Rohit Kumar

rohit kumar 150

I had the opportunity to read Dr. Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege paper during my masters' degree in education (India). I was pretty intrigued by its simple, authentic and reflective tone. I started searching for more information around the article and its author. That's when I came across SEED.

When I sent my first e-mail to enquire whether the program is open for International candidates, I didn't know this would change the course of my life as an educator.

I attended New Leaders' Week in July 2014. Around the same time, I was working with a batch of young adults on the Service Learning Program at the Akanksha Foundation. The foundational values, philosophy, intent, and action at this program required deep conversations on identity, its positionality and politics for my students, and for me to take ownership of our own stories and to listen empathetically to others' stories. SEED gave me a space to dive deeper in my work with core concepts such as "Windows and Mirrors," "Stories and Systems," and "Selves and Shelves."

Upon my return, I started two SEED groups with principals and directors at Akanksha, along with my colleague, Sangeeta Zombade, and continued working with my student group. This was a transformative year for me personally and professionally. To hear stories of equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (or lack thereof) in our curriculum was, on the one side, disturbing, and on the other, inspiring. It was amazing to see there are so many passionate adults working together to make education more just, empathetic, collaborative and relevant.

Being part of ReSEED's first cohort in 2015 was a privilege. It helped me to reflect and improve upon my facilitation skills in the space of diversity work. It's heartening to look back at my SEED journey and know how beautifully I have been accepted in a family so far away from where I am (geographically) and still so close (emotionally). In June 2017, Sangeeta, Amrita (another SEED leader) and I cofounded Khoj Community School, a school centering itself in the principles of multicultural education I think SEED's work must reach outside the USA, for our world and our work is so intensely interconnected that we cannot totally understand our lives if we don't look through the windows of other nationalities and recognise and acknowledge our connectedness.

I am excited to meet new SEED participants, to share my story, and learn from theirs.

PS - I shall always remain grateful to The Akanksha Foundation, my previous employer, which strongly supported me in my journey of understanding educational equity and diversity.

— Cheryl Robinson, Supervisor, Office of Minority Achievement, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

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