In writing up Sonia Nazario’s keynote speech for the Fenn School Multicultural Educators’ Forum, I deliberately left out a number of details in order to focus on the central story. While it makes a smoother narrative and hopefully helps focus on the power of her story, it neglects some important facts and details she deliberately and skillfully wove in. Among them:
Sonia Nazario began her powerful keynote speech for the Fenn School Multicultural Educators’ Forum by telling her own story. Born in the U.S., the daughter of immigrants, her parents’ home of Argentina was at the time a place where simply possessing and/or sharing knowledge (especially the truth about what was happening in the country) was seen by the government as so dangerous it could get you killed. She grew up being told she was the “dumb jock” in the family and, being the only brown kid in her school, was not counseled to go to college. She nonetheless enrolled at Williams College, where it was quite hard for her at the start. But her immigrant determination served her well, as it has helped our country, and she eventually realized the other students were not smarter than her, they were simply better prepared.
“The idea that only special people can create change is useful if you want to prevent mass movements and keep change from happening.” (Lyn Mikel Brown)
“Maybe the kids will save us.” It’s a phrase I periodically and not infrequently hear among teachers, along with “They give me hope.” I’ve said it myself - just two days ago, in fact - and no doubt will continue to, because I do firmly believe it. And on that horrible Wednesday, when the last Rock Band group of the night smiled and thanked me and walked out the door laughing together and there was nothing left to enable me to wall off my emotions about the news from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one of my first responses was to turn immediately back to the kids. I asked Windsor’s permission to post her beautiful and powerful All School email to our blog, and she quickly and graciously agreed. It has become our most widely read blog post ever, and for good reason.
“Hey, Bill, can we trade instruments and make a lot of noise?” It’s not the kind of request I would normally go for, much as I value student voice, but I knew it was Thursday evening and the lead singer for the middle school rock band was still on their way, having gotten out of theatre rehearsal late and needing to grab a quick dinner. I said, “Let’s do it!” The kids shouted happily and jumped up and ran, practically running each other over, eventually settling into place. I counted off - 1, 2, 1 2 3 4 - and the grand and joyous cacophony began.
Hello SBS community,
Earlier this school year, I gave a speech in class meeting about gun violence and the Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds. As a united class, we wrote emails to our state officials, senators, and representatives, asking what their plan of action was, to protect the lives of citizens and anyone in the United States.
“But don’t you think there are differences between men and women?” I thought for a moment, and responded, “Well, I know that brain differences at birth are minimal, and it seems to me that the gender constructs created by society drastically amplify those differences.” The conversation continued for a moment, still focused on binary gender differences, and I added, “But we don’t even know what would happen if a child were to actually grow up in a non-patriarchal society. I only know of a few isolated examples.” My friend affirmed that a few matriarchies do exist, at a minimum two in China that she knew of.
by Celine Nader
Here at Stoneleigh-Burnham, our mission statement is both descriptive of what is, and aspirational, considering what we hope will be. We talk about fostering voice, choice, and agency in our students here at SBS — and I feel confident that this is, by and large, quite effective.
“If you went to the Women’s March, could you please come up front with me?” said Celine Nader as she prepared to start a presentation in housemeeting. Interspersed with her beautiful words (included here in her blog post) were the students’ own thoughts. They loved the march for its sense of a diverse community coming together in support of each other. One student specifically mentioned she loved the intersectionality, the acknowledgement of race and of the fact that the rally was being held on land that was known as Pocumtuck for thousands of years before colonists renamed it Greenfield. Another student said that it’s wonderful that we cultivate and support girls’ voices here but that it’s also important to take them out into the world, and this march gave us a chance to do that.
by Ember L.
by Ferima Islamyate
Together we stand,
Against the greatest challenges,
That covers our light,
Regardless of race or personality,