Teacher and Professional Development General Plenary Session
From Activist to ALT to Activist Abroad
I wasn’t born an activist but damn near. My mother made sure our formal education was one that would prepare not only our minds but our souls for a society dominated by white supremacy and Eurocentricity, which intentionally or not, sublimated all non-whites. My mother enlisted me in an Afrocentric school and environment and set me on a path that eventually compelled me to teach what I had learned to young minds, and to share my ideas via activism, journalism, and publishing with the world at-large. I’ve been asked to share some of this journey with JALT so buckle up. I’m going to take you from my roots as a student at school on the forefront of the Pan-African / Black Power movement of the 70s (an earlier articulation of Black Lives Matters) in Brooklyn NY, through to utilizing activism and the media to end blackface in Japan. Along the way I had to live two lives, hardworking ALT by day, and, under a pseudonym only, author, activist, journalist, and sometimes TV talent. Trying to keep the two lives separate was a task and a half, until one incident stripped the fence away and my two lives collided.
Born in Brooklyn New York, Reborn in Japan. I'm a writer first and foremost. Teaching and activism spring from that. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than telling a story well. Well, except a great Onsen, My mother once told me that I would make a positive difference in the world. I have a feeling she's right but who knows? Moms always seem right don't they? So I believe her. We'll see won't we?