Laurent Alfred

May 2005

To call this a class/course may be missing the point entirely. This was an experience that I will never forget and unfortunately it's the only one of its kind at Columbia (or any other university to my knowledge). For six weeks, the twelve people in the course got to conduct teaching workshops with incarcerated youth on Rikers at Island Academy. You do not have to be an Af-Am major (I wasn't), but some exposure/awareness about the prison industrial complex is useful. The first six weeks are spent on campus reading interesting material about the p.i.c., and preparing the lesson plans for the workshops. Plan on dedicating your Friday's to this class - a seemingly arduous demand here. This is an emotionally charged experience that takes you out of your comfort-zone as a college student. Prof. Alfred's dedication and insight is truly inspiring, and even though he won't be teaching it again, I strongly recommend this class to anyone who wants to challenge themselves beyond the narrow confines of academia.