Over the last year I've immersed myself in documentaries and docu-series and "based on a true story"-s and "this is fiction but you know it's reality" programming from Netflix and Hulu and Amazon (we have a lot of subscription services).
Over the last year I have explored Selma and the Central Park Five and Trayvon Martin and Ferguson and Chicago Public Schools and the "new" KKK. There are too many areas to list.
Over the last year I have soaked in the words of Ta-Nehisi Coates (fan-girling), James Baldwin, Jonathan Kozol, Beverly Daniel Tatum (another favorite), Michelle Alexander, Austin Channing Brown (she's so real!), and so many more.
Over the last year I've shared my experiences and new learning with friends and family and educators and bosses and the public world of social media. I've found the people who share a part of my soul, I've made people uncomfortable, I've received pushback.
And over the last year I've reaffirmed what I sort of already knew. That none of this is about me. I have loved my learning journey and can't wait to continue down this path, but it's not about what I learn. It's about what I do with it.
I can stock my bookshelves with multicultural children's book and authors speaking to equity and culturally responsive teaching and someday I might even actually make it through the stack of books by my bed, but it doesn't matter if it doesn't translate to the classroom.
I can be as "woke" as I want to think I am, but if I can't name and call out racism when I see and hear it, it doesn't matter.
I can collect notebooks full of classroom shifts and hundreds of bookmarks to websites to help others gain understanding, but if I don't bring it into classrooms it doesn't matter.
The learning is a huge part of the journey, but my 2019 will be a year of action. My 2019 starts with two Teaching Tolerance workshops in January. My 2019 includes working with kids to understand the historical and societal complexities of "blackface." My 2019 will put more diverse texts in the classrooms that I serve. Because students deserve these conversations and the resources and the opportunity to make sense of this complex world we live in. My 2019 isn't about me, it's about reaching out to every kid every day and inspiring others to do the same.