Freed from the earth, emerging
Crowns of victory
Diversity is absolutely inescapable. There was a time when it was commonplace to find communities isolated within larger communities. Now, however, it’s unusual to find completely secluded people groups. The advent of all these different clusters of people living and comingling in shared venues has brought about a heightened need for social justice in almost all areas of life. We are all together now, be it in our neighborhoods, businesses, court rooms, parks, places of worship, or just about any other locale you can think of that the populous frequents.
The school house has in no way escaped the need for social justice. Children from diverse walks of life are plugged in to this system and deserve to be trained as productive citizens of a multi-cultural, global society regardless of race, religion, gender, language, socio-economic status, sexual-orientation, special needs, or at-risk status.
Social justice, from an educational perspective, is the construction of learning and its connection to societal groups and issues. (Kirshner. 2011.) It’s also been defined as “a condition whereby all people are afforded fair opportunities to enjoy the benefits of society.” (Engel, Miller. 2011.) These definitions are in direct opposition to the traditional belief that learning is strictly an internal action and isn’t affected by society. (Kirshner. 2011.) Obviously, these contrasting stances do manage to kick up a bit of dust within the school community at-large, but we must understand that it is the responsibility of all educators to model a living definition of social justice for all stakeholders inside and outside the walls of the school. This living, breathing action will lead to equal learning experiences for all students within the realm of education.
Now, please allow me to connect my faith to my profession. John 3:17 states that Jesus was not sent by His Father for the purpose of condemning all people. Jesus didn’t come on an assignment to send people to Hell. Rather, He came on a mission of advocacy. He came here with the express purpose of bringing us all to His heart, His home, and His unending love. It was His willingness to meet every man or woman in the exact place that he or she was and in the precise way that he or she needed Him that, to this day, makes His offer so attractive and viable. This should be our model as teachers. Every student should be presented the very best that we have to offer and if they need more, we should seek out the means to provide it. We must remove roadblocks that would stop their educational journeys and constantly, consistently affirm them as they reach for and create a better world than what we have known.
Engel, Max T.; Miller, Peter M. (2011). Forging vertical linkages in the public sphere:
school-church engagement for social justice. Educational Foundations. V 25, n 1-2, page 25 – 42m. Winter-Spring, 2011.
Kirshner, David. (2011). Claiming the cultural space of the classroom: issues of ethics
and social justice. Louisiana State University. Retrieved on April 9, 2012 from http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED518215.pdf .
Shoulders still ablaze from the sizzling streams of daylight pouring through the car windows
Darting from the backseat of the old, yellow Dodge
and scampering to the first clanking, then squeaking gate
racing up the sidewalk and the cracked concrete stairs
Porch. Living room. Dining room.
How innocently this banquet lies in waiting
though it has been teasing my mind and palate since the onset of the sermon
Table spilling over with home-cooked devotion
Platters placed purposefully by the experienced hands of the Patriarch and Matriarch
Round chargers layered with ripened, ruby red tomatoes
salted and peppered to perfection
Purple onions, similarly arranged and vying for recognition
Steaming bowls of the garden’s bounty
Sunny squash mingled with bacon and onions that were minced on the striped, wooden cutting board
Pepper-sprinkled, creamy alabaster potatoes
dripping with a russet-hued elixir that was birthed in the worn iron skillet
Golden cornbread with a touch of sugar spooned in
Creamed butter whipped till it curls like a wisp of smoke
Plastic lids removed from blue tubs, revealing faux butter for those who insist upon it
Roasted beef disguised by a mountain of scallions and candied carrots
Fried chicken forming a mountain on a cookie sheet (We are proud Southerners, after all)
Pink roses on a glass canvas
a glass canvas that is filled with iced tea
its sweetness strengthening
as the saccharin tablets are secretly plopped in by tricky tribesmen
unaware of each other’s imbibing intentions
Clunky rectangular hunks of ice stacked upon one another in diverse drinking glasses
Bubbly, flaky peach cobbler
no box in sight (Mrs. Smith is never invited)
No “how-to” booklets or stained pieces of paper needed
They know it all by heart
Chairs of wood and metal congregated in a tight round
Houstonphonebooks stacked high for the diminutive members of the clan
Mismatched plates, glasses, and flatware
but never the mugs
always pale green, Fire King mugs
filled with sugary, beige coffee
brewed in a clear glass percolator
Tell Mel Tormé to scat away
the hi-fi only broadcasts our laughter
The Doxology carries on, everlasting
I lift my pale green, Fire King mug of sugary, beige coffee
and breathe the scent in, deeply
Reminiscing. Musing. Evoking those flashes of memory
and home-cooked devotion
and hunger for that same old repast
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