A couple of months ago, I wrote a guest post for Alice Keeler’s blog about The First Steps in Becoming Anti-Racist. It started with listening to the inner voice and reflecting on a personal level of how you’ve contributed to racism. Then there was listening to others, using Google to find out more, and understanding Spiritual Bypassing.
Keep Reflecting With Every Step
First and foremost, embracing anti-racism is also embracing that you will never stop reflecting on how you view the world, how you welcome others, and when you find yourself acting on fear and prejudice, how do you change your mindset by working through it? That is a step in this process that will never go away, and if it does, you will stop growing.
For the summer break, many of us continue learning and preparing for the next school year. When we think about all that we’ve learned in the last few years, adopting an inclusive attitude, mindset, and growing in anti-racism is the best way to prepare. What you learn will show in the lessons you design, the relationships you form, the tech you use, and the community roles you embrace. Your growth will show others you have gone beyond performative actions. Personally, when I began this journey, my friendships started becoming more diverse and I found myself being the only white person in a room full of People of Color multiple times. These are some moments I am most grateful for and would never change. It taught me to lean in when I’m learning through discomfort.
Follow These Leaders
Can I introduce you to my friends? They are amazing leaders. We will be speaking at #ISTElive21 together. If you are going to conferences and you see classes on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, sign up for them! I have gotten to work a few times with my friends and many people join us because we create a safe space to ask questions and learn. These are the most important and life-changing classes you can take for yourself and for how you will welcome your students and their families as you grow.
Going to ISTE? Register for our session Making DEI a Priority in Schools by clicking on the picture!
Joquetta Johnson is a Specialist in the Department of Equity & Cultural Proficiency for Baltimore County Public Schools with more than 20 years of experience in librarianship, instructional technology, K-12, and post-secondary education. She’s also a doctoral candidate and an adjunct lecturer at Morgan State University. As an educator for social justice, Joquetta’s favorite part of the job is leveraging technology, hip-hop and culturally relevant pedagogies to excite, engage, empower, and enable ALL students to enjoy learning while achieving academic success, amplifying their voices, and pursuing personal interests. Joquetta is the 2019 recipient of the American Association of School Librarians’ Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award. She has presented at numerous local and national conferences about racial equity, confronting biases, and hip-hop pedagogy.
Here is a webinar Joquetta and I presented together:
Tiffanye McCoy-Thomas, PhD is a veteran educator and equity influencer with more than twenty years of experience. She has served in the classroom, as a building and district leader, and state department of education program manager with extensive experience in teacher and leader professional development. She’s currently an District Instructional Supervisor and District Liaison for the 21st Century Grant in Louisiana.
Dr. Desiree Alexander is an award-winning, multi-degreed educator who has been in the educational field since 2002. She is currently the Regional Director of North Louisiana for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana. She is the Founding CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC, and consults with members of several schools and businesses and presents at conferences nationwide. She has presented on the digital equity cycle, anti-racism and diversity in edtech at numerous conferences such as ISTE, FETC, and TCEA. She will be presenting about this topic at ISTE20 (Breaking into the space: Diverse Edtech Presenters and DEI Lightning Talk).
Follow these women! They are all leaders in their fields and they are always sharing as they learn.
Becoming Color Brave
Two years ago, at ISTE19, I led a class based on Mellody Hobson’s TED Talk about becoming Color Brave. People started opening up in ways they had never opened up with their own colleagues and students. We are so afraid to talk about racism in a way that is real. Some people think it’s impolite. There is also a widely believed myth that talking about these issues is actually what causes division. Friend, this is not true. I’ve seen people finally understand this and begin their own healing journeys. I hope you will listen in as well.
Keep Going & Keep Sharing
The journey of growing as an anti-racist educator is not a one-size-fits-all path in life. While we will share things in common, we will zig while others zag. We will take two steps back before moving five steps forward. We will make mistakes and all of this is expected! Continue moving forward. Continue learning from mistakes. Continue being humble. Leaders are found everywhere and their examples are what make them true.
I have so much hope in you! You can do this! You are not alone! Don’t Stop!