Jose Peralta and Zahin Ahmed
This term, in our Biology 100 course, we spent a few weeks discussing the topic of environmental justice with our students. In doing so, we discussed how the placement of industrial hazardous industries has historically targeted marginalized communities, putting them at greater risk of harm from environmental pollution. To gain more in depth understanding on this issue, students were assigned a newscast project. Groups were each assigned a case study from the University of Michigan investigating real world issues of environmental injustice across the country. Click here to learn more about this project and watch completed newscasts!
Mr. Peralta also had the opportunity to capture some serene photos of the snowstorm on campus this winter. Check them out below!
During these last two weeks of winter term, Ms. Staff is excited to be teaching two of her favorite books, Sula by Toni Morrison and Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.
“It was like getting the use of an eye back, having a cataract removed. Her old friend had come home. Sula. Who made her laugh, who made her see old things with new eyes, in whose presence she felt clever, gentle, and a little raunchy. Sula, whose past she had lived through and with whom the present was a constant sharing of perceptions. Talking to Sula had always been a conversation with herself. Was there anyone else before whom she could never be foolish? In whose view inadequacy was mere idiosyncrasy, a character trait rather than a deficiency? Anyone who left behind that aura of fun and complicity? Sula never competed; she simply helped others define themselves. Other people seemed to turn their volume on and up when Sula was in the room. More than any other thing, humor returned” (Morrison, Sula, pg 95).
“It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class — in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding — but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does” (Hamid, Exit West, pg 3-4).
We are also looking forward to two more CAMD Scholars for this school year. Join us for the following presentations:
Sophia Hlavaty, ’21
Friday, April 16th, 8 PM
Title: “Magic Kingdom? Deconstructing the Politics of Citizenship and Memory in Disney’s America”
Advisor: Donald Slater, Instructor in History and Social Science
Katherine Wang, ’21
Friday, May 7th, 8 PM
Title: “Turning Over a White Stage: Disrupting White-Affirming Racial Fetishism in ‘Elite’ White Concert Dance”
Advisor: Judy Wombwell, Instructor in Theatre and Dance
Much is going on in the international student coordinating world, but I want to leave you with a little excitement from GeograBee 2021. We had over 20 students compete in our virutual semi-finals on February 19th, and it was an intense competition of Kahoot. Big congratulations to Jaeho, Reena, Dylan, Parker, and Alex for making it to the finals which occurred on February 20th. Our big GeograBee 2021 champion is Jaeho Lee representing the class of 2024! It was a wonderful experience this year and could not have happened without the collaboration with Quiz Bowl and especially club president Karsten Rynearson. Thank you, Karsten and thank you to all of this year’s participants!
With international love,
For many students, parents, and campus adults, this school year has been a special one, as we navigate through multiple pandemics of COVID-19 and of white supremacy. For me, there has been another layer of specialness, as this is my first year as a teacher. I have encountered many challenges, from teaching via Zoom to creating a sense of community in class, and being part of CAMD has contributed positively to both my teaching and my personal growth.
Working in CAMD has allowed me to ground activities and conversations in my French courses in the framework of addressing inequities and encouraging students to think of social justice. For example, I have challenged them to think about a body of representatives who regulates the French language. The demographics of the representatives do not reflect the diverse nature of French speakers around the world at all, and students were given to reflect on discrimination that results from speakers of different dialects, which may be falsely classified as ‘out of the norm’ or ‘inferior’ than the ‘standard’ dialect.
In terms of personal growth, being part of CAMD meetings where we discuss DEI issues and concerns has helped me better understand what social justice means. One concept that I think back to is ‘all of us, or none of us’, which means that none of us are liberated until everyone can live in full dignity without the fear of oppression or marginalization. I would like to continue grounding my work on this concept and keep me in check.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to be part of CAMD and to contribute to this work.
While this school year has been nothing short of physically and emotionally exhausting, I wanted to extend my gratitude to the team and students of CAMD. Despite a truly devastating year for our world, CAMD has found a way to integrate a virtual community and work in equity and inclusion in a way that guards our marginalized students, faculty and staff, but also gives us the space to grow together. Our students have held on to their community spaces, shined lights onto the dark alleys of injustice, and inspired us to recognize our own emotional needs.
From moving and educational CAMD Scholar presentations to a robust Martin Luther King Day program that reached across 14 times zones and 36 hours, our faculty and students have persisted. It often feels like when the weight of our societal, emotional, and educational pressures becomes a little too heavy, our students and our staff have shown up to carry some of those burdens. CAMD Student groups have maintained community spaces with fun activities, important discussions, Latinx Arts Month and Black Arts Month programming. Our CAMD team, led by Ms. Springer, has begged essential questions about coalition building, identity and self-care after hosting spectacular guests and creating engaging programming. Working with Kelicia and Jose to create a unique identity exploration program for 9th and 10th graders on MLK Day was a highlight of my year here (or virtually) at Andover.
It may seem like an overused, and often misunderstood, expression, but CAMD served as my safe space for empathy and channeling my restless energies during a pandemic in the face of rampant racism that continues to plague our country. It is more than my job, it is my community. My eternal gratitude goes out to our team and to our students who resist, persist and flourish despite the fog that obstructs the light of community, justice and joy.