On the Eve of My Eleventh Year of Teaching, A To Do List

Resist: By teaching much more than the White narrative of American and global history Literature Geography Economics Struggles for liberty and justice By acknowledging your White privilege in the Lessons you write, and Relationships you build Always aware of How this privilege is shaping you And that you can choose How to use it By holding fast to the Belief that every child can learn … Continue reading On the Eve of My Eleventh Year of Teaching, A To Do List

Things I’ve Learned Since the 2016 Presidential Election

It takes women to bring about change. I was thinking of a couple, like Bree Newsome, Linda Sarsour, Maxine Waters, Nelba Márquez-Greene, Nikkita Oliver, Elizabeth Warren, Alicia Garza, Heather Heyer. But then I thought, if I list them all, I’ll run out of space for the other lessons I want to mention. Häagen-Dazs Belgian chocolate ice cream really helps get through the evening news. I … Continue reading Things I’ve Learned Since the 2016 Presidential Election

Her Life and Legacy

Another grieving mother faces America She tells us about her child’s life and legacy My child, she says Over and over again My child She paid attention, the mother tells us She made a lot of us pay attention She and I would talk And I would listen She would talk The girl loved to talk She smiles Remembering late night kitchen conversations Allowing us … Continue reading Her Life and Legacy

What Will This Time Be Called?

What will they call this time, long after America has turned this page?   What will our children’s children learn of this chapter we are living today?   What will be written of this time?   Will textbooks bearing swastikas tell stories of Neo Nazis sweeping though America, eroding everything that had been built through underground railroads, marches, bombings, oppression, blood, and sweat–to hail the … Continue reading What Will This Time Be Called?


This isn’t us, we hashtag This isn’t who we are, we blog We are in shock Claiming to be Taken aback by a President who espouses America’s most ancient and Enduring hatred When has this not been us This bigotry This violence We see on screens Small enough to Carry in our pockets, so Now simply inescapable? Live footage of Torch bearing white supremacists Who … Continue reading #ThisIsUs

Some Thoughts on White America

A quarter of a century ago, having moved to New York at the age of sixteen from Armenia, I quickly discovered the role and nature of whiteness in America, and began grappling with the implications of my own belonging to a race guilty of centuries of supremacist practices, to which I had been assigned by way of a box to be checked on a form … Continue reading Some Thoughts on White America

He Ain’t Done Nothin’

A boy was shot Lay in a pool of blood Outside a grocery store On a New York City corner While the milk he had bought Flowed reluctantly into its own puddle And sobs and sirens blasted Piercing Ear drums Windows The dark night Every one of the boy’s dreams His mother’s heart The heart of every woman mothering a black son Is my child … Continue reading He Ain’t Done Nothin’

Mommy, Is Hate a Bad Word?

I became a mother accidentally. I had decided at some point in my turbulent twenties that I would not birth children, for fear that they would be too much like me. Nor had I ever planned to adopt. Children would be incompatible with the life of travel and abandon which I had dreamed up for myself for as long as I could remember, and which … Continue reading Mommy, Is Hate a Bad Word?

DeVostation Blues

As I bid goodbye to the security guards and make my way through the crowd of students who always linger for a few minutes after school, smoking cigarettes and teasing each other, I feel alone and broken, enraged by the confirmation of an unqualified, miseducated billionaire to lead the department for which I work and on whose decisions depend the lives of millions of America’s … Continue reading DeVostation Blues