the article, "When looking back at his influences, Abreu credits Plato and Aristotle with introducing him to the possibilities of public service. “Reading them really made me think about my role in a civic society. How I can contribute to the immediate neighborhood around me. That’s what fueled me to get involved in my community board, making sure that I could help local students.”
He first came across the classical thinkers when, as a student at George Washington High School in Washington Heights, he enrolled in the inaugural class of Columbia’s Freedom and Citizenship program, a humanities-focused college prep initiative that equips young people with the tools to become informed, responsible citizens.
“I’m glad that program is still around today,” Abreu said. “I will do everything I can to make sure that opportunities like that are expanded and available for all of our students, particularly in our immediate community. One of my big priorities is to focus on after-school programs.”
Read the full story here
Former TA for Freedom and Citizenship, Jon Carlo Dominguez, was recently honored by Rutgers University as one of six Latinx teachers in New Jersey to feature during Hispanic Heritage Month. Jon Carlo was a TA for F&C from 2018-2019. He joined Teach for America after college and is now a social studies teacher in Paterson, New Jersey. Read his thoughts here.
In a New York Times profile on Professor Padilla, journalist Rachel Pose explores his entry into the classics at a young age, his methods and ideas about teaching Roman history, and his conviction that classic scholars must do far more than speak out against racism when they hear or see it. As Ms. Pose writes, "Dismantling structures of power that have been shored up by the classical tradition will require more than fact-checking; it will require writing an entirely new story about antiquity, and about who we are today."
Professor Tweel reflected on her experiences teaching civics to students in Freedom and Citizenship in an article published by Chalkbeat. Read the full article here.