Seeing New York’s Invisible Children, New York Ideas 2015

NPR host and special correspondent Michele Norris hosts a conversation featuring New York Times investigative reporter Andrea Elliott and Faith Hester, a humanities teacher at Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts about the award-winning series in the New York Times called “Invisible Children: Girl in the Shadows, Dasani’s Homeless Life”.

“I don’t care if you’re Einstein, if you come to school & haven’t eaten, you can’t think!” Dasani’s teacher Faith Hester


The conversation at New York Ideas 2015 Festival centered on a multi-part series that appeared in the NY Times.

the-new-york-times-logoREAD: Invisible Child, Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life


Photograph by RUTH FREMSON

Photograph by RUTH FREMSON

EXCERPT: When Miss Hester looks around her classroom, she sees a glimpse of her younger self. She was raised by a single mother in the Marcy projects of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a monotonous spread of 27 brick buildings with the singular distinction of being where Jay-Z grew up. She could never quite numb herself, like other children did, to the addicts shooting up in the elevator or the dead bodies on gurneys. Her salvation came at church and school.
In 1979, Miss Hester was one of the first black students to be bused from Marcy to the predominantly white Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood, Brooklyn. Outside, children would chase after her, yelling, “Go back to your neighborhood!” Inside the school, she applied herself fastidiously. A teacher made all the difference, guiding her to college applications. She was only 16 when she graduated, bound for SUNY Cortland.

Thirty-three years and two master’s degrees later, it is Miss Hester who searches for the student in need of saving.

She sees promise in Dasani, who landed on the honor roll last fall. But lately, she is skipping homework and arriving moody and tired, if she makes it to school at all.

Photograph by RUTH FREMSON

Photograph by RUTH FREMSON

Read the entire series:


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