Despite the whirlwind that has been the past 2 months, I have continued to embrace the amazingness that HGSE is. Classes are incredible this semester, and extracurricular activities are equally as compelling. This past weekend, I had the pleasure to see the fruition of the Alumni of Color Conference. In it’s 13th year, the AOCC offers a space for communities of color and allies to address grave societal issues that continue to impact our education system. Whether it’s the school to prison pipeline, the repercussions of Ferguson on our young people, bullying, or a myriad of other issues, AOCC gives a space for these discussions to emerge in an academic and intellectually freeing format.
As a co-lead for the Youth Engagement Committee (see below), I had the pleasure of seeing the culmination of our Committee’s hard work from the last few months. We brought 80 young people to campus who spoke truth to power! They spoke about feelings of alienation in school, struggles with identity, reflections on Ferguson, and so much more! Their voice reminded me of the importance of listening – we are never too educated or knowledgeable to stop listening, especially from the voice of the youth we hope to work for. If we don’t listen, who will?
The AOCC Conference will remain one of my favorite memories from HGSE because it has been instrumental in my own self-realization as a woman of color who must move forward with a deeper commitment to social justice, in practice as well as in name.
Irteza Binte-Farid is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Education Policy and Management program. Having worked for QuestBridge, an education non-profit which matches low-income, first generation students to great colleges within the US, Irteza continues to be interested in the experience of first generation students in college. In the future, she is excited to enter the field of Higher Education Policy.