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.
“Well, maybe we'll still make the keynote,” I said to my student as we began the 10-minute walk from Wheelock's main campus, where I had attended last year's GLSEN Massachusetts Spring Conference (GLSEN being an organization that supports LGBTQ+ students and educators as well as their allies), to Wheelock's Brookline campus where, it turned out, this year's conference was held. They (the pronoun this student uses; here is a list of common choices) answered cheerfully, “Oh, it's okay. We'll get there.”