Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teacher & DREAMer Tries to Explain Inexplicable to Children...

I can not imagine the pain of being a teacher today, especially in a multilingual school.

Having to speak with the refugees I help is quite difficult. Talking to young angels who do not understand the madness of the past few weeks seems to me impossible.... Worst, needing to reassure these same angels, when I find myself in the exact precarious limbo they fear is insufferable.

Yet Rosalía Salazar — graduate from the University of Texas, kindergarten teacher, and DREAMer — has to do just that.

DREAMer Rosalía Salazar with her kindergarten class

It has taken me a while to translate Rosi's message, since I have been busy with many projects and translations especially relevant to the wake-up call we've gotten, but her words are just as important today as they were the day she wrote them after the Trump election. 

Below, the original Spanish will appear first, followed by its translation. 

Read her text in whatever language you feel most comfortable. After all, more and more, we are a multicultural and multilingual society. We need to begin acknowledging that, no matter what any government tries to say...

And now, I will leave you with Rosalía's message, poignantly written! 


El día lunes de esta semana tuvimos un simulacro electoral en la escuela para promover la importancia del voto e informar a los más pequeños. Al final del día, cuando se escucharon los resultados finales la escuela entera gritó de emoción al enterarse que trumph no había sido el ganador...

Rosalia uses Dr. Seuss as a jumpstart for conversations to diffictult topics
about figures of authority & what traits people of importance should possess

Aunque yo traté de no tocar el tema por obvias razones, fue necesario hacerlo.

Lo sorprendente fue el saber que incluso niños de 5 y 6 años conocían un poco de este individuo que ahora será "presidente". En sus palabras era el hombre que "no quiere a los mexicanos" y el hombre que "dice cosas feas a las mujeres".

En fin, en clase les enseñamos la importancia del voto. Hablamos sobre los presidentes, sobre las cualidades que deben poseer, hablamos de sus deberes de cuidar del pueblo, de tomar decisiones basadas en bienes comunes, hablamos de los presidentes como figuras de autoridad y más que eso, como modelos a seguir.

¿Como se les explica a los niños, que su nuevo presidente no es nada parecido a lo que hemos aprendido que se supone debe de ser?

Rosalia decorates the teachers' lounge with a mural she
designed with the help of six teachers who painted it

¿Que les respondes cuando te hablan con lágrimas en los ojos acerca de sus miedos de lo que está por venir?

¿Como les aseguras que todo va a estar bien?

Hoy al caminar por los pasillos en la escuela y ver hacia mi alrededor, me di cuenta de que a todos nos dolía un poquito el corazón, de que queríamos abrazarnos, de que queríamos consolarnos unos a otros, de que el "buenos días" de cada mañana fue uno diferente porque está mañana teníamos demasiadas cosas que pensar... ¿Que les decimos a los niños si preguntan sobre el futuro presidente? ¿que les decimos cuando nos pregunten sobre sus padres, hermanos, tíos, abuelos, o amigos? ¿Por que lo que se les ha enseñado contradice por completo a lo que están ahora viviendo?

¿Como les explicas qué tal vez tendrás que decirles adiós porque ese individuo ha decidido que tú no tienes el derecho de seguir haciendo lo que amas? Pensé, mientras observaba mi salón...

Mientras trabajábamos por la mañana durante la hora de matemáticas las conversaciones no envolvían precisamente números. Entre susurros se hablaba de que trumph (en las palabras de mis estudiantes) enviaría bombas, y causaría guerras; se hablaba de que trumph le decía malas palabras a Hillary. Se hablaba de que la familia de Fulanito tendría que volver a México con su tío. En algún momento del día, fue necesario parar y mentirles un poco... asegurarles que todo iba a estar bien, aún sabiendo el limbo en el que nos encontramos ahora, aún sabiendo que los miedos de los que ellos hablaban son los mismos que sentimos muchos de nosotros ahora...

Rosi's very creative "chalk-paint" desk breaks barriers; instead of keeping teacher and student apart, it draws students to her, letting them share their feelings and stories if they want, and writing too: what more can we ask of a teacher?
Esta madrugada, nos dimos cuenta de que el odio ha vuelto a salir a flote muy por encima de todo lo que se había logrado. Esta madrugada tratamos de justificar los miedos y los egos internos con "ignorancia".

