Today, I asked my students “How do you identify yourself and why is that important to you?” and they said…
“When I was younger, there was a time when people thought I had no future. Now, one of the things I’m passionate about is how different people on the spectrum are. We are not all alike.”
“I like how our generation is different, how being LGBTQ is normal.”
“I hear what you’re saying.”
“If you’re in love with someone, you’re in love with someone.”
“I believe there is a God but not in any particular religion.”
“To be honest, I don’t really know.”
“When I meet someone, I’m not like, ‘I’m gay.’ I never really use the word lesbian to describe myself. There’s still a lot of time for me to figure things out. It’s complicated.”
“I have a friend whose mom remembers her past life, but I’m not sure if it’s true or not.”
“We need to let H talk.”
“I’m a straight Arab dude…It takes too much effort to hate.”
“There’s a million things better you can do than be racist or homophobic.”
“I’m sorry I interrupted you.”
“You don’t need to be a person of colour to do something about Black History Month.”
“The whole point of a racist slur – any slur – is to offend someone, so if you shake it off, you undo that.”
“We are all different no matter what label you use.”
It’s taken us all semester to get here. Discussion is hard. We’ve used sentence starters and done four corner activities. We’ve talked about social media and parents. We’ve analysed our discussions (not a favourite activity) and listed successes & areas for improvement. We’ve used pennies to limit our contributions (put in your two cents worth) and mapped our discussions with twine and tape. We’ve had guest speakers and informal debates. We’ve practiced.
The result? They can lift up their powerful voices and tell the world that they are ready to make some changes.
And tomorrow we’ll talk again.