The conversation had by Dr. Carla Shedd and Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, facilitated by Dr. Cathy Davidson was one that was very heartening, especially during this current political and social climate.
During a time where Covid-19 is running rampant through our most vulnerable communities, where lynchings are on the rise around the country, in the midst of a rather demoralizing presidential election, when we’ve watched their justice system tell us that our lives still do not matter; it has been easy for myself and many others to mute the outside world in fear of feeling desensitized, defeated, and hopeless.
The last few months in particular have been very demanding, both mentally and emotionally. My attempts at keeping my hopes up have been very difficult, however, I can say with certainty that after viewing Change Series: Making Education More Equitable I was left feeling empowered. Not in a way that could ever erase the painful feelings of helplessness caused by the consistent injustice around us, but in a way that instead better prepared me for the challenges that lay ahead.
For starters, to hear such an insightful conversation surrounding racial inequities, both through a social and institutional lens, was extremely vital, especially when this conversation is had by two highly educated Black women. As a Black man, listening to a conversation surrounding racial inequities could be very risky, but when led by Black women, who have historially sat at the intersection between race, sex, and class I felt, safe.
That’s a pretty big deal.
Safety is not something that I, or people who have similar experiences to me, may feel very often. We do not feel safe within our communities, within our schools, and definitely when outside of our communities (for many different reasons); making safety quite the rarest of commodities. But when given the opportunity to hear conversations that need to be had, led by the voices that are often the most silenced, I felt most comfortable.
Dr. Shedd and Dr. Cottom kept it real, and for that I am truly thankful. I learned about the structural and political barriers that I will face upon continuing my education at the graduate level; and what I should expect both of myself and of the institution that I would be entering. Conversations like these are essential, because they prepare the marginalized for the challenges that await them, while simultaneously shining a light on the existing inequities and challenging the institutions to do what is right.