Introduction by series curator Dr. Lata Murti, associate professor of sociology at Brandman University

Little girl taking online classes
Little girl taking online classes
Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

“Educational institutions are the ONE thing that we all do for 13 years,” writes Dr. Trinity Davis in her contribution to this series. But our experiences of these institutions differ widely according to race, class, and gender. Black students find that their white counterparts are more prepared for school and tend to experience more academic success throughout their K-12 education. Meanwhile, social class differences — which often intersect with racial differences — also determine students’ academic readiness and progress, with students in lower socioeconomic classes struggling…

by Dr. Tami Lincoln

Child sitting in front of a row of books reading on a tablet
Child sitting in front of a row of books reading on a tablet
Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels

“One of my favorite books from elementary school is ‘Abuela’ by Arthur Dorros. It’s a magical book about a girl and her grandma that fly over New York City. It’s full of adventure and interactions with the locals. I think it helped me identify myself when I first arrived in the United States and was learning English as a child. Growing up my parents always worked long hours so I practically lived with my grandma and we’d do everything together. …

by Dinorah Hudson, Dr. Irena Nayfeld, and Dr. Yana Kuchirko

Woman in White Shirt Holding Girl in Brown and White Stripe Shirt
Woman in White Shirt Holding Girl in Brown and White Stripe Shirt
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A Black teacher teaching a class of Black and Brown students affirms his students’ experiences by gesturing to his own history. A white teacher leading a class largely composed of students of color lets her racial difference become a (sometimes comic) point of pedagogy. An Asian teacher who emigrated to the US in the 1970s is able to address the concerns of a newly immigrated Chinese student around a low grade in ways that are attuned to the student’s cultural context. A Cuban teacher raised in the U.S. …

by Dr. Robert Simmons

A teacher in a white shirt giving a student a double high five
A teacher in a white shirt giving a student a double high five
Photo from the Center for Black Educator Development

I am from a place where being home before the streetlights came on meant just that. I am from a neighborhood in Detroit where drugs and guns were more common than schoolbooks. I am from a place where milkcrate basketball hoops brought out the best in us. I am from a place where my past informed my “why” for becoming a Black male teacher. I am a Black male teacher from here to eternity.

On a fall day in 1997, I walked into a classroom with 25 eight-year-old Black children from the same neighborhood in Detroit…

by Dr. Trinity Davis

A person sitting cross-legged in a chair
A person sitting cross-legged in a chair
Photo provided by the author

My journey toward becoming an educator began in my fourth grade at a predominantly white school in Kansas. That time was impactful for me because, for the first time, I noticed the physical differences between my friends and classmates. I could see their hair and skin were different from mine, and I realized that I was the only Black student in my class. One day during a social studies lesson the chasm between us grew deeper. I read ahead in our text so I would be prepared if called upon by my teacher to read aloud…

by Dr. Hawani Negussie

Photo by Alexander Hipp on Unsplash

In the months following the killing of George Floyd, discussions related to reform sprouted up everywhere, from news outlets to advertisement agencies, to social media by employees fuming about deep-rooted exclusionary practices in the workplace. Higher education was also having a moment in reflection, holding up the mirror over academic institutions asking, “Are we inclusive enough?” “Are we more culturally aware than-the school in x county?,” while shying away from the real question, “Do instructors fully recognize the world students come from? Diverse, inequitable, culturally influential, and with more civic engagement aptitude than ever before.


By Dr. Dina Okamoto, Helge-Johannes Marahrens, and Emily Meanwell

Photo by Sides Imagery on Pexels

Over the past four years, we have seen continued attacks on the foreign-born populations in the U.S., as anti-immigrant sentiment and federal directives have become a cornerstone of the Trump campaign and administration. As we near the historic 2020 presidential election, scholars and pundits alike will be watching to see how immigrants vote.

Yet voting is only one way that citizens can engage in the political process and make their voices heard. Political participation includes a variety of activities and actions beyond the ballot box. In particular, engaging in public collective…

By Dr. Sy Stokes

Photo by Life Matters from Pexels

“I think that one thing that keeps me going is knowing that there is the possibility for us to create our own ‘us,’ as in people who want to kind of dismantle the current institutions in place. There’s the possibility for us to organize our own institutions that service our own people with our best interest — intentions at heart…seeing the potential and the drive, and people who are so deeply invested in this struggle keeps me motivated.” — Esme, 4th year Chicanx students

Esme participated in a focus group I conducted about the campus racial…

Introduction by series curator, Dr. Mara Ostfeld, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

When Donald J. Trump launched his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015, there was only one issue on his website: immigration. His position on immigration was notably conservative and exclusionary, with “Build That Wall” becoming a standard chant in his rallies. In many ways, this notion of a border wall that he embraced and promoted so passionately symbolizes his approach to American politics more broadly. …

by Dr. Susana M. Muñoz and Juan Escalante

Immigrant make America great poster
Immigrant make America great poster
Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

Undocumented immigrant activism has been a constant factor in fighting and advocating for humane immigration rights in the U.S. over the past several decades.

Almost immediately after President Ronald Raegan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, our nation has witnessed a slow yet growing number of deportations of countless immigrant families and the perpetual harm that immigration enforcement has had on communities across the country.

On the other hand, immigrants and their allies have led much of the expansion in pro-migrant legislation at the state and local level, which…

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