2017 has been a tough year. You know, you’ve been here too. You’ve shared posts that eloquently described your side of an issue, retweeted opinions that fearlessly reflect your own, and and probably have liked a Facebook profile pic frame that summarized your stance on ____________. I did these things every day, too. I got mad, and sad, and pushed away, and finally I just got tired. Every time I logged into a social media my stomach twisted and turned in fear that I would discover a loved one’s opposite opinion on issues I took to heart. In June, took an American sabbatical with my husband, and we buried our angry twitter feeds under mountains of tapas, bottles of wine, and long Enrique Iglesias playlists. Then September rolled around and I slowly, very grudgingly, knew it was time to return to the (social media) “real world.” I exerted my privilege of withdrawing from The Conversation, and now it was time to be brave again.
The racism and prejudice I personally encountered over the year has been heavy in my heart for months. The images of riots, marches, protests, and other related events have been in the forefront of my mind every day I have set foot into my classroom. The journey towards Deep Equity my district embarked on left me anxious, nervous, and to be honest, made me retreat. I am ashamed to say that I have been so overwhelmed by what our country has been doing to each other— by the comments I didn’t know how to handle over the year, by the varying attitudes my two families have expressed (my side and my husband’s), by the responsibility we now have to speak out on issues of race— I let my privilege shine strong and brazenly. I couldn’t wait to disconnect and get the hell out of here. Which is exactly what I did. But as I returned to Twitter, to my classroom Instagram feed, to blogging life, I realized how hungry I had been to jump back into The Conversation. I’ve been looking for answers, my friends. Answers on how to tackle racism head on. Answers on how to be fierce but stay cool. Answers on how to educate and inspire those who do not want to be brought along on the Deep Equity ride.
This week, I was lucky enough to sit with some ordinary people trying to do this extraordinary work; people who are also in search of answers: The Educators of Color Leadership Community. We were told to go around the circle and introduce ourselves, and 3 hours later, we were just finishing up. I am proud to say that “introduce yourself” to teachers of color is not unemotional, structured, or general. In this group, we are natural storytellers. We are ready to be heard. We are full of hurts, but also full of strength. We are learning and willing to take things to the next level in our platforms as educators of ALL students. We are ready for the real talk, and we are ready to “do the work,” as they say.
We don’t have time to hit pause on The Conversation anymore. Things are happening and kids are watching. I may have run from the work before, but I know building my community within the work of equity will make me stronger and will keep me from running again. I can’t wait for this next chapter.
The Educators of Color Leadership Community (ECLC) is a program designed to support and retain our teachers of color through community building, culturally responsive mentoring and coaching, and professional development. If you are looking for ways to build your community on the path towards equity, you may want to consider joining our group!
Orientation is October 19th.
For more information, go to http://equity-in-education/educators-color-leadership-community/
My dog also has an Instagram, and it's better than anyone's. @mrdarcy_theiggy
Latest posts by Jill Escalera (see all)
- Learning While Brown: Educators of Color Leadership - October 2, 2017
- Making Every Effort - September 3, 2017
- Kindergartners CAN! - June 5, 2017