Sunday, December 23

Sunday Shine* { Activist Resolutions }

2008 and I have plans to make and promises to keep, but I plan on spending most of the year maintaining good habits. In the spirit of Latoya's Activist Resolutions at Racialicious, here are mine:

for myself
~ I will eat healthy, (organic, if I can afford it) locally-grown produce and will no longer give major grocery store & fast food chains my money (even if I forgot to pack my lunch for work or if I need to grab a few last minute items on the way home). This means I'll need to spend more time planning what I'm going to be eating, and when & where I'll be eating it.

~ I will maintain less cluttered life (and, therefore, a less cluttered mind). I am using the first few days of my week off to purge my apartment of all kinds of clutter. It's just me and Jamesy the fish here, so the space should really be more freed up than it has been. After I've dropped everything - paperwork I no longer need, old magazines, clothing and linens I no longer use - into the donation & recycling bins, I'm going to stay very mindful of what I bring home with me (ie. leave work at work).

~ I'll create my own art. I haven't forgotten how good it feels to walk around capturing beautifully ordinary people and things with my camera. So, I'm going to buy myself some film and get to it. It's a resolution I've made every single year, but it finally seems necessary. I should probably also write some prose and read it to an audience, somewhere, just to put myself out there again.

for my students & classroom

~ I will be the gentler, more patient, kinder, sweeter, quieter, less reactionary teacher that I once was. I'm in the process of forgiving myself for some of the things I've said to my students, who are more forgiving than you can imagine. I'm trying to right my wrongs with them. I'm also going to keep nurturing the good relationships I have with students. It amazes me that students (some that I have never taught) seek me out for advice and company.

~ I will introduce my students to healthier food options. I've had a lot of success with getting them to bring apples, grapes and water to class (as a substitute for soda, candy and chips). Next year, I want them to try many more tropical fruits, vegan alternatives, and some African and Asian dishes.

~ I will work with my students on a photo essay project. I can't afford to do it with all of my classes, but I can do it with a small group of students on Fridays during club time. I'm putting my Teacher's Choice check towards a copy of The Sweet Flypaper of Life and 10 one-time use digital cameras. My own experience with photography (as well as journaling) as a story-telling tool served me very well when I was younger and too shy and insecure to speak.

~ I will find a job at a different school. The grass is never greener in the NYC Dept of Education, but I believe most of us teachers can find a school where we can be continually challenged, supported and inspired by the students, each other and the administration. The middle school I currently work for is not that place for me. It is not helping me grow as an educator. I'm growing as a disciplinarian and a test-prep facilitator and being used to get our principal a bonus... not really what I'm here for. I want to work with older kids (maybe at a "last-chance" school?), have more autonomy in developing a curriculum, and I think I want to step away from special education for a while.

for the larger community...

~ I will join and volunteer in the community garden on Dean Street.

~ I will support small businesses that have invested money or services into the community. I've started talking to more new small business owners, asking them lots of questions about how the business is doing, what kind of patrons they're seeking, what kind of investments they're making in the neighborhood. I find most are really happy to answer.

~ I will decorate the bulletin boards in my building with colorful collages of the neighbors/neighborhood, cultural icons and flyers for ongoings in our neighborhood. For the sixteen months I have lived here, nothing has been posted on that board.

I just want to do my part to make Franklin Ave, MacDonough Street and all the spaces and places in between safer, cleaner, wealthier, more vibrant and more loving.


Latoya Peterson said...


Anonymous said...

thank you for the inspiration/good example. we should all be so self-reflective. good luck in reaching your goals in '08.

kameelah said...

beautiful goals. i particularly like the one about planning and eating b/c i know ive made a few too many convenient stores and fast food places wealthy from my poor eating choices and lack of planning. good luck in 2008! and thanks for stopping by my blog :)

ahnka said...

Thank you all.