I believe we’re in the midst of a turning point in this country.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot that hasn’t changed. The fact is, black and brown people are still confronted with racism every single day. We see it in our schools through educational inequity, in our streets with police brutality, in our everyday lives with stereotypes and judgment. The list goes on.
But something is different. I think now more than ever, people feel liberated to make noise. Yes, we’re tired and we’re hurting. At the same time, we’re empowered to speak up, call out injustice, and demand a better future for ourselves and for the next generations.
We all have a role to play in this work. My role is being an educator and example for the black and brown students at my school in New Jersey.
I’m from Philly, which is not too far from where I work now in Camden. When I was a kid in Philly schools, there weren’t people that looked like me in the position I’m in. Now, being older and working close to where I grew up, I want my kids to see someone that looks like them in a position of power.
This has been my goal since I started at KIPP. While I didn’t know exactly what my path would be, I did know I needed a seat at the table to be a part of the conversations people were having about our black and brown kids.
As a dean of students, my job is to always be thinking about how to improve my students’ safety and well-being. But beyond that, I feel it’s my responsibility to teach my kids that people like us can do good for themselves and for the community they serve. It’s important that they see someone like me passionately advocating for their education inside the school and unapologetically advocating for their lives and their futures outside school walls.
My students are my driving force in this work, and I hope for them, I’m a daily reminder of what it looks like to use your voice and create change any way you know how.