Chester resident Carol Kazeem is a tireless activist, child advocate and currently State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 159th district. Carol’s determination and commitment to improving the prospects for success for Chester’ young people come through in her two-part audio story.
In Part One of her story, Carol shares memories — positive and negative — from her childhood and situates them in the context of Chester city at the time. As Carol explains, the Chester of her childhood was a complicated, multi-layered place to grow up: the challenges of a city in decline but also the strength of its people to carry through, survive and even thrive. The realities of the Chester-Upland School District reveal this. Chester schools are notoriously underfunded, under-resourced, and subject to ongoing crises of local and state administrative control. But, in spite of (or perhaps because of) such challenges, school teachers continue to mentor their students — inside the classroom as well outside — and better their everyday situations (often more than they realize). Chester’s political and economic crises seem overpowering. But Chester’s young people persist and thrive, thanks to the wide variety of mentors in the community. Their resilience motivates Carol’s activism — it’s why she does what she does.
In Part Two, Carol shares how experiences earlier in life inform and motivate her community organizing and social action today. Carol emphasizes the continuities between home, neighborhood, and community of Chester, as residents — especially children — see these as seamlessly connected. As an activist, prospects for improvement involves all these dimensions. A clear example of these connections is education. Carol makes a forceful argument why the challenges facing the Chester Upland School District must be addressed..
As long as I know that I’ve done all that I can do, and I made sure that we are straight, then I know our mission has been accomplished, but for now there’s still room for growth, more work needs to be done.Carol Kazeem