Sometimes the struggle finds us and we have a decision to make. Meet Jesyca Mathews, Language Arts teacher out of Flint, Michigan, who has not only engaged in the fight for clean water, a basic human need, but has also helped her students to raise their voices and power to fight. Though things have improved somewhat, the water crisis in Flint is far from resolved. After 1,912 days without clean water (counting–at the time of this post), the people of Flint are still subjected to unclean tap water, and still need bottled water and filters for basic needs. This energetic, fun, and fierce conversation is just what is possible when we listen to students and help them access tools they need to transform their lives and communities. We cannot let them feel the way her students felt when she began this adventure: “They forgot about us.” Never again. Listen today, and hang to the end for ways to support the people in Flint.
When the system fails to meet the needs of our young people, we have a choice to make. But sometimes their needs are so invisible to people in power that we need to go it alone. Meet the courageous Freedom Educators of the MAPSO Freedom School, in the joint South Orange-Maplewood School District, serving two municipalities in Essex County, New Jersey. In the tradition of the Freedom Schools during the struggle against Segregation, these fearless teachers established a program designed to support students working their way through modern-day struggles for educational and social justice. They were alone at first, but when the MapSO district learned how effective the Freedom School’s work was, they accepted them.
The only guests on this mixtape that Kevin climbed over tables and chairs before the keynote to recruit.
A very special guest, on the heels of a rousing and inspirational performance at the end of the NEA Conference on Racial and Social Justice, Recording artist and advocateTaina Asili has been refining her music and her community activism for decades. The child of artist-educator-activists, she embodies the life well-lived: advocacy for your community, solidarity with communities in struggle, crisis, or oppression, using your gifts to do so. Gerardo has been listening to her music for years, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, and this conversation is a seamless and exciting view into the life of an advocate, activist, educator, revolutionary.
The boyz are back, can you believe it? Neither can they. The summer is over, and the new school year has hit us like a freight train! But through the mayhem of understanding the school focus, making sense of a post- (and maybe pre-) strike world, and a teaching world that calls upon us to do even more in the name of justice, we can say emphatically that WE OUT HERE. We chop it up about out focus, hopes, and dreams for the new school year, and do our best to make you feel excited. Subscribe, download, and listen NOW! Or you’ll get a detention. For real. No Restorative Practices here…
It’s Back to School night for the fellas, and before we meet parents and members of our larger community, we reflect on the first month of the 2019-2020 school year. What are we discovering? What are we as a community not yet good at? Also, get a sneak preview of the stuff we’re gettin into, including a presentation at the Colorado Thespian Educators conference, as well as our upcoming hosting of the amazing Taina Asili. Plus contribute to an ongoing discussion by following the hashtag #ImDiscoveringThat. Subscribe and listen today!
IT IS OUR 50TH EPISODE, Y’ALL. FITTY! The boyz are back, checking in after a hard few weeks. We discuss the new bad weather policy in the district, the impending school ratings, and adopting a mindset of solidarity with our students as we navigate accountability measures within a political climate that has no doubt elevaned stress, anxiety, and trauma for our most vulnerable families and communities. Maybe we’re a little short on substance today, but maybe enthusiasm and positivity is what we need right now.
The block is hot! In difficult times, when performance ratings, electoral tension locally and globally, and a high level of professional and institutional anxiety threaten our very spiritual happiness, it is critical that we circle back to why we started. Young Kev and Young Gera are back, full of code-switching idealistic fervor, to remind the old fellas why they continue to do this work. Who are we? Who are we becoming? And how do we weather the storm and remain standing. The block is hot, lots of danger and fear, but we are out here to hold it down.
Kevin and Gerardo are LIVE at the Teachers of Color and Allies summit at the University of Colorado! Following the incredible act of Dr. Eve Ewing, author of Ghosts in the Schoolyard, the fellas unpack #teacherlife in November. With an energetic audience and teachers of many backgrounds and experience levels, we try to make sense of our lives in trying times. Be strong, check us out!