Dr. John A. Dennis aka Dr. D……Presente!!!


For those of you who don’t know who Dr. D was, I am attaching a link so you can read about who this great soul was. His tragic death is still very difficult for me to grasp.

Dr. D would have been 62 years old today. Dr. D, was our version of Jaime Escalante. Instead of Ganas, his word was Kekenewe. That is just the short version. The long version went something like this: Kekenewe Simbabele Bobo. I never figured out what Kekenewe meant. As a Saint Mary’s College alumni and former student of Dr.D, I only have fond memories of Dr.D.

When I think about Dr. D., I think about him being a true SOUL-DIER. He made an army of critical thinkers. He prepared his students to go out and battle; battle for our ideals and dreams but never forgetting about the poorest of the poor and using our gifts to make this world a better place. He was the commander in chief who carry his message with his actions. Seeing him in action, one was inspired to serve humanity just the same way he served his students. He dedicated his life to reach deep into people’s souls and navigate with them their purpose in life. Dr. D, was one of the very few educators who truly cared for his students. His love for his students was very genuine. He would go out of his way to help his students. Dr. D. could have easily written a book called the Pedagogy of Compassion. When I hear KEKENEWE SIMBABELE BOBO, I think he was telling us to find that GANAS that’s within us to get the job done.

Dr. D. created a garden of LOVE. In this garden, he cultivated seeds until the day he died. He planted seeds of understanding, respect, compassion, faith, spirituality, empathy, laughter, knowledge, friendship, etc. These and many other seeds were planted deep inside each and every one of us. Each one of us is a seed in Dr. D’s garden of LOVE. If we  imagine all the SEEDS that Dr. D. cultivated, we will see the garden of LOVE grow into the most beautiful oasis. I think it is our task to carry the seeds that have been cultivated in us and continue planting seeds of compassion, respect and dignity to the people that we come across whether it be homeless people, youth, our elders, or fellow peers. May we continue to be constant gardeners and spread Dr. D’s garden of LOVE.


Here is a poem that I wrote in honor of Dr. D.’s Birthday.


G.G: Dr. D,

How u doing.



Dr. D: Hey, G.

I’m doing well, you know me

just trying to stay in shape.


G:G: Stay in shape!!!

You are already in shape.

I don’t know that many

people your age who are

as ripped as you.


Dr.D: (laughing)

Stop it bobo.


G:G: So, I just wanted to reach out

and wish you a happy birthday today.


Dr. D: Oh, G, thank you.


G.G.: I just wanted to let you know

 how much I missed you and to let

you know that I think about you a lot.


Dr. D: Thank you G, thank you

but let’s change the topic before

you get me in tears.



G.G: Get you in tears, you already

have me in tears…..OK, let’s move on.


So have you been resting

like I told you the other day!!!


Dr. D: To be honest,

There is no such thing as resting

over here.

Everyday there is something to do.

I will say that the Workaholic Anonymous

classes that you mentioned to me

about have been fun.

I have met great and wonderful people.

The first day in class,

I sat next to Frederick Douglas,

we were talking about history

and the current state of the U.S.



The other day I talked to MLK

and we were talking about Obama.

Although, he is happy to see him be

the commander in chief, he has been

disappointed in Obama’s first two years.

MLK really wanted Obama to make a

statement in his decision against the

Afghanistan war. As a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,

MLK wanted Obama to stop deploying soldiers

to Afghanistan and to use his Nobel Peace Prize

 to call for an end to military occupation in Iraq and

Afghanistan. MLK feels that as long as there is a war,

the Defense budget will continue to increase while lawmakers

will make drastic cuts to the social service resources aimed at

the people being affected by the current economic crisis.


G.G: Dr. D. I can see MLK has not missed a beat. He is

keeping it real. I agree 100% with MLK. Many of us were upset that

Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize and didn’t use

the opportunity to bring an end to the wars in Iraq

and Afghanistan. I don’t understand how a Nobel Peace

Prize recipient can continue to drag an unjust war. It just doesn’t

make sense to me.


