By Mia Mullings
Selection from a speech delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on July 4, 1965, two years after his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
A year ago on Martin Luther King Day, it was still President Obama and President-Elect Trump. The nation as a whole was living in a jittery state of uncertainty about exactly how January 20 would change us, and as yet unaware of the extent to which January 21 would play a role in reframing the context for the Trump presidency.
I awoke this morning to a long-awaited wedding picture shared in my Twitter messages. My friend and his partner of 23 years are standing side by side, his arm around his new husband’s shoulder. Both men are wearing one of those smiles that radiates from deep joy inside you, and there’s more than a tinge of “Finally!!!” in my friend’s smile. My eyes moistened, and I added my congratulations to the others.
If you had the chance to listen in on a conversation between two longtime friends, both of them among of the best known, most respected, wisest people writing and speaking about girls in particular and children in general, you’d jump at the chance, wouldn’t you? I certainly did, attending an event Tuesday night at Smith College sponsored by Smith College Campus School, finding a seat next to our school counselor and my own longtime friend, Ellen Carter (and a few rows behind Julie Mencher, a noted gender specialist with whom our school has worked in the past).
“Please join us in wearing black tomorrow in solidarity with men and women asking for equality, respect and meaningful change within all industries. Pass it on. #WhyWeWearBlack #Time'sUp” - Alyssa Milano (Jan. 6, 2018)
Ms. Milano’s tweet referred to the Golden Globe awards, where many women were planning to wear black as a political statement, drawing attention to both the #WhyWeWearBlack and #TimesUp hashtags. On Sunday, it was announced that eight stars had invited key activists in the #MeToo movement to attend as their guests, including the movement’s founder Tarana Burke. In turn, Ms. Burke released a joint statement on her Facebook page: “(...) Our goal in attending the Golden Globes is to shift the focus back to survivors and on systemic, lasting solutions. Each of us will be highlighting legislative, community-level and interpersonal solutions that contribute to ending violence against women in all our communities. It is our hope that in doing so, we will also help to broaden conversations about the connection to power, privilege and other systemic inequalities. (...)”
“What is Humanities doing now?” asked Ruthie, now in eighth grade, as she drew on the white board while waiting for her math class next door. I said, “Their current unit is ‘Who are they?’ and ten of them are studying each other.” and she whirled, her facial expression matching those of her friends, and said, “That’s awesome! How come our class didn’t think of that?” “Well,” I responded, “as I remember, at this precise time of year last year, you all were deeply involved in planning your conference about the new Declaration of Sentiments, which no other class had ever done before and which is pretty much an amazing project in itself.” They looked pensive, and commented, “That’s true.”
A speech delivered at the Fall 2017 Honor Roll Assembly, at the invitation of Student Council, by Jacob Steward, English Department Chair.
Good morning, everyone.
Thank you to STUCO for inviting me to share some of my thoughts on honor roll and academics with everyone today. First I’d like to congratulate all of the students on the honor roll today. Good job, everyone. I hope that this achievement signals that your efforts are producing results.
I do find it ironic to be standing up here to talk today. I haven’t been shy with my students in sharing my thoughts on grades: that ultimately, there’s a pretty decent amount of subjectivity in determining them, and that they are not what is important anyway. I’ve seen the barely disguised eye-rolls when I’ve pontificated about grades, and thank you for trying to suppress them, but I have seen. Oh, I have seen.
Filed Under: Honor Roll
I know we in the U.S. pride ourselves on our small town pride, but I still feel my town is extra special. When I tell people I live in Shelburne Falls, if they’re heard of it (and that’s more common than one might expect for a village of roughly 1700 people), they almost always tell me about an idyllic visit they once had to “such a beautiful town.” Though by no means as gifted a photographer as many of my friends and relations, I periodically post pictures of my home town, and they often draw a positive reaction.
I remember the air of celebration surrounding the first GLSEN Massachusetts student-educator conference I ever attended, some years ago now. I got the sense that here was a place where LGBTQ+ kids could - however temporarily - feel safe enough to burst forth from the closet. This year, that same sense of being accepted as one’s exact authentic self persisted, but in a calmer, more matter-of-fact way. This year’s conference theme, “Undone - Undoing - Still,” undoubtedly played a role in that. And in her welcome speech, Board member Trenda Loftin further expressed the mood of the conference, quoting activist Lilla Watson: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”