The point of my work, why I do the things I do, is to make the world a safer place for my son.
He was my point of radicalization.
He is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me moving when I am tired of talking to white people about how to do better.
He keeps me asking questions when I have been told that I am not black enough or educated enough or when I face my own imposter syndrome. I keep myself moving because I know that it takes everyone of us working as hard as we can in order to create change in the world. It takes us all to be open to accepting our own pitfalls or spaces of ignorance.
Activism that produces change takes humility.
I am a teacher. Over the years, I have taught and created curriculum for every age from pre-k to seniors. I’ve worked with pre-school parents, college faculty, high school artists, dancers that hang of sides of building and park rangers. I use techniques for deep reflection and community building. I encourage connection from the heart and a deep listening to acknowledge the wholeness of other human beings. In all the spaces I have worked, there are two questions that I ask.
When was the first time you noticed race?
What was your call to action?
I ask these questions so that we have a compass for one another and learn that while we share similarities we also have many differences. I learned this way of understanding this way of looking at the world in two spaces. The first was the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Technology Education at Columbia College in Chicago, the second was at World Trust Educational Services.
In both spaces, I was able to examine my own learning curve in the company of allies and friends. I built my capacity for humility, for being ok with not knowing and for finding opportunities to learn. When I had my son, I was able to recognize the stirring in my soul to create a space to keep him safe. The challenges that I faced up until his birth provided me a map for question asking and collaboration. Every year that he grows, the more he is able to see and understand, the more committed I become to forming alliances across the globe to create spaces of sanctuary and learning.
The heart of the work is how to be a more reflective human being. How do you connect your experiences to the experiences of others without centering only on what you know to be true. The more often I do this work, the more I realized that we are seeking the same things, connection, understanding, and to be heard and seen. Some of us are more used to being the center, having our experiences be the most important, and being heard, seen, and affirmed. This is reinforced by our laws and our media. It creates a feedback loop that makes interruption very difficult.
In order to shift our understanding, we must also shift from centering ourselves to holding others as important. In some cases, even making others experiences more important. Representation matters, humility matters, a deep understanding of ones own habits and acculturation, matter, just like any practice it requires diligence and continual work.
What are the ways that you practice humility? When do you place others experiences on par with your own? How do you hold yourself and your organization accountable?