Weekly Shares 4/2/23 – Making Connections

This was originally posted on my substack. You can subscribe here.

As we hit the end of the first quarter of 2023, I wanted to reflect briefly on my one word for the year, connection. As I outlined back in January my hopes in choosing this word were to focus on the following three areas for connections:

  1. Making connections with others 
  2. Making connections with myself
  3. Making connections in my learning

Making connections with others

As 2023 has rolled on I have felt more disconnected than in recent memory due to the fact that I am not in a school district on a day-to-day basis. In order to fill this void, I have been reaching out to educators I know and scheduling time to talk about some of the work I have been doing during my sabbatical and to continue to discuss my next steps professionally. 

Making connections with myself and my learning

The amount of reading and reflecting I have been able to do has allowed me to gain a great deal of perspective as to where I would like to be and the type of work I would like to be a part of. 

Making connections in my learning

This weekly newsletter also serves accountability check. As I write edition 17 of My Un-Learning Journey, it is nice to be able to look back and see all of the reading, listening, and reflecting I have been able to undertake and compile articles, books, podcasts, and videos that will serve as resources in the future.

Some things I read this week that have me thinking

Sadly, some people chose to utilize the tragic school shooting in Nashville as an opportunity to spread misinformation about the trans community. It has never been more important to check the facts. The following articles/sites delve into this issue:

The data is clear: There is no ‘clear epidemic’ of transgender mass shooters – The Washington Post  – From this article: “The Violence Project counts 188 mass public killings since 1966. So with 0.6 percent of the population, transgender people would expect to be involved in about one shooting. Nashville is the first case of a trans male or trans female perpetrator in the database.”

Nashville shooting exploited by right to escalate anti-trans rhetoric – This article, also from the Washington Post, highlights some of the misleading comments made by some members of the media and some elected officials.

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens – It is sad when the satirical style of The Onion is just true. 

Gun Violence Archive – The Gun Violence archive logs every gun death and it has done so since 2013. Just eye-popping numbers in regard to gun deaths of all kinds.

Here is a link to some articles from All Sides on the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act that was just passed by the House of Representatives.  While I do not think anyone would argue that it is important for parents to have a voice in their children’s education, check out the statements from politicians on both sides of the aisle about what this bill would do if it were passed into law.

How to Be a (Young) Antiracist – This young adult version of Dr. Ibram Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist was co-authored by New York Times Best-Selling author Nic Stone. The book, geared towards middle school-aged students and above would be a great book for a family to read together due to its clear definitions of terms and accessible language. The book chronicles Dr. Kendi’s learning journey from a young man moving forward and is broken into three parts: Inside: Facing Yourself, Outside: Facing the World, and Upside Down: Flipping the World Over. This parallels the same process that anyone looking to be antiracist needs to repeat.  Stone highlights the importance of the “Four C’s of Changemaking: cogency, compassion, creativity, and collaboration.”

Some things I heard/watched this week that have me thinking

The Boston Globe hosted an interview with Nic Stone, co-author of How to Be a (Young) Antiracist a couple of weeks ago that you can see below. The question-and-answer format provides a lot of great tips for individuals interested in being anti-racist. One of my biggest takeaways was Stone’s advice for individuals to “start with respect and lead with questions.”

Into America Podcast – East Palestine disaster puts spotlight on ‘sacrifice zones’ – This episode talked about the well-known environmental issues caused by the toxic chemicals spilled in the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The reason this disaster is so well known may have something to do with the fact that the population of East Palestine is over 96-percent white. Sadly, there are a number of other areas of the country like Institute, West Virginia environmental disasters are an ongoing issue impacting generations. The following is from the episode:

“For residents of so-called “sacrifice zones,” this kind of environmental disaster is everyday life. These communities, which are disproportionately Black, are close to industrial plants that emit carcinogens and other dangerous pollutants.”

You can read more about sacrifice zones here and here 

Leading Equity Podcast: Why Black Music Should Be in Every Classroom – In this episode, Dr. Eakins discusses using music to enhance culturally responsive teaching with Franklin Willis. The show highlights the following: 

  • Teaching Black music to students
  • Strategies for learning about music from students
  • Considering the lyrics and content of hip hop
  • Teaching music in core subjects

Bright Morning Podcast: Responding When Emotionally Activated – In this episode Elana Aguilar talks about the importance of understanding what gets us emotionally activated and how to respond when we find ourselves in these situations. As always, Elana also gives a lot of resources to reinforce the practice necessary to change patterns that may cause or increase harm. 

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