Facing History and Ourselves is an extraordinary organization. They describe themselves as “providing ideas, methods, and tools that support the practical needs, and the spirits, of educators worldwide who share the goal of creating a better, more informed, and more thoughtful society.” Yesterday I attended their Third Annual Day of Learning, which they presented in collaboration with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I love anything that opens my mind to ideas, gives me intelligent input on how to change the world from my little corner, offers advice on questions that can feel overwhelming to answer by yourself.
I was only able to stay for half of the day (although I caught some more of the speakers on their live stream), but the data presented, and questions posed on how we can participate responsibly in contemporary societies, use ideas, methods and tools from various disciplines to inform responsible participation, and understand the ways in which we might participate responsibly, gave me a lot to consider.
I have been doing some research into finding an organization in which I might volunteer my writing skills (I believe in volunteering, which for me has mainly been in my kid’s school for the last 16 years, but with Ally graduating next year I REFUSE TO BE THAT WEIRDO PARENT WHO IS STILL VOLUNTEERING WHEN THEY NO LONGER HAVE A KID IN SCHOOL, NO, NUH-UH, THIS WILL NOT BE ME), so I am on the search for a good place to offer my time. Some of what I learned yesterday made me think hard about what I’m looking for. And what I could do. The powerful story of Sandra Arnold, Executive Director of the Periwinkle Initiative–a nonprofit dedicated to the education and protection of heritage sites associated with enslaved Americans. She created a database to document burials and burial grounds of enslaved Americans. Her story was fascinating, and it told me that you can not just volunteer, but create a place to volunteer.
Gratitude to my friend Adam Strom, the super smart, Chief Officer for Content Innovation at Facing History, who invited me to this event (knowing I would love it), and for creating it. It gave my addled brain some real concepts to ponder, not just yesterday, but going forward.