Reflections on #AERA18

I always come to AERA (the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association) with a sense of trepidation and uncertainty.  It’s at a pretty inconvenient time of the year. This year it was across the country from me and because of the way my various commitments lined up, it meant 4 days away from my family and a red-eye flight.

AERA brings up so many insecurities about how I (and my research) aren’t enough and how I haven’t lived up to “my potential” (Note: No one has told me this, but it’s how I feel because of my institutional identity, my personal identity, because I compare myself to others who do amazing research and are in very different spaces).

But this AERA was actually a shift for me.  Perhaps this is because I am weeks away from a tenure and promotion decision.  Perhaps it’s because of the papers that I got accepted, papers that are deeply personal and explore the relationships of personal, racial, mothering and professional (scholar, teacher, teacher educator) identities in my own life as a teacher educator.  Perhaps because there were consistent messages: the importance of doing the work of our hearts; the importance of being critically reflective; the importance of decentering normative traditions of teacher education that keep reproducing inequality; the importance of self-care. Perhaps because of the kindness of scholars who I deeply admire–their encouragement; their acknowledgment that this work isn’t easy; their thoughtful interactions with me.

I am leaving AERA with renewed commitment, with gratitude at the connections made, and with a lot to think about (it is a research conference after all). I am leaving with the reminder that I have a responsibility to not stop with thinking but to move towards action.  I have a responsibility to do the research that is the work of my heart, that reminds me of why I got into the field.  I am leaving with a commitment to collaboration and moving forward in critical self-reflection. I am leaving reminded that life and scholarship and educational transformation is a process.

And I’m so happy to come home to the people that make all of it worth it for me: my family.

Just a Moment

Photo by Kien Do on Unsplash

It has been an insane week.

It’s been a week when so many of my identities, but especially those of mother and assistant professor, have intersected in ways that have made it clear that coexistence in the same time and space aren’t always easy.

But, I made it through the week.  I dropped the ball on a few things, but everyone is safe and happy. My almost 3 year old is napping peacefully; my 12 year old is at Tae Kwon Do practice after an unexpected “Spring Break with Mom;” my lesson plans are graded; my IRB revision is resubmitted; my AERA presentations are ready to go; my volunteer fundraiser is set up; my 9 miles is run; my interview for another volunteer event is set up; my non-profit presentation is done; my class has been filmed; my students’ dissertations responded to; my e-mails (mostly) answered. And now, there is a moment to reflect.

But only a moment. The almost 3-year old is awake.  She wants Mommy to sit with her as she rests while her Papa gets her book from the car.

It is just a moment. They are all a series of moments in this sometimes crazy and overwhelming, but also beautiful life.

And these moments are the most precious.

Sanctuary Resources

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

I live in Orange County, California.  In recent days, it has been difficult, as a person who believes in the importance of protecting all people and the value of immigrant lives, to live in a county where numerous city councils and the County Board of Supervisors have begun challenging SB 54, the California Values Act. The so-called “Sanctuary State” legislation ensures that state or local resources are not diverted to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”

It’s a busy time and many of us are wondering what to do to show support. I wanted to share resources that might be helpful for people who want to develop a better understanding of what the sanctuary movement is, why it’s important and how to support immigrant communities during these challenges.

Resources to Understand What Sanctuary Cities are and Why they are Important

Immigration 101: What is a Sanctuary City? from America’s Voice

Why Sanctuary Cities Must Exist from the LA Times

Living in Fear: Understanding the Importance of Sanctuary Cities from Columbia University

6 Big Things to Know About Sanctuary Cities by the Washington Post

(Note: I don’t love the language on this article because it refers to undocumented people as “illegal immigrants” but some of the information is helpful)

Local Communities (Orange County) that are challenging California Sanctuary legislation (links to City Council page with contact information for council members)–Please consider calling or e-mailing elected officials or attending upcoming council meetings with “opt-out” votes on the agenda.

  • City of Fullerton, Opt-out of Sanctuary legislation on the City Council Agenda tonight 4/3
  • City of Fountain Valley,  Opt-out of Sanctuary legislation on the City Council Agenda tonight 4/3 (6pm)
  • City of Los Alamitos, Final Vote on opt-out of Sanctuary legislation on the City Council Agenda, 4/16 (Initial vote passed 4 to 1)
  • City of Huntington Beach, Voted (6 in favor, 1 opposed) on April 2 to sue the state over Sanctuary legislation, costing more city funds

Resources for Supporting the Sanctuary Movement

Sanctuary City Toolkit by National Immigration Law Center

Love Resists: Sanctuary Policies website by the Unitarian Universalist Association:

United We Dream #HereToStay ToolKit Sanctuary City/ County/ State:

CLINIC Sanctuary Cities Toolkit