The allure of New York City during the holidays is something quite special, but my recent family trip there exposed us to a bewildering scene. Grand Central Station was abuzz with groups of teens, known as the “Z-gang,” disturbing the peace with chants of “f%k school” and “Zmoneeey for President.”
With hundreds of gang members out promoting the movement, selling merchandise and urging each passerby to join the Z-list, their presence was impossible to ignore. Outraged by what I witnessed that day, I made a video about the Z-gang and posted it to my social media that same evening.
As a community leader based in Philadelphia, a city plagued with poverty and crime like many urban cities across America, the last thing we need is a ‘drop out of school trend’ becoming popular. Alarmed and intrigued, I decided to probe into the origins of Zmoneeey and the Z-gang.
Curiosity led me to interact with the most unusual member of the crew, a wheelchair bound, self-proclaimed ‘masked Z-ganger’ selling Z-Gang hoodies. He identified himself as Sparky Flinstone, spokesperson and co-founder of the Z-gang. Communicating through sign language and special interpreters, Sparky shared visions of a revolution funded by secret parties and driven by the ‘power of Z.’
Sparky’s words were quite unsettling as he detailed plans for a massive event in the making known as the Million Student March. The march will converge on the nation’s capital, drawing a parallel between the Z-Gang movement and the political stature of the current president. This revelation was extremely shocking and at the same time thought provoking.
Further investigation led me to a song by Zmoneeey titled “Saturday,” which has become a bit of a viral sensation for criticizing the public school system. From my perspective as an educator and a concerned parent, this entire scenario is deeply troubling. While the Z-Gang’s critique of the outdated educational system has some validity, promoting dropout culture and revolution seems dangerously anarchistic.
I hope my concerns are exaggerated, but video content from Zmoneeey’s social media accounts suggest otherwise. As 2023 comes to a close, my holiday shopping experience in the big apple has left me questioning the direction in which our youth and educational systems are headed.
Written by: Brandon Chastang, Community Leader, Educator & Social Activist instagram.com/b.mcfly_
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