Hoy es el primer día de los que faltan por venir en el que inmigrantes, mujeres, personas no blancas, musulmanes, y personas con capacidades diferentes entre otros posiblemente serán humillados y atacados.

Pero hoy también es el primer día en el que espero que entendamos que es cuando debemos de estar más fuertes que nunca.

Familia, amigos y conocidos.... Hay que organizarnos, hay que informarnos, pero sobre todo hay que cuidarnos unos con otros... siempre.

Y la imagen... habla por sí sola.

Colores. Mujeres. Luna. Trenzas. Ropas. Cielo claro. Cielo nublado. Seguiremos caminando.
La lucha sigue.


On Monday of this week we had an electoral drill at the school to promote the importance of voting and to inform our youngest students. At the end of the day, when the final results were heard, the entire school gave a shout of emotion upon learning that "trumph" had not been the winner...

Although I tried not to touch the subject for obvious reasons, it was necessary to do so.

What was surprising was knowing that even 5 and 6 year olds knew a little bit about this individual who will now be "president." In their own words, they spoke about the man who "does not love Mexicans" and the man who "says ugly things to women."

In short, we teach the importance of voting 
in class. We discuss our presidents, and we talk about the qualities they must possess. We speak about their duties, how they must take care of their people, how they must make decisions based on common goods. We speak of presidents as figures of authority and, more than that, as role models.

How do you explain to children, then, that their new president is nothing like what we have learned a person of power is supposed to be?

How do you respond when they talk to you with tears in their eyes about their fears of what is to come?

How do you make sure everything is going to be okay?

Rosalía's nurturing classroom, where students are hugged by her warmth
and calm spirit, despite any anxiety she may feel 

Today as I walked down the aisles at school and looked around me, I realized that we all hurt just a little... Our hearts were heavy and we wanted to hug; we wanted to comfort one another. The "good morning" of each morning was a little bit different than every other morning because this morning we had too many things to think about...

What do we tell the children if they ask about their future president? What do we tell them when they ask us about their parents, their siblings, their uncles, their grandparents, or their friends? Why is it that what we have taught them completely contradicts what they are now living?

How do you explain to them that you — as their teacher — may have to say goodbye because that individual has decided that you do not have the right to continue doing what you love?

I kept thinking as I looked around my classroom...

As we worked in the morning during math class, the conversations did not exactly involve numbers; whispers told us that "trumph" (in the words of my students) would send bombs; he would cause wars. They murmured that "trumph" was saying bad words to Hillary. I heard someone mention that Fulanito's family would have to return to Mexico with his uncle. At some point in the day, it was necessary to stop and to lie to them just a bit... to assure these little ones that everything would be fine, even while knowing the limbo we are all in now, even while understanding that the fears they spoke about are the same fears many of us feel presently...

On this early dawn, we realized that hatred has come back to float far above all that has been achieved. On this dawn we will try to justify our internal fears and egos against "ignorance."

Rosi teaches her students about fear & ignorance
through beautiful murals; this one she created with
another teacher, Ms. Elizabeth Macias

Today is that first day of those yet to come, in which immigrants, women, non-white people, Muslims, and people with different abilities, among other possibilities, are likely to be humiliated and attacked.

But today is also the first day I hope we all understand that today is when we must be stronger than ever.

Family, friends, acquaintances .... We must organize! We have to inform ourselves, but above all, we have to take care of each other... always.

And the image ... it speaks for itself.

Colors. Women. Moon. Braids. Clothes. Clear sky. Cloudy sky. We will continue walking...
The struggle continues!

About the author: 

Rosalía Salazar is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors of Science in Applied Learning and Development.

She is a bilingual Teacher at Lida Hooe Elementary in the Oakcliff area of Dallas, Texas, where she enjoys serving as chair of the “beautification committee” and uses art as a tool to inspire staff and students. She also serves as an active member of En Pie De Lucha Peformance, a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness of social issues through the use of art.

Rosalía enjoys poetry more than anything, and she believes that it is through the use of art that people can make deeper connections with who they truly are and what they are capable of doing in order to change their surroundings.

This is her motto, which she lives by daily; you see this in her classroom as well as in her day to day life interchanges with all those around her: "In order to change the world, we need to start from within… cambiar al mundo desde adentro".

  Contact Information
Rosalía Salazar

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