Build, Seek and Commit to a Community

solidarity

Build, Seek, Commit to a Community

There are mornings when I wake up and I think this was all a bad dream. I’m still a little groggy, I’m searching for my glasses so I can see the time instead of a blurry mess of red numbers. I get my glasses on, I thank Mother- Father God for waking me up and then it hits me. It’s not a dream, Donald Trump is the president-elect of this here United States of America.

But then I remember that, “We gon’ be alright!

Since the election, we have been elaborating on our  “We gon’ be alright” educator as activist stay woke plan for demolishing white supremacy, patriarchy, and institutional racism in the pursuit for freedom and liberation for Diasporic people. We’ve taken you through Step 1: Feel and Step 2: Educate yourself. This week we encourage you to take the next step: building, seeking and committing to a community.

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Our foundational proverb, our go to grounding and the wisdom of our ancestors says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And in order for us to go far and pave the pathway for the future of our students, we must go together.

I can hear you now– you are already a part of a bunch of online communities. You follow education thought leaders like Pedro Noguera, David Kirkland, Jose Vilson, Chris Emdin and Gloria Ladson Billings . And you follow and have “liked”all the education-based FB pages that keep your newsfeed full.

Nonetheless, if you’re a critically conscious educator, you stay woke by getting information from sources beyond mainstream media.  But what we want to know is if you are an active member of any community, where you actually show up, talk with people, set goals and then execute? If we’re going to have a revolution in our system of education we have to use technology, yes, but most importantly we will need people power, people talking with one another, learning together, loving and fighting together, face to face.

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And if we really gon’ be alright, we can not just be about food, fun and festivities. We have to be about planning, politicking and participating.

So where do you start? We’re so glad you asked:

  1. Get involved with your local political community. My community has a monthly meeting that I attend which discusses the health and wealth of our community. Cathleen volunteers with CAS Prep, an organization that is helping close the racial equity gap in specialized high school admissions. Begin building relationships with your elected officials, so that you gain influence and can lobby them to create initiatives and support reforms that are focused on the positive racial identity development of our youth, schools and community. Then you should also join the tenant or homeowners association and if there isn’t one, surprise! Look who will be forming one.
  1.  Join professional organizations and attend conferences. Now see, one of my favorite organizations, is ASCD. The 1st conference I attended transformed my teaching practice and my mindset. Their monthly magazine Educational Leadership, honestly is a gold mine of inspiration and forward thinking. 
  1. Sharing, discussing and planning with others using relevant resources. Who do you lesson plan with? Who do you bounce ideas off of? Who is your thought partner(s)? And we mean, beyond the PLC your admin has forced you to be apart of. If you’re still following us, we would hope that you’ve found this content beneficial to you, sooooooo, ummmmmmm, let me ask you a question? Have you shared it with your colleagues? Has any of it inspired a lesson or unit? What about all those articles in the Root and all the science Shaun King be dropping on the daily? Do you just read, like, say right on and then move on? Listen, you are not alone. There is at least one other person who wants to actually DO something with all this great information. They’re searching for you. Seek the community out and if you can’t find one, create it and they will come.
  1. Join and financially support  community organizations focused on the Diaspora and liberation. If we want to center education for liberation in our pedagogy that is going to require us to put our money where our hearts are. At the Schomburg, you can become an associate member for $35…for the year…that’s it. At Weeksville Heritage Center, a one time donation of $100 Supports the preservation of the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses. At CCCADI you can become a Landmark Member for a one time donation of $500. Here’s the point; it doesn’t matter how small the financial support because every dollar counts. I mean, you could turn this type of support into a yearly class project encouraging your students to fundraise all year and donate to community, cultural and artistic organizations that honor the diaspora. Maybe you can get the adults in the building to match the amount that students raise. We must raise up our children so that they value these spaces in word, actions and finances.
  1. Engage in social activism:

In 1974 Gil Scott Heron cautioned us that the revolution will not be televised:

“You will not be able to stay home, brother.

You will not be able to plug in, turn on and drop out.

You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip.

Skip out for beer during commercials

Because the revolution will not be televised.

In 2016 we know that everything is televised; we’ve watched as police officers shoot and kill unarmed black men and women. With each assassination, We’ve seen our youth pour out into the streets full of anger, pain and fear for their lives. Most recently, we saw our youth walk out of their schools and proclaim, “He is not my President!” Social Media, selfies, blogs, tweets, updates, livestreams; something is being televised and like Heron said in ‘74 you will not be able to stay at home, you will not be able to lose yourself.

a-davis-quote

Now more than ever all the brothers and sisters must come together.

All the brothers and sisters everywhere must feel the time is in the air.

Common blood flows through common veins and common eyes all see the same.

Now more than ever all the brothers and sisters must come together.

-Adapted from Brother to Brother  by Gil Scott-Heron (1973)

Peace and love

Posted in Community Building, Teacher as Activist, We Goin' Be Alright.

3 Comments

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