A is for Activism

I feel like a lot of the time when we think of activism we think of starting some large movement that impacts masses of people Dr. King or Malala Yousafzai style.  If you ask me, activism doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture.

I don’t watch pageants, but having done my undergrad at Michigan State, I have a lot of friends who are from Michigan. At the Miss America Pageant, Miss Michigan used her 10 second introduction to talk about Flint.

 

13 ON YOUR SIDE

The Flint Water Crisis happened when I was still at Michigan State. I know people with family in Flint, so I wasn’t at all removed from what was happening. Although it was a huge deal at the time, it has kind of fallen off the radar, even though it obviously is still intensely real for Michigan residents.

Emily Sioma is from a town that’s about an hour away from Flint. As a representative of the state of Michigan (that’s what being Miss Michigan means, right?), she used her platform to bring attention to a major crisis in the 10 seconds that most contestants would’ve tried to talk themselves up. She used her role as a representative of the state of Michigan, not from the city of Flint, to serve as an ally of this cause.

There are many different aspects of being an activist, but as Sioma demonstrated, sometimes being an activist just means serving the cause in anyway you can by being an ally. We can’t all relate to every fight out there, but there is power in being educated and serving others however we can.

When we consider teaching as an act of activism, I think it can be really daunting, especially if we didn’t experience that kind of teaching ourselves. However, I think there is a conversation to be had about being an ally. It is so important for teachers to develop relationships with their students, to have real conversations with them and understand their needs both inside and outside of their classrooms, to push them to succeed while having high expectations for them, and most importantly, to just be there for them. Sometimes, being an advocate and an ally for an individual student, or even for a group of students can be of real consequence. There is a lot of value in believing in our students and empowering them both inside and outside of school. I think it’s high time that we as educators challenge ourselves to get outside of our comfort zones. Activism can happen in the smallest ways or the biggest ways; it just starts with taking the first step.

As Chance the Rapper once said, “I don’t know where people think I’m from, but I’m from Chicago”

If you’ve been to Chicago, or even met someone from Chicago, you would understand that us Chicagoans have a lot of pride in our city. The food, the views, the cleanliness, the people, no city can compare. One of my favorite parts of Chicago is the view from museum campus.

Museum campus is where the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium are located, hence the name. The Field Museum recently had a Jurassic World exhibit.

ImagineExhibitions

As you can see from the video, this exhibit mirrored the movie. When you first come in, you watch a welcome movie that’s similar to the one that they see in the movie, and you walk into gates with “Welcome to Jurassic World” blaring over the speakers. Literally so dope! You walk into InGen Labs and see dinosaur eggs and mosquitos fossilized in molasses. If you’re as big a fan of the movie as my brother and I, you would have totally geeked out.  The entire exhibit continues in this really authentic manner where you walk through and see different dinosaurs in various landscapes. They even have a “show” with the raptor and t-rex! What’s most interesting is that everything looks really lifelike, and it’s almost like you’re actually in the movie. Well, everything looked lifelike until my boyfriend pointed out the gym shoes underneath the raptor costume 🙂

Another cool science exhibit in the city is at the Museum of Science of Industry “The Science Behind Pixar.” I haven’t personally been to this exhibit, but I have heard and seen fantastic things about it. The exhibit is interactive, allowing adults and children alike to engage with various parts of the movie making process. The best part of this exhibit? The Pixar characters we know and love are posed around the exhibit for pictures.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately being reminded of how science is in everything we do. I am a huge Jurassic Park and Disney/Pixar fan. Both of these exhibits help people of all ages engage with science (DNA, cloning, engineering, etc.) in ways that they aren’t always expecting to. There is something to be said for the ways that science shows up in everything we interact with, including the things we love and geek out over. I remember taking the ACT in high school and being so drained by the time we got to the science portion that I could barely concentrate, and I remember blaming science, like it was its fault, rather than the fact I was sitting in a chair for hours doing a standardized test. Seeing the way that these museums have presented engaging in science to all ages is a nice reminder that science is real and active, and more exciting (read: not score-killing) than some of us have experienced!

P.S By the third time I took the ACT my science scores were really close to my reading and english scores. So I guess that means I had misplaced aggression (since it was the last portion of that harrowing exam) that should’ve been put on math?