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Know My Name

“The judge had given Brock something that would never be extended to me: empathy. My pain was never more valuable than his potential.”

(TW: sexual assault)⠀
Chanel Miller was first introduced to the world as Emily Doe. The victim of a sexual assault that took place at Stanford University. Brock Turner, the assailant, was given just six months jail time (he served three) after the judge declared “compared to other crimes in similar nature it may be considered less serious due to his level of intoxication.” Miller’s words written in her victim statement as Emily gave hope and solace to victims of sexual assault everywhere. This book is for those who feel their spirits battered to let them know they are not alone. This read was challenging and definitely very triggering but it was brilliant throughout. She takes your hand and shows you what it is like to be a sexual assault victim in today’s brutal society that perpetuates rape culture and victim blaming. It’s an indictment on our criminal justice system and how it upholds the white male as blameless for his mistakes. This is a necessary read for all. It wasn’t easy but it made me feel less alone, which is why we read in the first place. Whether or not you are a survivor there is something here to learn for everyone.⠀

March

Growing up in a white, wealthy neighborhood meant my education in history was largely told through the lens of the colonizer. I remember learning about Rosa Parks and being told one day “she was just tired” so she refused to move to the back of the bus. Not that she was an activist and protestor for a long time before that particular arrest. I learned that MLK was always a hero. Not that he was considered a radical who was vilified and surveilled by the FBI. ⠀

In 2013 I picked up a copy of John Lewis’s “March.” I credit this graphic novel for helping me start my journey to decolonize my own education. I devoured his story within days. After I had to know more about the things I was never taught, a journey I will continue for the rest of my life. John Lewis the education you have given me is immeasurable and you will always be one of my favorite teachers. Thank you for opening my eyes and showing me how to hope in a world that only wishes to tear everyone down. We will continue the work in your honor and for all of those who came before us. Most importantly, I will make sure the students I educate and my son will know the truth about protest movements and they will know the truth of this country so that they will be destined to do better and fight for justice for all. Rest in Power. Your soul lives on.

How to be an Antiracist

What if we measured intelligence by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environments? What if we measured intellect by an individual’s desire to know? What if we realized the best way to ensure an effective educational system is not by standardizing our curricula and tests but by standardizing the opportunities available to all students?”

As a fourth grade teacher I don’t think anything infuriates me more than standardized testing. It is an insidious stain on public education that we should completely get rid of. It’s built on the ideas of white supremacy. I hate them. So Ibram X. Kendi’s chapter titled “Behavior” spoke to me. It was loud and clear. ⠀

This book should be required reading for all Americans. He weaves the story of racist ideas through his own anecdotes. He lays bare the shame of the racist ideas he held in the past, coaxing you to do the same by showing you the history of those ideas and how they developed. He is an amazing teacher. This was inspiring and easily accessible. It made me feel like change is possible and Kendi gives clear guidance on how to be a better activist. I’m only disappointed I didn’t read it sooner. I’m ready to dig into “Stamped,” which I know people love

 

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