|Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!|
Scrolling through the list of "like" and "love" notifications, my heart swells at the variety of interactions: colleagues, band friends, college friends, cousins. People I see every day and people I haven't heard from in years. People I absolutely expected to love this post and others I would have pegged as staunch conservatives. But that's the thing, isn't it? This particular president has crossed lines that transcend political beliefs and cut straight through to fundamental human feelings, rights, and experiences.
The morning after the election, when I ran to my phone and tears sprung to my eyes at the sight of that horrific headline, I wasn't crying because I would have preferred a different political outcome. I was crying because I didn't know what I was going to say, two hours later, when I walked into my cozy classroom home to face the familiar sea of sweet, brown immigrant faces that I love spending all day with. I felt like my country was telling my amazing, brave, hardworking Muslim, Hispanic, and Asian kids that we didn't want them, that they weren't safe here, that we don't respect or value their incredible stories, that we were better off before they came.
So when I read about Teaching Tolerance's #StudentsSpeak campaign, I knew I needed to use this opportunity to capture my students' feelings and let their voices be heard. I knew it would be difficult to navigate all our emotions on Inauguration Day, and that this would be the perfect outlet. So on Friday, after we studied the inaugural traditions and talked about why America's peaceful transfer of power is so important to celebrate, I invited my students to write a quick note to President (cringe!) Trump.
And they bent their heads, and pulled up their translation apps, and wrote. And my eyes sprouted more tears as they handed me their notes, full of fear and hurt and hope.