Dr.D: Bobo,

I understand what you’re saying,


but he can’t change Washington overnight. I am

disappointed too. But, understand that the machine

is bigger than he is so if he is going to change Washington,

you and the folks in the streets are going to have to get

organized and put pressure on Capital Hill.

Obama can’t do it by himself.

I have been disappointed in many of his decisions

but I think its important that people pay close attention

to this election year as well. If the Republicans win the majority

in the Senate and the House, that is a huge blow to

whatever changes were in store. I mean, the damage will be huge.

You can forget about comprehensive immigration reform.


I was talking to Huey Newton and Malcolm X

and they were saying that

the economic crisis

that’s been going on in the

United Snakes of AmeriKKKa

as they like to say it,

is a good start for the people to

take matters into their own hands

and start organizing every neighborhood

and every community in the country.

They feel the current economic crisis

along with unemployment rising

are vital signs that Capitalism

has hit is very lowest point.

They feel the only way to fix the system

is revolutionizing the system.

They say that lawmakers will never understand

the true impact on the working class citizens’.

They felt that the democrats should have taken advantage

of their political power and invested a lot in education,

health care, the working poor and providing everyone

with housing not just those who lost their house to foreclosure

but the millions who are homeless and dying in the streets.

But the democrats didn’t and look at the people now;

disillusioned with this election year and

not having any trust in the democrats.

Huey and Malcolm wished Americans had the balls

to take to the streets just the same way French people

have paralyze their whole country.


G.G.: I agree with Huey and Malcolm,

If we were truly organized,

we would turn this country upside down.

I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what

will it take for Americans to say, YA BASTA!!!

I feel we are all scattered fighting our struggles.

I long for the day when we start our

Social Justice Movement and paralyze this country.

Dr. D., that day will come, I just don’t know when.

I’m just trying to do my part

to live in a more just society

where the poorest of the poor

will be respected and will

be treated with dignity.


Dr. D, one day our struggle

will bear its fruits.

Only time will tell.


On another note, have you talked to Gandhi,

Victor Jara, or Ali Primera?


Dr. D: Not a lot. Everyone over here

is very busy.

They are still very involved

in what they couldn’t finish.


Gandhi did tell me that he notice

that you started blogging and that you

named your blog after one of his


He was happy to see that.

He says that his Talisman is of no use

if people and especially the world leaders

and the wealthy people don’t put it to practice.



Victor Jara and Ali

Primera are doing great.

They continue to play beautiful music.

You should hear the music that

they have been working on.

Victor has a new version of his

Cancion del Minero,

Inspired by the Chilean Miners.

G, you would love this song.

He unleashes at the San Esteban Company

and sings about the working conditions

of the miners not only in Chile

but throughout the world.

I’m telling you, this is Victor Jara at its best.


G.G: Dr. D, I wished I could listen to the song.

I can only imagine the beautiful and inspiring songs

that Victor Jara and Ali Primera have composed.


Dr. D., have u had the chance to talk to Pablo Neruda.


Dr. D.: Yeah, I just saw Pablo Neruda the other day.

He is doing great.

Pablo Neruda is a genius.

His poetry keeps getting better.


Patrice Lumumba

is sad at what’s going

on in Congo.

He says he didn’t fight for the liberation

of Congo

so that soldiers would be raping women

and child soldiers would be recruited in a

war that is only bringing more tragedy

and dividing their fellow countrymen.


Well, kekenewe

Sorry for cutting it short

but I got to go,



G.G. Dr. D

Its my pleasure.

Once again

Happy Birthday.

I hope you have a

great day and remember

We all miss you.

You have definitely

made an impact in all of us.

Just to let you know that

your spirit remains present

In our lives.

We love you, Bobo.


Dr. D.: Thank you bobo,

Tell everyone that I feel

their love and I’m very honor.


G.G. Ok, I will. We’ll be in touch.


Dr.D. Ok, we will. Take care

Kekenewe simbabele bobo (laughing).


G.G. (laughing) take care Kekenewe.



I love and miss you, Dr. D.

Dr. D…Presente

2 Responses to “Dr. John A. Dennis aka Dr. D……Presente!!!”

  1. Ashley (a fellow FJV) Says:


  2. Julia Soares Barboza Says:

    Thank you!!!

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