Earlier this summer, I had the honor of celebrating the life & work of Dr. Cornel West with a fantastic group of scholars at Dartmouth. Back in high school, it was Dr. West’s writing that inspired my dream of becoming a professor. During the two-hour commute to school each day, I would read his book, Race Matters. It gave me permission to imagine another life, another world.
As I prepare for this next phase of my journey, it‘s been useful to remember that this is how my time as a scholar began: riding the 1 bus to the 7 bus at 6AM, buttered roll from the bodega wrapped in aluminum foil, keeping the left pocket of my knockoff North Face jacket warm. Dip Set in the headphones. Race Matters right next to my history textbook, both a supplement & a necessary corrective. Whatever I accomplish in my time as a teacher, I owe to these moments of study, & the long line of educators, like Dr. West, who made them possible. Today, and every day, I am thankful for their radical imaginations, for the courage it took to give their dreams to the air.