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Each One Teach One: Up and out of Poverty: Memoirs of a Street Activist
     

Each One Teach One: Up and out of Poverty: Memoirs of a Street Activist

5.0 1
by Ron Casanova, Stephen Blackburn
 

Each One Teach One chronicles Ron Casanova's struggle out of poverty, homelessness and drug addiction to find dignity and purpose in his life. Through his own dramatic awakening, this Black, Puerto Rican activist ultimately finds his answer in helping other people.
Born into a dysfunctional family and placed in an orphanage on Staten Island at an early age,

Overview

Each One Teach One chronicles Ron Casanova's struggle out of poverty, homelessness and drug addiction to find dignity and purpose in his life. Through his own dramatic awakening, this Black, Puerto Rican activist ultimately finds his answer in helping other people.
Born into a dysfunctional family and placed in an orphanage on Staten Island at an early age, Casanova faced overwhelming odds. His story illuminates some of the major events of our time, including the "police riot" at Tompkins Square, the "Housing Now" march of the homeless on Washington, and community takeovers of housing in Kansas City, New York, and Philadelphia.
Underlying Each One Teach One, with its vivid cast of characters and intimate descriptions of Harlem and other urban areas, is the profound sense that no matter what your circumstance, you can use your past experience to help others. Ultimately, Casanova's story is a message of hope for the future and for the possibility of self-sufficiency and self-empowerment for each individual.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An eloquent voice for Americans too often ignored or scapegoated."—Booklist

"A valuable firsthand account of a street survivor's harrowing experiences." —Kirkus Reviews

"Read Each One Teach One as the epic of a man's awakening to community and purpose from a life lived on the bounce between our savage so-called 'social' institutions and the streets. Or read it as a raw bulletin from the fractured front of a class war too many in our country want to ignore. Either way, this is an urgent, vital, necessary book."

—Fred Pfeil, author of What They Tell You to Forget

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Placed in an orphanage in New York City in 1948 at age three when his mother died, Casanova hardly knew his father, whom he describes as an alcoholic wife-beater. His youth, a succession of detention centers, prisons, shelters and mental hospitals, was marked by heroin addiction, alcoholism, gang membership and burglaries, and as a self-described "Puerto Rican with a black background," he endured prejudice and racial beatings. Today, as vice-president of the National Union of the Homeless, Casanova campaigns for low-income housing and greater federal and local assistance to the homeless and to squatters. Despite testing HIV-positive from sharing needles, he remains optimistic and has served as an AIDS outreach counselor and a drug counselor for juvenile offenders. In this raw, gritty autobiography written with freelancer Blackburn, he sums up his radical grassroots philosophy: "We, the homeless and formerly homeless, have to be the ones who run the shelters, the homes, the soup kitchens, the welfare... but this will be a struggle because there is no way the poverty pimps are going to give up the shelter system as it is now, and the welfare system as it is now." Author tour. (Sept.)
Booknews
Casanova, vice president of the National Union of the Homeless, editor of the Union of the Homeless National News, and former director of the Kansas City Union for the Homeless, tells the story of his struggle out of poverty and drug addiction to find purpose in his life. He paints a portrait of the characters found at the fringes of society, and chronicles pivotal events in the homeless movement. No index. For general readers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A memoir recounting the struggles of a black Puerto Rican activist who helps others trapped, as he once was, in cycles of poverty, addiction, and homelessness.

Casanova, vice president of the National Union of the Homeless and editor of the Union of the Homeless National News, shares two stories: his personal account of growing up in orphanages, on city streets, in detention centers and prisons; and the contemporary struggles of the homeless, especially on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. What emerges is a perturbing portrait of a callous, inefficient bureaucracy. The memoir's strength is its detailed indictment of various so-called "helping" institutions. Particularly disturbing is Casanova's depiction of Matteawan State Hospital, where he spent part of his adolescence, and where he witnessed mentally ill patients being routinely beaten, drugged, and placed in straitjackets by sadistic correction officers. Casanova was 16 when he saw officers "take a patient, wrap towels around his neck . . . and drag him down the long ward until he was dead." He asserts that incompetent doctors were also responsible for many deaths, which were routinely dismissed as heart failures. Casanova's negative experiences taught him that "all institutions tend to want you to remain dependent on them." He lashes out at the welfare system, aspects of Christianity and its various institutions, as well as left-liberal politicians. There is nothing one can depend on, Casanova concludes, other than oneself. Diagnosed as HIV-positive at age 51, Casanova sees his task—and that of all true activists and social workers—as not just feeding people, but providing them with the tools to feed themselves. Many institutions, and American society in general, are indicted in this angry memoir for failing to do that.

Though the prose is often lackluster, this is a valuable firsthand account of a street survivor's harrowing experiences.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781880684375
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
10/28/1996
Edition description:
1st EDITIOIN
Pages:
250
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Ron Casanova is Vice President of the National Union of the Homeless, Editor of the Union of the Homeless National News and former Director of The Kansas City Union of the Homeless.

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Each One Teach One: Up and out of Poverty: Memoirs of a Street Activist 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EACH ONE TEACH ONE remains an important first-hand chronicle of the anti-poverty and housing movement in the United States during the 1980s and 90s. The "as told to" EACH ONE TEACH ONE is drawn directly from long days of interviews with the late Ron Casanova, along the lines of THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X. His personal tale isn’t embellished, his language isn't honed, his opinions aren't censored to make the book more palatable to the sensibilities of middle class America. EACH ONE TEACH ONE gives voice to a man who had a lot to overcome, and who dedicated his life to helping others get off the streets.