The Lark Articles

On November 13, 2014, “Two Truths and a Lie,” a writing workshop I teach in NYC, was held up at gunpoint. After the robbery, the class became the invisible center in a maelstrom of tensions around the New York Police Department’s Stop-and-Frisk policy, gentrification, and the role of police in communities. Much of what was written in the media about us and about the robbery was not true. Most of the solutions to “crime in the city” that were discussed in relation to the robbery did not reflect our beliefs.

The media, including the New York Times, covered the class in skewed ways, placing us as simply a marker in the inevitable path of gentrification. Facebook and neighborhood blogs reacted with racially charged remarks and calls for more police presence. My students and I bristled at such simplified answers that were nothing more than a shrugging of the shoulders or a heightening of violence—a refusal to look at all the reasons why this young man would need to walk into my classroom with a gun.