Category Archives: Community

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Understanding and Building Collective Efficacy

This post was written by Contributing Authors Tim Leonard and Leigh Somerville

The purpose of this blog post is to provide a brief overview of the concept of collective efficacy and share some practical examples of what it can look like in the classroom setting. As well, we provide several open-source documents that may be helpful in reflection and instructional planning. 

What is collective efficacy? In short, it is when a team of individuals share the belief that, through their combined efforts, they can overcome challenges and positively impact student achievement and success. Continue reading

Moving Toward Dis/Comfort (Event Recap)

This post was written by Contributing Authors Karen Zaino (Secondary Education and Youth Services, Queens College), Azreen Hasan, Emily Ram, Maria Sultana, and Ahmad Zeidieh.

During this session, which was part of Dean Dana Fusco’s Will to Change series in the Queens College School of Education, I worked with four undergraduate students to facilitate a workshop on “moving toward dis/comfort” in classroom conversations. We use the term “dis/comfort” to signal the importance of recognizing different positions and comfort levels within the classroom, where “comfort” and “discomfort” are shorthand for the affective experience of material injustice. For many students–particularly minoritized students–classrooms have long been “uncomfortable” places that dismiss, demean, or erase their ways of knowing and lived experiences. Therefore, this workshop focused on how we might critically consider the distribution of comfort in a classroom setting – who is comfortable? At whose expense? – and use a series of “talk moves” to shift the hegemonic distribution of comfort and discomfort. These moves were adapted from the recent book Classroom Talk for Social Change by Melissa Schieble, Amy Vetter, and Kahdeidra Monét Martin. Continue reading

UnHomeless NYC: Sharing the Value of Community-Based Education

This post was written by Contributing Authors Midori Yamamura and Tommy Mintz and edited by Jason Leggett.

“That was the best of all the webinars and whatever I’ve been clocking into!”

“This was a very powerful conversation on the topic of homelessness. The biggest takeaway for me is to hear this topic approached from grassroots and not top-down perspective.”

These reactions came from participants of UnHomeless NYC: an information session. This two-day workshop examined homelessness with artists, community activists, students, educators, and attendees in dialogue around activities leading up to a public exhibition in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 at Kingsborough Community College. Together, educators across disciplines along with students, activists and artists are transforming educational spaces to critically reflect about perceptions of homelessness as agency for social change. As one activist, Manon Vergerio, reflected after the event, the voices from the street can be a powerful pedagogical tool that triggers us to see things differently, not just scholars writing for other scholars. Continue reading

Creating Community Media: A Panel Discussion between Asian American Filmmaking and Activism (Event Recap)

This post was written by Contributing Author Alex Ho, who teaches in the Center for Ethnic Studies at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

When I worked at the Museum of Chinese in America, we would use one of the first photographs of San Francisco’s Old Chinatown, “An Unsuspecting Victim” by Arnold Genthe, to show how an author’s intent through what they choose to show and to hide and to editorialize would affect the impression a photograph could give a viewer. The photograph is stripped of the other white Americans, darkened, and given dimensions much more familiar to our vertical-video smartphone world. It jibes with a persistent fantasy about ethnic enclaves like Chinatown–that they are mysterious and dangerous for white America. Continue reading

Post-Event Reflections on “There is No Separate Survival” by Dillonna C. Lewis

This post was written by Contributing Author Dillonna C. Lewis, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College, CUNY, and a facilitator of the event.

In post-panel processing with students, an underlying theme emerged–the ongoing relevance and impact of Audre’s poems and prose for our current socio-political realities. Students reflected on the need for additional community “read-in” spaces at Hunter College where they can dialogue with peers, professors and other participants from the larger community.  Bringing Audre back to the community, and listening to the intergenerational interactions in break out groups, honored the power of poetry to speak to us all, to teach us all and to hold our complexities. In our small group conversations, we were able to lift up difference for conscious introspection and publicly name what sustains us in community and what divides us. One panelist shared her experiences with feeling dissected, probed and interrogated in White feminist circles where she was expected to speak for all Black women. The repetitive notion that academic spaces can only hold one brilliant Black woman at a time feeds this “under the microscope” phenomena that threatens current attempts to organize movement-building that defines and empowers.  Continue reading

Reflections on “There is No Separate Survival: Reading Audre Lorde in These Times” by Meagan G. Washington

This post was written by Contributing Author Meagan G. Washington, Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College, CUNY.

The community read-in of Audre Lorde’s work has generated an opportunity to reflect deeply on how her work offers ways to think about the current socio-political situation. The history of anti-black racism and more contemporary anti-Asian violence leave students and CUNY community devastated and struggling to come to grips with the violence. Lorde’s work in ‘A Litany for Survival’ as well as her other prose and poetry ground the experiences of violence by braiding together individual experiences with systemic structural violence. The reflections by Meagan G. Washington and Dillonna C. Lewis, show just how rich the conversation Lorde’s work provoked in the breakout rooms. Continue reading