reminding myself that all lives matter

I am at UCEA in Detroit ... and I'm getting a wonderful reminder that: 


Kudos to the thoughts of outgoing UCEA president Mónica Byrne-Jiménez. Her analogy of the lotus which blooms beautifully but is only possible because of the mud was compelling. Our work will not always be clean, but it is the hard work in the mud amongst leaders that makes the beautiful possible for kids.

I love UCEA in particular and working with my academic colleagues in general because I get to be reminded and get to recommit to our communities ... everyone in our communities. While working at STEAM and at UK, I get to work closely with schools daily to recode learning systems to privilege all learners. But, fighting for social justice is not the same as understanding the lives, hopes, fears, and passions of my neighbors who are not white midwesterners like myself. It is a superb reminder that while I love the fight and want to take action everyday to improve learning systems ... there is massive value in just listening and learning. Perhaps now more than ever. The expensive education and entry credentials that has put me in a position to recode systems is not an opportunity available to many of my fellow Americans ... but their lives matter, and their ideas matter, just as much or more than mine. 

So, it is a good reminder to all of us, perhaps, to be intentional about listening. To actively seek out situations that make us a bit uncomfortable, whatever your background, in connecting with the lives that matter. We can't let our own fear keep us from the conversations that really matter. 

A good place to start ... is in the tweets emerging from the conference on the hashtag #UCEA16 ... and connect with these folks. Start a dialog. These are all passionate people about making lives better for all of us and they really want to connect with you also.