- ursula k. leguin "The Left Hand of Darkness"
In these days heading into my second consecutive year teaching the same small group of grade 3/4 students, it has felt extra-important to me to try to create opportunities in which they will be able to learn from a whole lot of folks other than myself.
For one thing, I feel that although a classroom teacher can be a really important, consistent and reliable presence in a kid's life, these particular students are also at an age where they are becoming more and more aware of their own needs, abilities, identities and sense of self in relation to others. I can teach them a lot of things and I can BE a lot of things for them, but I can't be a genuine role model or mentor for them in each and every aspect that they crave and need because with everything that we share, there is still so much that I can't reflect back to them.
I am a trans-identifying, genderqueer person who deals with chronic pain, has navigated the mental health system, has experienced emotional and physical violence in relationships, and has lived below the poverty line doing arts-based activism and community-building work. I have not however had to deal with a lifetime of direct and institutionalized racism, family histories of partition, immigration, war, or the many violent effects of colonialism, government-run child protective services, accessibility issues on a regular basis, or countless other things that our society uses as justification to marginalize people and their experiences.
Kids deserve to see all parts of themselves... ALL of the stars and the darknesses in between them... reflected around them as present and as "normal" and as bright. They deserve to be surrounded by safe and caring adults who can love them and teach them about all of their histories and all of their options for the future. How can we possibly expect ANYone to navigate the process of growing up with faith in the power of loving and BEing loved intact without also expecting and demanding all of this?..
It is my hope that this project will become a positive example of what can happen when we who are in a position of greater power consciously decide to make those demands heard through our actions.
ALL THE STARS is the beginning of such an action, but it is only the beginning. If you support this initiative, please do what you are able to help support its continuation; whether that be financially, though your time and talents, and/or through spreading the word to family and friends who you think would be able and willing to help.