Daily Keynote: Dr. Yohuru Williams

  • "Good Trouble, Necessary History" is an impassioned charge for History instruction.  As a Big History teacher, I embrace and prioritize instruction that presents "challenge and resistance" (the summer of 2020) with my students.  The topic fits in very well with Threshold 8, "Modern Revolution," and Unit 9, "Acceleration."  Through the whole BH program, how is "challenge and resistance" embedded within events of the past, present, and future?  Each unit illustrates individuals who see the world with new eyes.  We see this dynamic with Hubble's technology and arguments that the universe is ever expanding, which consequently leads us to an understanding of the Big Bang.  New eyes allows us to use the technology of explosives and bombs to argue fusion within stars.  New eyes, directed by the technology of sonar, allow us to consider how plates and continents move on our planet.  New eyes allows us to consider how life may emerge from chemosynthesis along the fractures of the oceans' floors.  How do new eyes allow us to investigate the summer of 2020?  Why would people protest, with violence, passion, and destruction, in urban settings that may have never experienced such tumult?  This week, as we considered lessons in Unit 5, "Life," we heard oceanographer David Gallo quote Marcel Proust, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."  We know so little about the oceans, yet they cover more of our planet than does land and they contain more life species, measured by biomass, than do the rainforests and land.  This week's NYTimes shared an article that argued we need to "listen" to the deep oceans because our "sight" does not do well in dark places.  If we are to understand our oceans and their abundant life, let alone work to conserve or sustain them, we need to consider them anew.  Similarly, we need to consider the perspectives of minorities, recent immigrants, and other marginalized groups in new ways.  The large scale of human history suggests equality among humans is not the rule; it is a blip of an exception.  Consider the populace living under Chinese communist rule; consider the dictatorial regimes in many countries in both hemispheres.  Consider how rights and enfranchisement has grown, over time, within the United States, during a little more than two centuries.  I find the important charge for our young learners (I work with high school freshmen) is to suggest that their "good trouble" would be for them to practice seeing their world with new eyes.  The past may inspire them, but it may also stifle their energies, because challenge to convention is not guaranteed safety.  I have typed much, and yet I have much more to share.  Perhaps later.  #MCHE 

  • I think the change will spread beyond Georgia.

    I don't think change will be instantaneous or without more growing pains. But I feel like our nation is experiencing another dose of good trouble that won't let itself be contained.

    To me, it seems like while our nation's progress toward a more tolerant and inclusive existence has been slow, it has been steadily improving. These past four years have been an eye opener for how stifling our country still can be to those who are not fully acknowledged. But at the same time these years have provided another catalyst for another jump toward the goal of what our more perfect union should be.

  • I used to do something with my freshmen about them being ordinary people that can do extraordinary things.  They were awesome at finding these incredible, hidden, YouTube-like talents.  It was just a taste of what it means to go above and beyond.  If you can do something cheesy in a great way, you can do something meaningful in a great way.

    I love the call to action in John Lewis' letter and I would love to use it in my ELA classes for Rhetorical Devices. #MCHE

  • It's certainly a powerful and poignant example to share with students! 

  • I wonder if the current election will be an example of Lewis Doctrine?  I have seen several references to the changes seen in Georgia last week being attributed to Lewis' call to action.  Some are suggesting that people listened too his message and took action which resulted in change.  I'm not sure how widespread it may have influenced people but I have seen several references at least for Georgians.