Our Defining US network of educators are providing much needed clarity for unity, healing, and hope in our nation. These experts, a part of America’s classroom, an inclusive community classroom without walls, are leading the way for all of us to listen, learn, and act. We proudly share the most recent work and accomplishments of these important voices that are educating our hearts and our minds for a better tomorrow.
We always knew Paul Forbes was an energetic and dedicated educator, having led equity work in NYC Schools for 23 years and championing the work of this initiative for many years as well. But his latest work, as founder of the professional development organization, Leading with Hearts and Minds, speaks to his commitment to ensuring everyone has the tools to do the “work behind the work”. As we write this, Paul is on the ground throughout the United States, working with districts and educators on the important work of understanding our Implicit Biases that impact so much in the lives of students. Though Paul recognizes we each may never fully arrive to knowing our full selves and eradicating biases we carry (and it’s not about blame!), we must always strive to “being reflective and introspective” in order to disrupt inequities. Please visit his website to learn more.
We were excited to read the news that the work of The NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), was part of a $1.58M funding expansion to boost their Mentors Matter efforts for FY22. Jordan Stockdale, Executive Directive of YMI, understands the need for investment in our young people and spoke of his support of this infusion of support for such initiatives as evidence-based reading professional development for NYC Men Teach CUNY, expansion of tutoring efforts, expansion of My Sister’s Keeper, community-based summer programming, career exploration, and of course, targeted mentoring such as the CUNY Black Male Initiative (BMI) Ambassador program. “As a key program of YMI, Mentors Matter recognizes that our communities have the human resources and talent to raise a generation of future leaders.” We look forward to seeing all the good that will come from this investment into NYC’s youth, especially for our Black and brown communities.
Dr. David Kirkland
Dr. Kirkland knows first-hand the ability of an educator to lift a student from hopelessness to hope. His is a powerful story waiting to be more broadly told. He brings those experiences, including his own years as a middle and high school teacher, as well as vast research to the work he does with adults to better understand, reflect, and champion equity related to race, identity, and culture. His recent opinion piece in Education Week, I Had Hope for Racial Justice. Now, I see a Standstill resonates at a time when there is misinformation, misguidance, and much debate about what it means (or should mean) to talk about race and racism in our schools. Thank you, Dr. Kirkland for lending your voice to this important conversation.
Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Dr. Sealey-Ruiz is a prolific writer with many gifts to share both inside and outside of the classes she leads at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Her latest anthology of poetry, The Peace Chronicles, is now available and as she states on her website, transitions her from Love from the Vortex to more of a place of “equanimity”. If you have had the privilege of hearing Dr. Sealey-Ruiz speak, you understand love is at the center of who she is. “Love is the answer. And it’s as simple as it is hard”. We invite you to visit Dr. Sealey-Ruiz’s website and find out more about the latest work from one of our network experts.