Interview with Tracy Amalfitano

Now, you told us the story about one of your neighbors and how the wonderful way how she looked through the window every day and then finally came up to you. Could you tell that story?


Yes, there was on particular, ah, episode that I vividly remember. ah, I used to walk to K Street and, ah, and the Beach Road, ah, with my son in the morning and, and, and wait for the bus. And unbeknownst to me in the beginning, there was, ah, a Chinese family that evidently was watching me every morning. And after about a month and a half, ah, the woman came down to the bus and she said, "I've been watching you and your son seems to come home in one piece every day and I very much want my child to go to school." And I suggested to her at that time, I said, "Well, if you'd like, tomorrow I'll get the car and I'll drive you over to Columbia Point and you can meet the principal and I will show you the school and I think you'd be happy with it and I'll introduce you to people and then you make your own decision." I never suggested to anyone at any point in time that they not boycott. I, I believed then and I believe now that that was a decision that, ah, an individual parent had to make and if they wanted to boycott and keep their kids out of school that, ah, that was something that they were going to have to live with if they wanted to keep the kids out for a period of time and the kids lost school. ah, that would be their choice. But I could only say what I did and that I would help support them if they needed support and basically that is what happened with this particular woman. The next day she brought her child down and the child went to school, ah, with my son. And, ah, then we stood on the corner. And that happened, began to happen over and over again. And, ah, other parents who wanted to send their kids came down to the corner. Evidently more people were watching me than I realized whether they agreed with me or disagreed with me. And, ah, there was a period of time that people would call me on the phone and say, "Is it safe today? Is it OK?" In a way I guess I became a street corner counselor without trying to do that, ah.