As a child, I gobbled up words. I devoured books. Characters became my friends, stories became my worlds. Yet, it wasn’t until high school when I read Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, that a book reflected my world. It was the first time I saw myself, my family, my experiences reflected on the printed page. Until then, it never occurred to me that this was possible. I didn’t just want to jump into new worlds anymore, I wanted to read about my own.
When I taught English and eventually became the Dean at an urban high school in East Palo Alto, California, I worked hard to create an inclusive curriculum for my students. I found books written by diverse authors about diverse experiences. I taught history from the perspectives of marginalized people. I trained other educators in restorative justice and equity work. For my work, I received the Dorothy Boyajian Honored Teacher Award in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
After working at the high school, I designed restorative educational programs for incarcerated men in an effort to reform the criminal justice system. Then, I began working to democratize innovative professional development for educators at an educational technology company. Every thing I do is an effort to bring equity to inequitable systems. To create change in our world, particularly for youth.
I became a writer after I became a mom. I wanted to ensure my children had mirrors and windows. I wanted to add my words and stories to their world. Writing is an extension of my work in education. It is an extension of my equity work. Writing is an act of freedom and a fight for inclusion, representation, justice, empathy and love.
- I would do anything for a homemade chocolate chip cookie.
- I have absolutely no sense of direction.
- Depending on the season, my clothing of choice are baggy sweatpants, a hoodie and fuzzy socks, or a muumuu.
- I come from a family that talks about poop the way most people talk about the weather. It comes up in just about every conversation and especially during meals.
- I detest feet. Baby feet are an exception.
- My husband and I eat burritos at least once a week.
- I love to dance. I studied traditional West African dance when I lived in Ghana for a year, and was a member of an African drum and dance troupe in college. I’m trying to teach my kids my sweet moves.
- I’m wearing some type of overalls in the majority of my school photos from middle school through senior year. This is because I was on the cutting edge of fashion and very very cool.