Sunday, September 14, 2014

Amazing Grace - Johnathan Kozol

        Johnathan Kozol's article, "Amazing Grace", centers around the district of Mott Haven which is the poorest in the South Bronx. The families from this district attend St. Anns Church, where 95 percent of the members are poor and endure lives centered around disease, drugs, and extreme poverty. Reading about the severe and insufferable conditions the citizens of Mott Haven live in are unimaginable to someone like me who is blessed to have been raised in more stable enviornment.
       Learning about the details of circumstances these people live under was more than humbling. There were a few quotes from the article that I was apalled by. The first of these quotes came from Cliffie, the little boy from St. Ann's Church that showed the author around Mott Haven. I was at first shocked by the maturity this young boy already held as well as how selfless and giving he was for such a small child. Although, what really stunned me is when he said, "I saw a boy shot in the head right over there" (6), without much emotion according to the author. It was incredibly disheartening to see that a child like Cliffie was forced to be so mature so young. It was also extremely sad, that by Cliffie's lack of sadness by the shooting, that it was something that was not uncommon to him. This is so unfortunate, because childhood is supposed to be a time of happiness where children can be ignorant to real-world dilemas.
        Another issue that was highly discussed in the article was the amount of disese, particularly AIDS, that infested the area. Almost all of the district is effected by the illness. The hospitals are filled with patients dying from the fatal sickness. One of the stories that stuck out to me an deeply impacted me was one of a nine-year-old girl named Sylvia, who had passed away from AIDS. The author describes,
"Her mother died six months before. An intravenous user. The mother's boyfriend was 42 years old and he had AIDS as well. He raped the little girl right in her bed" (13). This was very disturbing and sad for me to read that a young innocent girl was raped and ultimately killed by this disease. The realness and rawness of this story truly effected me and opened my eyes to what is going on in the world around me and not just in the "little bubble" that I reside in. After reading this article I wanted nothing more than be able to help those living in such poverty and those who are less fortunate than I am. The severity that the people of Mott Haven live in, got me to start thinking of things I could do in my community as well as other communities to offer help.

                                               Johnathan Kozol
neighborhood of Mott Haven
St. Ann's Church


  1. I enjoyed your response. Its nice to know there are people out there that want to help people in poverty.

  2. Reading about the young innocent girl Sylvia gave me the chills. I cannot believe how disgusting a man can be to rape a nine-year old and give her AIDS. The poor child didn't have a life to live, to enjoy, because a man ruined it for her. I definitely agree with you about wanting nothing but to help those living in these type of neighborhoods.

  3. I agree with Cindy, reading about Sylvia was difficult. It just goes to show how there really doesn't seem to be a point where too much is too much, it's as if people have no shame, morals or care and compassion for other human beings.

  4. It is terribly sad to see Cliffie showing no real negative emotion when he mentioned the shooting. It is easy to forget that some people experience horrors and tragedies that we only read about.

  5. I agree with you, cliffe didn't have much emotion about seeing someone being shot. Its really to bad that it has to be that way. Also it was disturbing for me as well to read about a little girl being raped and given AIDS. I believe there should be more push in New York for better living conditions, and put away people who are turning the streets into an even worse place.