I was attacked in front of my
children in a parking lot in September of 2007.
This event launched me into an on-going quest to confront violence and
Opportunities came into my life that allowed me to further
explore these questions. Students in my freshmen seminar, How We Learn, and I became
part of a group called the Waller Scholar Organization at an East
Atlanta elementary school. There, inner city children talked about their
experiences under the guidance of their teacher, Robert Waller.
Conversations with the Waller Scholars were not easy. We met with fourth
graders who heard gunshots every night and never felt safe. Some of the
discussions with these children forever changed us.
My students organized a student chapter at Emory to foster a relationship with the Waller Scholars outside the classroom. In 2010, we expanded our partnership to work alongside the CREW Teens, a dynamic, wonderful group of high school students who meet afternoons at the Drew Charter School. During our exchanges, the strong voices of the
Waller Scholars, CREW Teens, and Emory students inspired me to listen for the power of my own.
Soon I gained the courage to confront painful chapters in my own
childhood that lay just beneath the surface of the discussions I was
having, connecting the dots with previous experiences as a target of the
violence that is all too common against women. I realized how much
power my own experiences with violence had taken from me. With a new
honesty and freedom, I began to tackle the topics in my life that had
formerly silenced me in memoir format. My book, The Little Girl Is Me reflects the personal journey the book documents
This new way of interacting in the world has infiltrated into the classroom, leading to rewarding community partnerships and an on-going discussion about education. It has fostered new book projects such as Letters to a Teacher. It has led to a twenty-four person collaboration to create curriculum for discussions around race, ethnicity, healing and violence. It has lead to a program that helps students accomplish their personal visions. It has also led to a series of OpEds that seek to promote communication, equity, inclusion, overcoming difficulty, and finding agency in our lives. Links to all of these projects may be found on this Seeing Through New Eyes Website. Your input is welcome, so please join the conversation.