CPS / Network 2 / Ravenswood
I cannot begin to tell my story without shedding light on my mothers'. My mother was born in Mexico and emigrated to the U.S. at a young age. Through my abuelitos (grandparents), my mother learned the significance of education and community, which helped her navigate the many trial and tribulations experienced on the south and west sides of Chicago. Unfortunately, for her, equity was and, oftentimes, still is not a topic of consideration in these communities, which ultimately motivated her to become a CPS teacher and Assistant Principal. Through my mother's fight and my upbringing, I inherited the aforementioned values and beliefs, which, ultimately, prompted me to pursue a career in education and engage in equity work.
Why I choose to engage in equity work
My "Why" stems from three specific areas: To provide families with basic needs, an exceptional education, and socio-economic opportunity and mobility. Unfortunately, social constructs within our communities along with political interests inhibit progress within these areas. In order to deconstruct the pillars that uphold the status quo, which tends to pit higher and lower socio-economic classes on opposite sides of this topic, we must engage in this work through education, conversation, organizing, and voting at all levels.
My equity challenge and how I work on it
One of the main challenges with equity in public education is funding. We live in a society were we have been conditioned to believe that resources and funding are finite, therefore, we must accept and effectively operate with what we are provided. In order to combat and work on this issue, we have developed our capacity in grant writing, fundraising, and connecting with community based organizations for monetary support; However, I do not believe that this is an effective nor sustainable way to continue progress for any institution.
What sustains me when equity work stalls, how do I stay motivated when the work gets hard, and how do I push myself and others to advance equity
Courageous and casual conversations sustains me when the overarching work stalls. Being able to engage with friends, family, colleagues, or strangers around equity and anti-racism offers opportunities to offer perspective and share information that others may not have had. Though the goal is always to recruit allies and supporters in this work, these conversations allow for me to engage in a low stake environment and recharge for the bigger picture work.