I had an awesome week. Busy, but awesome. Luma Mufleh, the coach highlighted in Warren St. John's book, "Outcasts United," spoke at Towson to an audience of about 300. Faculty and students from not only the University, but also the the surrounding communities came. And, lots and lots of young and old soccer fans. More about Luma in a sec.
I had a good time with my fifth graders in Cherry Hill and got to attend a regional residency meeting at Rutgers. Getting together with fellow residents is always such a great time and being able to do that on the Rutgers campus was really neat! They just started a Diversity Research Center at their Dana Library that is the first of its kind in the nation. And it sounds AMAZING. The center will chiefly work on developing and carrying out research in the study of diversity. It was truly exciting and inspiring to hear about. I can't wait to see what they do.
About Luma -she is fantastic! Her stories about growing up in Jordan were beautiful and some of the anecdotes she told about the Fugees during the Q & A had me cackling. (It's Halloween, I cackle this time of year.) The book, "Outcasts United," leaves out a lot of the humor that Luma seems to encounter with the kids fairly frequently. One story she told exposed the differences the Fugees feel in contrast to the teams they often play against. They are sometimes called not the nicest of names by opponents and their parents. They get taunted for being black, muslim or having accents, or for having a woman as their coach, among other differences. The Fugees have adjusted to this, but once after a game where the taunts had been more stinging than usual, the kids asked Luma, (who is fair-skinned and almost accentless), "What if they knew the truth?"
Luma asked, "The truth, what do you mean the truth?"
They said, "That you're an Arab AND a Muslim!"
Sarcastically Luma replied, "Oh, God! What would we do then!"
Here's some press about the Fugees. And, I encourage you to join their Fugees Family Facebook page to keep on top of updates and happenings with the kids. Enjoy and Have a Great Week!