A Social Justice Newsletter for Educators
“Most importantly, always remember that Pride isn’t Pride without revolution, radicalness, and intense emotion. Whether you’re celebrating, partying, advocating, or rising up, never stop pushing for queer liberation.” - Annais Delgado Sanchez
Here We Are, Again…
Just when I think I’ll know how to begin each month, some shattering news event seems to rush onto center stage from which we are all still reeling in shock. Last month it was the Supreme Court leak of a draft to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This time we are confronted with yet another horrific mass shooting in the United States involving school children in their classroom which came on the heels of a racist anti-Black shooting in Buffalo, NY only 10 days before.
What can we tell our children about ‘being the change’ when we as adults participating in society have not found sufficient means and will (in the United States, at least) to protect them from preventable harm? Or when that protection presents itself as primarily carceral towards the targets of such initiatives? While the phenomenon of daily mass shootings has a distinctly American profile, the proliferation of violence against children in myriad forms knows no borders. As educators with children in our care, we owe it to them to be honest about our failings as adults in society to meet the challenges that are already shaping their lives in the short and unfortunately, very long term. There are hundreds of takes you could read on gun violence in the US and elsewhere, but if you only had time for one, consider this essay by author, Matt Cheney.
I love composing this monthly missive and it pains me that I can’t provide a more cheerful, promising opening. I mean, it’s nearly or already the end of another school year for many of us. We’re having culminating celebratory events with students and their families, putting the final touches on our few remaining lessons. Soon, the 2021-22 school year will be a wrap. For those of us who have survived it, a meaningful achievement. But again, I cannot write this and fail to acknowledge the tremendous losses that marked this year - the incalculable number student and staff sick days, colleagues leaving the profession for good, the steady leak of emotional reserves managing the disruption of an ongoing pandemic - all of that cost us dearly. Yes, it’s great to have completed a school year, primarily or all in-person, but it should also give us pause to consider what we sacrificed in the process. Particularly if you are feeling wounded and depleted crawling across the finish line of this school year, please know: I see you. We see you.
It’s June, it’s Pride and lots of companies will be bearing the rainbow flag and broadcasting various versions of “love is love.” To get beyond and/or underneath the commercial wash of Pride, I want to offer some listening and thinking opportunities for us to build our awareness and understanding of LBGTQIA lives across multiple contexts and settings.
The Coming Out Monologues present stories of LGBTQ+ international school educators sharing their experiences. Compiled by Kristina Pennell-Goetze and Tricia Friedman, the series is thoughtful, compelling and artful from beginning to end.
Support queer artists, thinkers, neighbors, representatives, authors, relatives, children, colleagues, health care workers, union organizers, baristas, plumbers, students, parents, - people you know and don’t know - support queer folks all year round, June to June to June and June again.
“Celebrate Pride Month with Queer Liberation, Not Rainbow Capitalism” by Annais Delgado Sanchez.
Check out the wide-ranging work of self-taught illustrator and maker, Jess Bird at Bless The Messy. During the month you will likely encounter several of her creations. This one is particular offers art as public service announcement:
The Next Thing
As a way of saying Thank You and also godspeed for the upcoming weeks, I’ve started a “Bending The Arc Summer Playlist”. I’ll keep adding to it as time allows. It will feature short episodes worthy of your time, attention and leisure. Music and interviews, prose and poetry, I hope that it provides a mix of genres and voices that soothe, amuse and/or enthuse you.
May the next several weeks offer you and yours a needed reprieve from the pressures of the world. May you find time to reflect and recuperate; to enjoy good things, big and small.
Be generous and kind to yourself. Also, say gay.