NAME Conference 2019 in Tucson, Arizona

This NAME (National Association for Multicultural Education) Conference marks my 27th year in attendance. Over these years, I have been fortunate to have served in both the national and regional committees; mentored newcomers; presented my theories, practice and research by NAME invitation & refereed, featured author, pre-conference Institutes, moderated panels, and performed and/or directed cultural art productions. However, what stands out most for me is the love & nurturing I have received all these years. I have been mentored by some of the original OG’s of Multicultural Education such as, Sonia Nieto, Carl Grant, Christine Sleeter, Rose Duhon-Sells, Donna Golnick, and the list goes on. Through them I have published many works and learned so much. Some of my closest friends longtime NAME members such as, Carlie Tartakov, who together we designed the Kuumba Learning Model (African-centered curriculum) and implemented & successfully tested this model nationally & abroad, Christine Clark, my alumna sister, on the 25th Hour book, which focuses on mass incarceration from the poetic perspective of a young inmate, for which we continue to present this important message across the country; and Bette Beaver, who has been the executive director of NAME since 2007, and who has welcomed contributions such as mine to the conference each and every year. I could go on and on, the point is I just wanted to reflect out loud what this organization means to me. And, to ask our newer generations to help keep this legacy of our founders, longtime members, and  scholar OG’s alive and growing. I look forward to other longtime members sharing their reflections of our organization as a way of passing the torch for those up & coming.

On my way to the airport to attend my favorite annual NAME (National Association for Multicultural Education) Conference held this year in Tucson, Arizona. 11/6 – 11/10/2019

Graced to spend time with my mentor Queen Mothers of the National Association for Multicultural Education, here at the 29th Annual International Conference titled, Decolonizing Minds. This organization has been key to transforming our curriculum in schools nationwide, and providing learning communities worldwide with avenues to disseminate social justice and critical multicultural education scholarship and practices.

Arrival at the Conference. So great to reunite with longtime friends and to make new friends, such as Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of the late Ralph Abernathy of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.

I am standing at the border wall in Nogales, Mexico where my heart is so heavy to see up close how many children have died trying to cross the border. And, I’m blessed to have been with NAME Conference friends and Donzaleigh Abernathy to lean in with, along with amazing Nogales social justice leaders that are sacrificing so much to make change.

Bringing needed products

Entering into Mexico

Crosses of children align the wall, and there are painted pictures of some who were shot and killed by border patrol or died trying to traverse the road on a donkey’s back.

We were greeted at the museum in Nogales, Mexico that is focusing on building a memorial, yet living plant life around the wall as an alternative to not being able to move it.

We had just missed the Dia de Muertos holiday where many candles were lit in this exhibit in honor of the youth population, many who have lost hope and committed suicide.

The exhibit says it all about traditions, folklore, culture and today’s injustices.

So happy to see my longtime friends and colleagues receive such prestigious awards at the conference.

My homegirls, we’ve supported each other’s work and families for more than 25 years! NAME Conference is a marvelous reunion and social justice experience for all of us.

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