We are convening a space for up to 40 educators, emphasizing the opportunity for marginalized and oft-underrepresented perspectives from educators of color to lead the conversation while leaving the registration open for all to join.
“I know teaching is a survival technique. It is for me, and I think it is in general; and that’s the only way real teaching, real learning, happens. Because I myself was learning something I needed to continue living. And I was examining it and teaching it at the same time I was learning it. I was teaching it to myself aloud.” Audre Lorde, An Interview with Audre Lorde
“It’s frustratin’ when you just can’t express yourself / And it’s hard to trust enough to undress yourself / To stand exposed and naked, in a world full of hatred / Where the sick thoughts of mankind control all the sacred” Jay Electronica, “Better in Tune With The Infinite“
“Without new visions, we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We not only end up confused, rudderless, and cynical, but we forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever maneuvers and tactics, but a process that can and must transform us” Robin D.G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams
“Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well…Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.” Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
For us, before thinking of this meetup as a forum for professional development, We consider it an intervention for personal growth, and with that, we sought to explain its intentions with a personal statement. –Janae Williams & Christopher Rogers, conveners.
Well before I was able to name it, learning was the greatest practice of freedom I’d ever known. Before I knew the importance of my mother reading to me stories from “The People Could Fly”, “Amazing Grace”, “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters”, and before i could articulate the the epigenetic knowing of my fourth grade, gifted-identified self researching Harriet Tubman’s path to freedom to create a board game navigating that path, I understood the important of seeing myself; of seeing myself for myself, before I was ever to bear witness to anyone else’s truth. Only as of late, has the world begun to (be forced to) imagine the unfettering of black and brown spaces, bodies, minds. And in these intentional strides, we, consequently, create the spaces to examine our own wounds together. To transgress together. To heal communally — exposed and naked. It is in these pockets of safety that we recommit to identifying the self-perpetuating gaps, to unlearn our internalized oppression, and to stretch out to create more space for new and continuing conversations.
This is personal. It’s spiritual. it’s political. It’s about survival, restoration, creation. It’s about home and safety. About life. About Life. Life. –Janae
I chose to coordinate this event because I felt there were few spaces in my present grasp which emphasized the ”new visions” of what our classrooms needed to impress upon our students and ourselves. Such strategies as foregrounding oppressive structural forces and drawing out intersectional approaches is something that I have been encouraged by today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement to include in my practice as an essential skill for the next generation. With such innovative resources as the #FergusonSyllabus imagining new ways to build curricular interventions, I think there is much work ahead of us to center these herstories, voices, and questions in the classroom. It is the challenge I am looking to take up with JustMaybeCo.,a new initiative to curate and distribute learning resources that truly speak to a transformative educational practice. We seek to draw from the fervor, passion, and commitment of the global movement to dismantle all the various forms of dehumanization, allowing students to build the mindfulness and skills for the opening of new worlds. I look to this day as a space for Black educators, fellow educators of color, and white allies to engage this necessary critical journey. –Chris