Parallel Lines

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I am awash in feelings right now. It’s after midnight and I can’t imagine what advantages sleep will bring. My Twitter feed is overflowing with the unfolding tragedy of the new US Presidency. Today it is the Muslim Ban executive order in effect, which involves the detainment, questioning, and/or potential turning away of citizens from 7 Muslim-majority states. We don’t know which further affront to human rights and democratic process will follow. But by now, many of us are confident that more anti-human measures are in store.

And it’s Saturday, a Saturday on which I was attending and presenting at a conference for middle level educators. I listened with interest to engaging speakers, got into conversations with old friends while welcoming new contacts, and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to create some workshop magic for a group of educators. There was great food, a warm hospitality and plenty of laughter.

Saturday – and I led a session on using social media and blogging for professional growth. I had three folks from my school attend including two administrators. There was a lot to celebrate. I felt happy being among educators from schools all across Europe. Educators are my people.

Still, the reports keep rolling in. Protests at major US airports are growing. The New York City Taxi Workers have called for a 1 hr strike on transportation to and from JFK airport. Families have been separated. Fear levels both within the US and without is rising, not only about the implications of this order but everything that could possibly follow. Unchecked.

I went out to the evening celebration and had fun chatting with new acquaintances and eventually shaking a leg on the dancefloor. The conference attendees were a strikingly white crowd, mainly of American and British descent with a few other nationalities sprinkled in. I am used to this – being the only black person in the room. This is my every day norm, and a result of multiple life choices. We were celebrating the end of a successful conference and the dancing felt good. “Joy is also a form of resistance.” I read this week in my Twitter feed.

I checked my phone on the way home, catching up on developments as the tram rumbled through town. It’s Sunday here now and the bad news will not let up. Whatever individual victories I can call my own today or yesterday or even tomorrow are dwarfed by the scale of human suffering that is systematically being exacerbated by policies put in place by a few powerful white American males in suits.

We are always living our lives in context. And often – perhaps more often that we recognize- contexts is the correct phrasing, covering foreground and background, subtle and overt, praise-worthy and fear-inducing. Today I was reminded of how these contexts can ride in parallel, cross paths or even collide all within the space of me being me.

Saturday to Sunday.

image via Pixabay.com

2 thoughts on “Parallel Lines

  1. I can always count on your writing for the context I need. You are right, educators are my people, too.

    Between writing reports (which is tiring) and reading my kids work (which makes me smile with pride), I watched a session about assessing PBL at EduCon live on periscope, then flipped to Twitter to see live the suffering and protests. I have to think that even if some of these tracks remain parallel (and perhaps should?), I can at least bring some threads together in my class.

    • Thanks for responding, Benjamin. I think for our own sanity and also for the benefit of our students we need to look for opportunities to integrate topics and themes as they relate to what we see before us. At the conference I was attending, one speaker implored us to design curriculum and our whole school programming to address what is on our students’ minds in meaningful and deep ways.
      This morning I’m thinking especially about coping with all that is ‘on our minds’ at any given time. The political moment we are in demands a different kind of attention and alertness that will influence our teaching whether we acknowledge it or not. Accommodating parallel and at times colliding streams of thought is our ongoing challenge now becoming more complex and fraught.
      Dialogue and writing and more dialogue will help us through.

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