It has taken some time to understand last month’s news saga and controversy around Dr. Seuss.
As an educator, as an avid reader, as someone committed to DEI and antiracism, I took my time forming an opinion and evaluation. I wanted to listen with intention. I wanted to consider disciplines and connections.
I do not have all the answers. Despite all the research, the on-the-ground work, the constant reading, I’m still learning. I’m discovering new tools, new methods, new concepts, new ideas. That is both the curse and the beauty of education–it is in a constant state of change and evolution; the work and learning is never done.
Now, sometimes I have enough time and energy to read 10 books on a topic. I have enough time to discuss and debate with colleagues for hours, days. Other times, I want to learn but only have enough time and energy for a single thought, a single bit of reflection, or a single dose of inspiration.
When time is limited, I go to social media, blogs, and websites.
My favorite forums, ones that I highly recommend are:
Each of these speakers, experts, and platforms are incredible inspiration for me. If you click on any of them, or all of them, you will notice that they are equity-driven, equity-focused, resources.
Equity and access, mirrors and windows, providing the most welcoming inclusive education for students is the core of my work. So, I seek out material and places where I can work through short exercises, read about new concepts, or learn a new bit of information–and I seek it out daily.
If I have enough time to read a book, that’s good. If I only have enough time for an Instagram post, that’s still good, still worth recognition. Why? Because if it is the core of my work, if it drives me, if I am committed to it, then every moment–big and small–is an opportunity to increase my capacity. And with that in mind, if you only have a few moments, or if you need a daily dose of inspiration and reflection, I recommend checking out Dr. Courtney Rose, Love.Tanesha, Teach and Transform, Teaching Tolerance, The Conscious Kid, and the Zinn Education Project . . . and if you find other equally amazing platforms, definitely let me know!
As educators we have been tasked with the monumental job of providing history, paradigms, and inspiration for a better world to our students.
In this honorable role, we must be hyper-vigilant of the stories we have consumed, we must be aware of the misunderstandings we have absorbed, and we must acknowledge that gaps are present–in our thinking, in our understanding, and in our own education. We are products of a system still redefining and finding itself.
In the past year, I have read more nonfiction than fiction–a real reversal in my reading consumption. While I started my anti-racist journey at birth, in a way, its momentum really took hold in my final years of high school, and has been an ongoing part of my life–personal and professional–since those teenage years. Nevertheless, it has only been in the past few years that I’ve had the robust conversations, the language development, and the depth of understanding to put all of what I have seen, heard, read, and experienced together. And this comes as the whole world has recognized that everyone has work to do. That racism is something to be dissected and discussed, not swept under the rug.
For those new to the language and discussions, there is no place better to start than books. While I’m sure there have been plenty of lists and recommendations, I will include 8 here:
A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris Hill
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
If I had to start all over, or if I had to recommend a start, I would start with these books.
For more details on each of these titles, please visit my book recommendation page on Instagram: Canon Reclaimed.
So, in late January, I decided to get prepared and stock up on literature to make Black History Month as inclusive as possible.
I made deliberate choices for my own development too–I read new books, I read about new and unknown history, I read literature by new authors. It’s been a great experience and I’m thrilled that I stuck to my goal.
March is Women’s History Month. I am on the same path and journey to expand, broaden, and ensure a successful Women’s History Month.
This month, on my own time, I will read stories by women only. Each woman though, will have to have a different background–meaning, if I read a book by a woman from Japan, next book needs to be a woman from another place in the world. This way, I continue to expand my perspective, my lens, and my readership.
For my students, I will do my best to do the same. As an American, in the United States, I will probably have more titles and stories about notable American women; however, in this case, each American woman will need to hail from a different part of the States, illustrate a different time period or component of history, and/or represent a different community (i.e. Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Black, Asian, Native, etc.). Again, the purpose is celebrating the vastness of women’s contributions.
At times, this can be a daunting goal, but once it’s started it comes naturally–and it’s enjoyable. So, I’m off to the library 📚 and my Amazon account 😉, wish me luck!