Student Advocates For Change (SAFC) is a group of students who started their work as middle schoolers and have continued their work into high school in Amherst, Massachusetts working to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in Massachusetts. This is their ongoing story.
I once thought we could get to justice if we could just help poor kids of color get more comfortable with their poverty.
Burnout saved my life.
I didn’t think so at the time. In fact, while it was happening, my burnout as a public middle school English teacher felt like watching a close friend dying a little bit each day while I helplessly looked on.
For ten years, I was a dedicated teacher, spending my time, energy, and money in order to provide the best education I could for my students.
But something was wrong. It wasn’t that I wasn’t working hard enough. It was that I was working in the wrong direction.
An interview with my 11-year-old son.
Ever wonder what a young activist sounds like? Before I was a parent I would have said that activists are raised, not born. My 11-year-old son makes me think that maybe it’s a little bit of both. I sat down to talk with him about it.
Me: What do you think makes someone an activist?
Son: I think that what makes someone an activist is that they have strong ideas and they put those ideas into actions.
Me: Why do some people choose to be activists?
Son: I choose to be an activist because if no one was, then the world would not be the way we want.
Supporting kids to push back against racial injustice.
"I guess they only like white people,” my 5-year old said the first time she noticed the Our Generation doll section at Target.
Screeeech! I stopped our cart short in the middle of my dash to buy home supplies.
“They only have white dolls,” she explained. Then she shrugged her shoulders and moved past the aisle.
And she was right. All the Our Generation dolls on the shelves — upwards of 20 dolls in a dozen or so varieties — were white.
“Maybe they’re out of stock,” I suggested. “Let’s check another time.”
I have struggled to find words to express what I thought and felt as I watched the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. Last night, I wanted to say something that hasn’t been said a hundred times before. It finally dawned on me that there is nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. As I was preparing to write about the oldness of all of this, and share some wisdom passed down from struggles of earlier eras, I heard on the news that 11 officers had been shot in Dallas, several killed from sniper fire. My fingers froze on the keys. I could not bring myself to recycle old truths. Something more is required. But what?