John Mink's Blog

Teaching Resistance contributors Kadijah Means and Melissa Merin on Race and Revolution (parts 1 & 2)

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A PM Press and MaximumRockNRoll cohosted Instagram Live virtual teach-in with Melissa Merin and Kadijah Means – writers, educators, activists, restorative justice coordinators, and contributors to the anthology Teaching Resistance: Radicals, Revolutionaries, and Cultural Subversives in the Classroom, moderated by the editor John Mink.

The teach-in with Melissa and Kadijah was split into two hour-long segments and covered a wide range of topics including race and racism in schools, police reform vs. abolition, teaching resistance and revolution, restorative justice, and the Movement for Black Lives. There was a Q+A at the end of each segment.

Teaching Resistance: Radicals, Revolutionaries, and Cultural Subversives in the Classroom is a collection of the voices of activist educators from around the world who engage inside and outside the classroom from pre-kindergarten to university and emphasize teaching radical practice from the field.

MELISSA MERIN (she, her, hers or they; cis) is established as a parent, a lover & partner, a queer, an anti-authoritarian and, a consistently retiring punker.  She penned “School is a Riot” – the opening salvo of the anthology Teaching Resistance, and she is dead-set on working toward a future where bureaucratic institutions are replaced by empowered communities working together in education, in social work, in the streets… Melissa believes in utilizing a diversity of tactics to build the world we need. She is a long-time educator and agitator and her work focuses on cultural and disciplinary approaches in elementary, middle and high school, with special emphasis on restorative justice, anti-racist action and the destruction of white supremacy.

KADIJAH MEANS was born and raised in Oakland, California. She wrote the original text for the Teaching Resistance chapter “How Schools Can Address Racism” as an MRR column in 2015 while she was the Berkeley High School Black Student Union President and Amnesty International chapter President. She has been featured in USA Today and other publications in recognition of her role as an organizer of the thousand-strong person Black Lives Matter protest in December 2014. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz Kadijah is the former Communications department Chief of Staff for the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC), which successfully pressured the University of California Regents to divest 25 million dollars from private prisons. Kadijah interned for Congresswoman Barbara Lee in addition to East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate practice, was the recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations in 2015, was interviewed on noted podcast This American Life, and is currently a restorative justice coordinator for a Title I school in the East Bay.

“This is an inspiring collection of reflections and stories from teachers working on the front-line in a range of both formal and informal educational spaces. Ever conscious of the harsh political and social realities facing teachers and pupils, the authors combine an activist stance with a wealth of pedagogical experience and a commitment to the emancipatory potential of educational encounters, without ever sinking into a romantic optimism or a politics of despair. Including discussions of racism, special education, early years education, prisons, art education and anarchist pedagogy, and ranging across diverse international contexts, the contributors offer an admirable combination of rigorous theoretical analysis and first-person accounts of practice. This collection is a powerful reminder that the radical voices of ‘outsiders’ and the marginal are crucial in addressing the pressing political issues of our time, and that it is within our educational spaces that these voices must and can be heard and creatively engaged with.” —Judith Suissa, author of Anarchism and Education

“Where was Teaching Resistance when I was in school? This essay collection both makes a compelling case for why radical classrooms are necessary and lays out how they can be put into practice. A perfect guide for educators and anyone working with young people, this book vitally also speaks to the student’s experience. Even for the kid-adverse activists among us, Teaching Resistance reminds us that kids can be our comrades if we meet them halfway. The younger generations deserve more from us—this is the primer for how to start providing it.” —Shawna Potter, singer for War on Women and author of Making Spaces Safer

Filmed on Instagram Live on Tuesday, July 28th 2020.

Teaching Resistance: Radicals, Revolutionaries, and Cultural Subversives in the Classroom

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