Empowering and dismantling

Creative desktop top view. Typewriter, papers, diary, coffee mug, crumpled paper.

An issue with a purpose and tears

When I took on the role of Editor of Education Forum, I knew it was a job that could bring me a lot of creative joy, but I wasn’t prepared to cry quite so much.

Yes, cry—but good tears.

This particular issue has seen me reach for a tissue more than ever before, both in pride and in pain. It is an issue that could be described as full of blood, sweat, and tears—but again, in the best way possible. Inside the pages you will find some of the most honest and thoughtful writing I think we have been able to showcase in a while. Collectively, it focuses on issues of how to empower equity, anti-racism, and anti-oppression work. Individually, the articles showcase the diversity of equity work and explore the challenges we can face when we take on this difficult labour.

Our cover story, “Storytelling, decolonizing, and dancing with Queer education” by Drag Storytime icon Betty Baker is of special importance and pride to me, not only as an editor, but more importantly as an ally and a family member. Full disclosure, Betty is part of my extended family—I saw them grow up since they were a young preschooler, and I’m proud to say even got to play “drag step-mom” at a Betty Baker event. In their article you’ll see a fully-realized activist, embracing their true self and challenging our thinking, all while facing unfathomable hate and derision for their very existence. Ya, I cried editing this one—but good tears.

In “Let us be—How educators can be better allies to Black students” Black York Region Youth member, Kayla Escoffery, offers us tangible ways of engaging with Black youth. She writes of her own experiences in the public education system as a young Black woman and about the emotional and intellectual labour forced on her simply because of her identity. Her article provides all of us who engage with youth a powerful reminder that as adults, we hold the responsibility for creating safe and inclusive environments for young people. Her story tells of frustration and anger, but it also tells the tale of her own journey to young activist. It’s an inspiring story that speaks to the often untapped and ignored power of youth. Ya, I cried editing this one, too—but good tears.

The two articles I mention here are not by Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) members but are instead by young people who are taking up the mantle of equity activist. Alongside these two outstanding authors you will find work by OSSTF/FEESO members, by researchers, and by community members. In each piece I hope you find something to inspire you to take on or continue in equity work. Like a connected community, filled with diverse ideas and experiences, this issue is stronger as a collective specifically because of the uniqueness of each piece. And maybe you’ll have a moment here or there when you cry, too—but good tears.

About Tracey Germa
Tracey Germa is the editor of Education Forum and education-forum.ca.

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