Recently, I got called out on Twitter. It used to be, like many (most?) of us, that being told I was causing offense, being racist, and/or hindering the work for social justice would lead me to break out in a panicky sweat, want to figuratively or even literally run away, and/or passionately defend myself as “a good person.” By now, though, it’s happened often enough that I’ve learned to view it positively as someone caring enough to engage with me, to challenge me to do better in their eyes (granting that this is easier to process via social media than in the immediacy of face-to-face conversations). And I’ve learned that at such moments, their eyes are generally seeing things I would otherwise miss and that I really need to know. Trying to remain open to being called out, whether on Twitter, in person, or wherever, has enabled me to learn and grow more quickly and more surely than I otherwise would have been able to - in short, to be a better ally.
“I am not a pretty girl. That is not what I… do.” - ani difranco
It’s 10 days after Parkland and, while some of the initial rawness has subsided, I know many teachers who are still having difficulty sleeping, having nightmares when they do get to sleep, crying on basically a daily basis. While one of my colleagues and I were discussing actions the kids here are resolving to take, she told me, choking back tears, “I just feel so helpless.” My office mate and I had a long conversation yesterday in which she pointed out she was so young when Columbine happened that she can’t remember a time when we didn’t have to worry about school shootings. She’s profoundly angry about that, and goodness knows I would be.
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.
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.
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 hope this finds you well. In honor of the International Day of the Girl, my students will be hosting several Hangouts to connect girls around the world. The conversations will be self-directed by the students who attend, with student facilitators. We hope to provide an opportunity to unite girls across borders on the ways we are similar and bring us closer together by celebrating our differences.
I understand that in our society, how we dress is linked to respect. Though I love wearing gym shorts and a tank top, there are certainly occasions where I wouldn’t do so.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome officially to the 2017-2018 academic year. I loved hearing about each one of you students last night and would like to take a moment to thank, especially, the senior class for getting us off to such a happy start! You, seniors, have set the tone for a spectacular year. Thank you.
Invocation delivered at Convocation by Shayna Appel '78
The legendary poet, writer, playwright and social activist James Baldwin once wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”