District/College: Tigard-Tualatin School District
Job Assignment/Position: Twality MS Director of Bands, Twality MS Building Equity Leadership Team Coordinator (BEC), Asian Student Union (ASU) Advisor, TTSD District Equity Leadership Team (DELT) Student Pillar Leader, TTSD Colleagues of Color (staff Affinity Group for BBIA) Team Lead, OEA Equity Sparks Facilitator, NWRESD BIPoC REN Committee
Years of Educator Experience: 15
What are three ways you have actively elevated equity?
To actively elevate equity, I build authentic relationships as my first priority. The work is imperfect, challenging, and never complete. In my experience, how we engage others matters. Deep relationships that are focused through shared values and community agreements are central to building and growing sustainable coalitions. Creating true partnership is the overarching theme through all that we do, as we design better systems and structures from the ground up. Second, I am a “guide on the side” as I work with students and colleagues. I don’t want nor need to be the hero. I truly believe that those oppressed must be the center of their own work. As an Asian-American woman of color, I understand that we do not need saviors. We need disruptors and co-conspirators to work alongside us. We hold within us the knowledge, lived experience and expertise to know what we need as folks who live in the margins. Third, I work for and with intentionally created brave affinity spaces such as: OEA Equity Sparks which is a cohort of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, and all people of color members, Asian Student Unions, and Tigard-Tualatin SD Colleagues of Color (CoC). With TTSD CoC, I have started with assembly, building relationships and data collection (such as surveys, empathy interviews, and culturally specific listening sessions), but we can’t stop there. We also share our stories, and now are beginning to create our own programs, and collectively envision and design a better future so that together we may heal and thrive in community.
What is your equity stance?
Identity and experience shape us. I am a 4th generation Oregonian, with ethnic ties to mainland Japan and Okinawa. I am a middle class woman of color in a white, patriarchal society. Both my privilege and oppression have impacted my lived experience; it is the lens through which I view my work.
- Is constant, empathetic community collaboration
- centers, and humanizes people who have been oppressed
- realizes nothing about us, without us, is for us
Equity requires we
- celebrate multiple perspectives exist simultaneously
- create brave space for people to share their truths
- build coalitions who persistently highlight their own lived experiences while bringing solutions
- build sustainability through establishing networks of people to share the work
- deconstruct internalized supremacy and perfectionism
Equity work involves both
- listening deeply to understand others
- sharing our authentic stories, as a path towards connection which can then lead to shared vision and collective action
I do this work with deep gratitude for our ancestors, mentors, and families who paved the paths before us for community-driven action. This work is hard, but there is joy and passion within it too. Equity work takes all of us, all the time, always, and is never complete. Systems that support the status quo were designed to thrive on the oppression of many. It is only through courageous, persistent, collective action that we can build the long-term systemic change we desire.
So the question becomes, Will we create positive change or maintain the status quo? The choice is ours to make.
What is your favorite social justice quote?
“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they'll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.” - Malcolm X
Can you share one equity focused resource or student read that you recommend?
Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students by, Zaretta Hammond is a text I regularly revisit, reflect on, so I can continually improve my practice as an educator and an equity leader.