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Point of View: Watching Boys of Baraka

For Devon, Montrey, Richard and Romesh, two years abroad at the Baraka School represented a make-or-break dash to exit the cycle of poor education, incarceration and poverty. POV asked three education advocates to respond to the themes and characters in the documentary.

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady: Do you know kids like Richard and Romesh?

Bill Cosby: I was all of those kids. That's my neighborhood in North Philadelphia in the housing project. In 1949 I graduated from 6th grade and my teacher wrote a whole bunch of wonderful things about me, but that I needed to be watched and I needed people to stay on me about my homework and what was due, so I couldn't get away with anything. Well, I went from "Satisfactory" grades to "O" grades, which in those days meant "Outstanding. So my point is what did that film show that the boys needed? It wasn't giraffes, it wasn't a place where they were so far from the airport that they couldn't run away. That wasn't it. They needed someone to put a body on them.

If people don't do better with our children in the cities, this film will be like the writings of W.E. B. DuBois and Carter G. Woodson; you'll pick it up 60 years later, put the film on DVD and say "You know, the same thing is happening today." We're not talking about billions of dollars of change, we're talking about individuals walking in and saying, "this is not good enough, we're going to do this and we're going to do that." We need to jump on people and grab them by the throat and say "You're killing our children. Not only are you letting them fall through the cracks, but you're a part of opening the cracks so that they don't have to fall, they can just walk on in." And that's from the neighborhood to outside to the school ... everybody is indicted in this. Everybody is indicted for not thinking and not doing and pretending that they don't know.

This movie requires that people get up and save these children. That's the requirement. The children are telling you in this movie: "We want to be saved."

Bill Cosby Bill Cosby received a Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts. He produced and starred in The Cosby Show from 1984-1992 and has starred in many films and television series.





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