Please describe your current and/or previous roles that relate to your work for justice and equality.
I’m currently in my third year teaching for Chicago Public Schools at Oglesby Elementary School, a K-8 school serving a predominantly Black community on the South Side of the city. Whatever work I’ve done in furtherance of racial justice is rooted in the consistent reflection and relearning about the ways I can better understand my ego and identity, and the relationship between them. During the summer of 2019, I served as a Policy and Advocacy Fellow at the Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ), facilitated by Leadership for Educational Equity. I assisted the city’s first Chief Equity Officer developing the OERJ’s inaugural plan to strengthen and promote equitable outcomes of Chicago’s city services and policies.
What about your work brings you the most joy or gives you the most pride?
The faith in me kept by the young people I teach. They’re so generous with their understanding (and brutal honesty) while I learn how to better serve them.
What is your most meaningful moment or significant accomplishment as it relates to your work for justice and equality?
The little moments are the most meaningful; every time students or families choose to partner with me to solve issues impacting them as individuals or communities. I’m most proud that the hard work I’m doing is reflected in those moments.
What is the greatest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
Acknowledging how little I knew about the inequities impacting Black communities in this country, and the continued commitment to unlearning the narratives of white dominant culture.
How do you empower those around you?
My students empower me. In the process, I see just how exceptional they really are. Then I do my best to help them see it too.
What short phrase would you offer others to inspire them to have hope and/or to take action?
It’s never too late to start being the person you want to be. You’ll feel better if you do.
How has this summer’s civil unrest and calls for equity impacted you?
I feel more urgency now than ever to help my students realize the depth of their potential, and a greater sense of responsibility to honor their identities.
How has your perspective changed since the time you were a Lafayette student?
My perspective more and more resembles the perspective modeled by my Lafayette advisor, Professor Ian Smith: I try to see and expect the most in people, and to lead with understanding.