Building Our Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies Class: A Poem

We began our class discussing Chicano-Latina Studies and identities
As we end, I hope you agree
that collectively we are on the path to embodying
the possibilities of a more just society

Day one shifting from straight rows to circles and a square
from backs of heads to seeing each other instead
Carving a space in this academic place
that’s disruptive and co-constructed

Reading Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation
mapping legacies of inequalities
critiquing paradigms about group deficiencies
and the roles of social science theories in justifying school policies

Discussing methodologies and epistemologies with the help of Counterstories
bringing in testimonies of self, family and society
building community that links history
to the contemporary

Challenging binaries and hierarchies
through Academic Profiling
Using pens, markers, ink, and chalk
to listen, claim voice and back talk

Naming what is at stake
in the Homeland Security State
Unpacking theories, organizing, and the power of policies
in reproducing or abolishing inequalities

Pausing, moving, reframing
all in the process of transforming
Sharing time, food, and drink
to myth-bust and rethink

Leaving class tonight
inspired by our critical insights
we continue
contributing
to radical curriculum, pedagogy, and theory
Working together for a society
that reflects this beautiful community

***

Gilda L. Ochoa teaches Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies at Pomona College. Her latest book is Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans and the Achievement Gap.

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