Today is the last class that I am teaching at the California State University, San Bernadino School of Social Work. I dedicate this blog to my 28 amazing students who have been personally and professionally affected by the outcome of the 2016 election. They are fierce and they are woke and they are engaging in activism like I have never seen in a group of social workers.
This is what I have learned from the CSUSB MSW Class of 2018:
I have learned that I don’t know everything there is to know about poverty. We all come from somewhere and many of us are still one moment away from needing the very services we provide as social workers.
I have learned that bravery is in all of us but only the strongest among us can walk through fear to admit what makes us strong.
I have learned that our hopes and dreams for this Nation are as individual and different as the sunsets and the colors of our skin and we all want to make a difference in our world.
I have learned that racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the other isms/phobias are experienced by each one of us a little bit differently but that doesn’t make those experiences insignificant.
I have learned that the patriarchy lives and breathes and in one way or another we are all shocked that this is our government.
I have learned that it is OK to provide a safe space for people to tell their stories and that it is that space that is critical to learning and being passionate about what is being taught.
I have learned that vulnerability is key in a classroom and it is OK to have emotions with our students.
I have learned that if we simply stop and listen to our students, we can be inspired by their vast knowledge and change the world on and off campus.
I have learned that when I stand in my passion and my power and when I am unapologetic about teaching social justice policy, advocacy, government, and how to kick ass in my own way then my students become empowered to do something – and they DO!
Look out America, the Bird Girl Army is assembling and it is fierce, on fire, and relentless in its pursuit of equality and justice for all.