Celebrate is a weekly blog feature hosted by Ruth Ayres, who invites us to reflect on our week and find the positives.
It’s difficult for me to know what to celebrate this week. I have mostly spent the week feeling outraged, confounded, and sad. I have been glued to the story in Ferguson, Missouri, and spent many more hours on Twitter than I usually do, reading, learning, and sharing. Twitter has been my lifeline this week–alerting me to an important civil rights story that the media was slow to start covering; keeping me up-to-date through citizen journalism and the reporters and photographers who have been on the ground following the story from the beginning; connecting me with other educators who are talking about the only thing I want to talk about this week; providing me with resources for how I might want to talk about Ferguson with my students; and giving me a forum for sharing articles and resources with the educators in my PLN.
This week, I’m grateful for:
1. The tireless work of journalists and photographers like @WesleyLowery, @MattPearce, @RyanReilly, and @Kodacohen. (If you haven’t looked at Robert Cohen’s images from Ferguson, be sure to check out his Twitter feed. Really powerful work.) Lowery and Reilly were assaulted by the police and arrested for “trespassing in a McDonald’s”–I kid you not–but as soon as they were released, they were back on the job.
2. The even more tireless work of Alderman Antonio French, whose Vines, photographs, and tweets have largely told the story of #Ferguson for me and thousands of other people. Even more important than his documentation has been his presence comforting, encouraging, calming, and helping the people of Ferguson. What an inspiring man!
3. The teachers in my PLN who are talking about #Ferguson. This is an important story for all Americans–and one that we educators need to be talking about with each other, our students, our communities.
4. The diversification of my Twitter feed. Thanks to the power of the retweet, I have discovered so many African-American teachers and professors who are on Twitter and sharing their thinking and their work. Also, Chicago public school teachers! Those are some informed activist teachers! Really excited about the work and thinking I’ve discovered this week and the ways I am going to be able to learn from other educators.
5. The BLOCK feature on Twitter. You know what? There are some crazy people who find you on Twitter when you venture out into the wide world of the #Ferguson hashtag, and they tweet hateful racist things at you and everyone else who is trying to have an important conversation about something really serious. Hence, the beauty of the BLOCK. And also, the “report user for abusive behavior.” Yes please! I doubt anything happens to the user in question, but it certainly is satisfying!
See? I still like cat photos too!