Women Rising

When women unite, we part seas and move mountains. When women stand together, even the wealthiest of men in the world can’t afford to build a mightier wall. When women’s voices rise in a collective roar, the only way to survive our fierceness is to agree to listen. Women have always come together in the face of destruction. But the tsunamis, earthquakes, and tyrants that … Continue reading Women Rising

The People’s Inaugural Address

My friend and I have now given up on the ridiculous idea that we might find each other in a crowd of twenty-five thousand. I am only a few blocks away from the stage from which Michael Moore, Rosie Perez, Mayor De Blasio, Robert De Niro, Reverend Al Sharpton, Natalie Merchant, Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin, Melissa Mark-Veverito, Sally Field, Cynthia Nixon, and others are addressing … Continue reading The People’s Inaugural Address

What’s the Point?

He says he’s not gonna do it. He says he doesn’t feel like it. Excuse me? 3. He says he’s missed too many classes without an excuse, and he’s not getting credit for the class anyway. So what’s the point of writing this essay? Excuse me? 2. He says he doesn’t want to try and get it done because it’s too late. He doesn’t wanna … Continue reading What’s the Point?

Roads Untraveled Can’t Be Taught

The boy says her train can’t get through, and my five-year-old daughter’s immediate and emphatic response is: “You just don’t want black people’s trains to pass.” It turns out the boy had only meant to say he wasn’t ready yet; he had needed more time to lay the tracks. Later, the teacher asks my husband whether our daughter is happy at the school, where she … Continue reading Roads Untraveled Can’t Be Taught

All the Children of the World

Their brush strokes are careful and measured, especially when they are using the thinnest brushes to gently dip into the black paint on the palette of one of the older girls, the only child at the table to have made black one of her three choices of color. She doesn’t mind that everyone is using her black. Although she nods each time a hand reaches … Continue reading All the Children of the World

Why We Celebrate Kwanzaa

Since we decided to bring Kwanzaa to our family and make it the centerpiece of our winter holiday festivities four years ago, I have been questioned, teased, and even mocked for celebrating a holiday that has nothing to do with me, and involves seven days of intense preparation, execution, and reflection. Why bother? “It’s not even a real holiday,” a student once rolled her eyes. “Some … Continue reading Why We Celebrate Kwanzaa

An American Oath

We, the undersigned, accept: That our country has never not been defined by hate, division, oppression, and greed. That, here in America, individual feats over injustice are hailed as progress, although all such feats combined together don’t make up so much as a full step toward sustainable collective progress. That we cannot speak of progress until we acknowledge and embrace what America has been historically, … Continue reading An American Oath

On Trump and the Universe

My five-year-old daughter just sat down next to me, put her head on my shoulder, and said, “I don’t believe in the Universe anymore because of Trump. He’s gonna take down the government. And there’s a war in Washington.” She paused, then said, “But the Universe is bigger than Trump. Trump is just a tiny rat.” As my students like to say, “Facts.” Continue reading On Trump and the Universe

On Safety Pins and Safety Nets

As of two weeks since the presidential election, hate crimes have soared across the country, as expected, particularly in red states, although incidents have also been reported in many racially diverse, traditionally Democratic communities. Children have been criminally bullied in the sanctity of their classrooms. Doctors have been assaulted by patients demanding to be treated by whites only. But the pain hasn’t come only from … Continue reading On Safety Pins and Safety Nets