Creating a Toxic Work Environment: Peo Edition

I thought it was impossible for Rochester City Council member Jose Peo to hit a new low, but he is always full of surprises. I should have known that when he accused Black leaders of not doing enough to help his Black constituents stay safe during the rise of COVID-19 epidemic, I would not hear […]

Dear White People: Juneteenth is Not Our Holiday

As a white person, it isn’t my place to say what Juneteenth is. Black people created Juneteenth, gave it meaning, and continue to define it today. As a white person, it is my place to point out a few things Juneteenth isn’t. Juneteenth isn’t an opportunity for white people to make money. It isn’t an […]

Fellas, Everything is Gay

June is LGBTQIA Pride/History Month. It is a good time to remember that Pride started out like many “history” months started: with protest and rebellion against a system that sought to erase Queer folks from existence. The first Pride was a physical uprising. The NYPD regularly raided and violently shut down bars in New York […]

Serena’s Story: When One’s Advocacy Clashes with Other’s “Advocacy”

Serena’s Story Serena is an activist and mother; a great communicator and an empathetic person; masterful listener; and counselor of people in crisis, big or small. Her life’s commitment is to make the world a better place for her child, others’ children, and humankind. After receiving a Master of Social Work from Nazareth College, she looked […]

The American Dream

The myth of the American Dream For generations, the American Dream has been ingrained in many Americans’ ideologies. From politics to education, it is hidden deep within the narrative of America’s origin. It pervades many aspects of everyday life. This concept that everyone, rich or poor, can achieve their dreams through hard work and determination. […]

Black LGBTQ Activists, History Erased

George Orwell once said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understandings of their history.” As a social worker, I am often thinking about how the context of culture and society is framing our perceptions of self. Some of the identities I hold today were not even in […]

Dear White Led Organizations Stop Performing Blackface On MLK Day

“I’m boycotting MLK Day this year” I uttered these words just a few days ago while talking with a friend on their last day at a predominately white institution in our area. My friend recounted her hurt and dismay at how the organization treated her after announcing her resignation. My friend identifies as an Afro-Latina […]

School Integration “Saved” Me But At What Cost

I was part of the great “school integration experiment” As I follow the current proposals for school closures, placing police in schools, teacher shortages and other tragedies surrounding Rochester City School District (RCSD) I cannot help but think about my past connection with the district. And the choices my parents made for me to have […]

540WMain’s List of Books You Must Read in 2022

We couldn’t close out the year without publishing our list of books you must read in 2022 How did you survive 2021? If you’re like us, reading kept you afloat over the last year as this pandemic maintained a stronghold on the world. Books are what sustain us, teach us, help us, and in many […]

The Books I Read in 2021

Reading is my #1 hobby and despite the breadth of all the things on my to-do list this year I was able to read almost double the number of books I consumed in 2020. A few things I learned: I was able to read about 22 books in total in 2021. This list doesn’t capture […]

Discussing Race and Colorblind Racism with Children

On October 25 we delivered our panel discussion, We See Color: Discussing Race and Colorblind Racism with Children. Panelists included three young people who shared inspiring and powerful stories about their first memories of racism and how these incidents impacted them. Through their experiences, we were able to engage in dynamic conversation. Together as parents, […]

Not One More Standardized Test

Yet another standardized test Today I received an email directive about yet another standardized test I was to administer to my students. My students who have already taken at least three assessments that lasted several days, in the first month back from a year and a half hiatus from “normal.” Students who are learning English. […]

We See Color: Discussing Race and Color Blind Racism with Your Children

students facing a speaker in a large classroom

“There are no black people in this show”. – one of my daughters, after watching an episode of her favorite TV show, Friends. “My skin color is peachy, but I am white. Not like my shirt is white, but like how my friend Jamal has dark brown skin, but he is black”. – my son, […]

The Sad Lesson of Gabby Petito and Jelani Day

A devastating truth: thousands of people go missing every year and are never heard from again. Another devastating truth: missing person cases regarding Black and Brown people aren’t given the same attention as those of white people. Over the last few months, people all around the world have followed the saga of Gabby Petito, a […]

Schools are Re-Opening. What Will Our Children Learn About Community?

Penfield Central School District started the 2021-22 school year on September 1! Congratulations to all of the students, families, teachers, administrators, staff and other professionals that made this a reality! Full-time and in-person! This wasn’t an easy journey and there are still folks not pleased with the re-opening plan. The best we can do is […]

Critical Race Theory and Teacher Unions?

Classroom setting shown in relation to attack on Critical Race Theory across schools in the US.

Teaching the Truth amidst attacks on Critical Race Theory This week I discovered that the Zinn pledge to Teach the Truth amidst attacks on Critical Race Theory. They list all the teachers by city and state and city and then published the list online. Several things went through my mind when I learned this and […]

Why “no one wants to work” is false assumption

Heart and money on balance scale, showing folks choice between unemployment and grueling reality post-pandemic.

Unemployment has returned to pre-pandemic levels, yet conservatives are claiming “no one wants to work” Five days–40 hours a week. Clock in, clock out. Such has been the weekly routine for over a century. That is until March of 2020. COVID hit and the world stopped. Like actually stopped. People were no longer going to […]

The Racist History Behind The BMI

Is there a more perfect pair than racism and fatphobia? The two fit together as if they were made for each other. The truth is the -ism and phobia are inherently linked.  Scholars say the link began around the start of slavery. Before this time, fat was seen as a positive in society. It meant […]

10 Reasons to Support a Moratorium on Charter School Expansion

A scene of an empty classroom. Empty desks face a projetor screen with chalkboards and a map in the background.

The Rochester City School District is still reeling from the fallout of a budget shortfall last year that led to the layoff of hundreds of educators, the closure of 4 schools, 3 programs, which touched all of the 26,000 students of the RCSD in some way.  How did this happen? Many still believe mismanagement but […]

Society Doesn’t Care About Black Mental Health

Young African American woman is on the balcony at sunset

As Memorial Day weekend came to a close and the conversation about Naomi Osaka deciding to forgo press after the French Open went viral, I vividly remember loudly screaming out “YESSS SIS” to the news. I live for anyone and everyone taking a stand and pushing back against the capitalistic and “grind”culture that tells us […]