Viviana Cordero Garcia, IRT ’15 on Becoming a Social Justice Educator

Life in Color

I see most spaces I walk into in color first. I walk into classrooms, the supermarket, doctor offices and check for representation. I often count the number of Black and Brown folk in the room with me. I examine spaces thoroughly. I ask myself: What are the norms in this space? Have I dressed appropriately? Can I speak Spanish out loud? Do I have to enunciate? Will I have to use my “White English”?

These are some of the questions I was able to unpack and process throughout my master’s program at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). The Higher Education, Student Affairs and International Education Policy (HESI) program not only challenged me to be more critical of our education systems, but also provided the foundation for my diversity, equity, and inclusion practice. At UMD and through my work at Partners in Print and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus, I found the language, read scholars of color, and embraced my social justice educator identity. With the help of my advisor, professors, colleagues-turned-friends, sister scholars, and my Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) network, I earned a degree that otherwise would not have been possible for me.

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Alumni Accolades – June 2019

-2002 Cohort-

Congratulations to Women’s Studies Professor LaKisha Simmons, IRT ’02 who is the recipient of this year’s Black Celebratory Cornerstone Award! Selected annually by graduating students, the award recognizes faculty or staff who enhance the academic and social progress of African American students at the University of Michigan.

-2017 Cohort-

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, IRT ’17 was featured in a spring Ms. Magazine article written by Chivas Sandage, “Ms. Muse: What Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s Womanist Poems Tell Us About Love, Language and Race in America.” Mariahadessa is currently a PhD student at Brown University studying theatre and performance studies.

Tashal Brown, IRT ’14  and Eliana Castro, IRT ’15 contributed to the article, The Impossibility of Being “Perfect and White”: Black Girls’ Racialized and Gendered Schooling Experiences, first published in the American Educational Research Journal, May 2019. Read more on Eliana Castro by viewing her guest post.

 

 

Sara Mokuria, IRT ’05 was a guest presenter at Next City for an event in their online seminar series this past May. Sara Mokuria, is co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality and a Next City Vanguard and spoke about creating a world without police brutality.
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