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

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’

Democracy Now! Interview on International Women’s Day

After school, my five-year-old daughter Imani and I went to Washington Square Park for a rally and march in┬áhonor of girls and women. Imani’s first interview was with The When Project. It went something like this: Q: Would you like to be president someday? A: Yes. Q: What will you do when you are president? A: I will share my money with poor people.   … Continue reading Democracy Now! Interview on International Women’s Day

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

I Am an American

I am an American. Because when the principal told me to take off my earrings and stop using the yellow ruled paper, I told her I wouldn’t. Because I was free. I told her what difference did it make the color of the paper on which I was writing compositions and formulas that were earning me excellent marks. I liked the yellow paper, and the … Continue reading I Am an American

To My Sisters of Color

My skin color speaks of a history of unforgivable wrongs, of oppression injected into the bone marrow of people who look like you, like my husband and children. My skin color tells stories of slave owners, juries and judges who send young boys to prison for life, police officers who shoot, beat, and choke innocent men, women, and children to death, those who seek to … Continue reading To My Sisters of Color

A Letter to Students

Dear students, Welcome to a new semester. I am excited to see you again, and to meet those of you whom I only know from hallways, trips, and staff meeting conversations. However our journey unfolds, I know that we will grow, make memories, struggle, overcome challenges, and learn together. Currently in my tenth year in the classroom, I have somewhat of an identity as a … Continue reading A Letter to Students