“We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today.” (The Akan principle of Sankofa)
Welcome to my online home. The posts, pictures and links reflect many of the things that are most important to me, the things I think about and feel energized about. As someone who has taught now for fifteen years, my greatest inspiration is often my students, my experiences inside and outside of the classroom where I teach African-American history and learn, reflect and grow. Inspiration also emerges out of conversations with youth exploring their personal histories, and conversations with elders who witnessed or created our history. I invite you to exchange ideas and thoughts with me and I look forward to learning from you and building with you along the way.
Ideas that Guide My Work & Reflections
- Many of us carry the wounds of our ancestors, as well as our own pain, and until we heal and spiritually liberate ourselves, the other aspects of our liberation will never be realized fully. Our histories help us identify those wounds, and instruct us on how to heal or overcome them.
- African-American woman, historian and artist, Nell Painter wrote about the phenomenon of “soul murder” to discuss the unrecognized psychological wounds inflicted upon Africans and their descendants during the slave trade and slavery. We do not yet fully understand the depths of this psychic/ spiritual damage to our selves and our communities.
- The literature on Ethnic studies programs and individual ethnic histories demonstrate the ways that individuals and communities are transformed by learning about their own cultures and the contributions of their own. For instance, African-American students with knowledge of their own history and increased “racial pride” perform better academically and withstand the demoralization caused by institutional discrimination.
- We are not in a “post-racial” universe, however discourse on race and racism must change in order to address the psychosocial and spiritual; for me, this is what the Akan’s “sankofa” and Cabral’s urging to “return to the source” suggest—pathways to true personal and collective liberation.
- For young and old, those pathways are timeless and necessary for living life to its full potential.
Photo courtesy of a family member. That’s me (on the left) with cousin/teacher, Nadine Fernandes. My family is my foundation, and it is to them that I dedicate everything I do.