“How sweet it is when we can gather together! It is like oil, running down Aaron’s beard…” (Psalm 133:2)
I have been a 2nd grade, Kindergarten, and Music teacher for 7 years, served with refugee youth ministries for 5, and have been in administration as a principal, assistant principal, and MTSS/case manager for the last 10. I have been a consultant and researcher with World Relief, Teach Beyond, 4H, UIUC, Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, and in 4 US states, Kenya, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan– but most of my time and heart has been spent with preK-12 public schools. My time in public schools has been my primary tent-making endeavor, as well as my social-spiritual connection with students, staff, and families.
Education is a cultural value of mine and my family. My parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1975 on my mother’s work visa as a nurse. My dad quickly found work as a bartender at night and worked retail during the day, giving up his dream to become a Korean/East Asian History professor, and started a new one. The notion of educating oneself, deferring dreams, sharpening/preparing a sword before using it, etc. was entrenched into many generations of my family. As I met my now husband in college and we started a family of our own, we also continued a legacy of valuing education as part of our preparation to love and serve God and the world wholeheartedly, with mind, body, soul and strength (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).
I saw the achievement gap as indicative of resources distributed inequitably, and even the disparity of school buildings as visual representations of community “haves and have nots.” Now, as a mother of a rising 6th and 8th grader, I also see that their my kids’ school community, which they spend more waking hours with in September-June, than home or church ecosystems, truly is part of the “village” that helps to influence, teach, and raise them to be good and godly human beings.
So, for those of us who are:
- Called to love and raise communities in strength towards His Light and Goodness,
- Weary from a season of “pivots,” health protocols, and grief/heartache,
- Educators formally, and
- Who are praying for, loving, and partnering with educators,
- People who believe education is ultimately about the redistribution of power, flipping the script on systemic issues of injustice and inequitable educational systems and perceptions, and
- Practitioners who desire the transfer of power and authority into the hands of children and historically-traditionally marginalized
I pray this blessing from the First Nations translation of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-9):
Creator’s blessing rests on the poor, the ones with broken spirits. The good road from above is theirs to walk.
Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who walk a trail of tears, for he will wipe the tears from their eyes and comfort them.
Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who walk softly and in a humble manner. The earth, land, and sky will welcome them and always be their home.
Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who hunger and thirst for wrongs to be made right again. They will eat and drink until they are full.
Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who are merciful and kind to others. Their kindness will find its way back to them- full circle.
Creator’s blessing rests on the pure of heart. They are the ones who will see the Great Spirit.
Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who make peace. It will be said of them, “They are the children of the Great Spirit!…”
Creator’s blessings to you, those who are educators formally, and those who by default, are learning and educating along the way-let us bring systemic justice into our ecosystems of education, church, workhomechurch spaces.
And as we gather, grow, teach, and learn—
we are children of the Great Spirit,
and we receive Creator’s Blessings for us and our communities.
We make His Light grow in us and the world around us.
Shine bright, CCDA educators, learners, practitioners—
there is much darkness, but there is much Light, as well.
Education Equity Church Partnership Guide
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