Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Contextual Mapping

In my words, context mapping is an organization of the different areas in one's life, and the people/ roles associated with each defined area.

Mitch and Julian Created a context map of Julian's life. Trough their conversations Julian was able to understand each one individually and how they interact with each other , and how those interactions whether isolated or combined are okay.

My Narrative

After you list the ten people, pick one of them (caring, indifferent or antagonistic) and write about how s/he has helped you write your story.

Mrs. Hicks (5th grade resource teacher) 
Mrs. Raegan (8th grade science teacher)
Dr. Mama
Marisol (Lieani’s Grandmother)
Lieani (Daughter)
Bogad  (College advisor)
Ms. A  (high school English Teacher)
Sarah Torrey

In the 5th grade it was apart of our morning routine to write in our journals for 20 minutes a day. This was the first time I had been exposed to creative writing and told that what I had to say mattered. There was a boy in my class room from Nigeria who had a resource teacher assigned to him that would be in the classroom with him at all times. Although I do not remember how, I was the student in the classroom assigned to helping Mrs. Hicks with the boy.  Mrs. Hicks would give instructions, and I would model how to solve a math problem or how to construct a sentence with all the proper elements. Although Mrs. Hicks was in the classroom specifically to help him, she would help Mr. Decamp read and grade our journals as well.
When working outside of the classroom Mrs. Hicks would ask me questions about my writing and the things I write about. Soon those conversations became more about the way I was dealing with my world outside of the classroom and less about the academic aspect.
This was the first time someone took the time to care about my struggles and me. I felt that even as a fifth grader my world was too complicated or complex for my peers to understand or relate to me, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Mrs. Hicks helped me to understand that the things happening to me weren’t my fault and although I was just a fifth grader, there were things I could do about it. 

Mrs. Hick’s interest in my writing and personal life was the start of my self-advocacy. That is when I began to use my voice and understand its power. It was also the first time my opinion, thoughts, and feeling were validated. Mrs. Hicks not only helped me write my narrative in a literal sense, but also for the rest of my life. She provoked a loud voice in me that is still heard today.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Color Brave!

Have you ever felt invisible?
I don’t think there has ever been a time where I felt invisible in a group setting. If anything, I have always felt that I painfully stand out. I remember my second semester at RIC we watched a film and one of the questions was “ What did you think about the culture in the film?” I answered the question honestly, without hesitation. By the time I was done answering the question, the room was in an up roar, and everyone in the class had their hand up eager to disagree. I immediately realized two things, I was the only “Spanish” girl in the class, and I had just made all the “ White” people mad.    

Do Hobson or Nayyrah Waheed help you think about visibility in any new ways?  Be specific in naming and explaining their arguments, and then relate their words to your own life history.  
Due to my very many years at RIC, I have been able to whiteness a shift in the way conversations around race, and diversity have changed. I am extremely grateful for professors on campus who are color brave and are willing to host discussions around race and personal experience associated with race in their classrooms. Hobson and Waheed didn’t help me think of visibility in a new way, but Hobson did a great job in explaining why it is important to be proactive, and the long-term consequences of our actions. Referring to my example above, just as the students in the classroom didn’t understand my point of view based on my culture and personal experiences, color blindness tolerates that separation. Color blindness allows people to see you as human but does not accept your experiences as real, relevant, or of value.

How might a youth space like YIA — where youth “share their stories, practice leadership and create change in their communities” — be an antidote to invisibility?
A youth setting like YIA is an antidote to invisibility in many ways. Hobson mentions talking issues around race head on, YIA does that through hosting conversations around difficult topics, putting youth in the forefront to advocate for themselves and what they believe, and by simply raising awareness amongst their peers and in the community. YIA creates individual change agents.