Denver Teacher’s Strike: Day 3

UPDATE: Today marks the third day of the Denver Teacher’s Strike, as the DCTA and Denver Pubic Schools work to reach a contract agreement that provides teachers with meaningful compensation for the countless hours they dedicate to our communities. As educators ourselves, Collage Colorado stands with our teachers. We will keep families updated regarding alternate locations for classes this Friday, should the need arise. In the meantime, please show your support to our teachers by emailing Superintendent Susana Cordova, and tell her how important Denver’s educators are to you!

To the DCTA and teachers across the city and beyond: we see you, we hear you, we are with you!

Collage Colorado on the Denver Teacher Strike

Collage Colorado supports the DCTA/Denver Teachers’ Strike! As readers may know, negotiations between Denver teachers and the district regarding fair and adequate wages have reached an impasse. On Friday, January 25th, after 93% of DCTA members voted to authorize a strike, DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova petitioned the State of Colorado to block a strike for up to six months! This move would render a strike meaningless. Denver teachers responded by officially requesting that the State not step in, but we’re awaiting the decision.

We are… dedicated to an unshakeable belief that… financial burden should never be a barrier to quality education.

Although Collage is a private entity, and despite the fact that our classes are presently hosted at a DPS school, we stand with teachers. From our mission, “We are… dedicated to an unshakeable belief that… financial burden should never be a barrier to quality education.” That conviction goes in both directions; money should not be a factor for students or teachers! Teaching is a science and an art, and in the world today more (perhaps) than ever before, a quality education is a basic necessity for life. With it, anyone’s odds of livable pay, adequate health care, and a quality end of life go up tremendously. All that said, we may have to modify some plans depending on if the strike happens, as Collage will not cross picket lines.

We are encouraging all of our supporters to email DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova and tell her that you support Denver teachers, and believe they deserve a fair and living wage for their work.

Women of POWER

Today, we honor the incredible strength, fierce dedication, tremendous innovation, and exceptional brilliance of Women of Color.

Women of Color are the foundation of our society; to paraphrase Melissa Harris-Perry in her book Sister Citizen, Black women are the group by which our country can gauge our progress toward true social equity. They are the roots that hold our society aloft, nurture its foliage, and still anchor it to reality. As long as Women of Color are attacked, maligned, and diminished, we are poisoning our roots and will not grow. As long as our girls of color see matriarchs trodden under the feet of patriarchy and misogyny, none of us can move forward.

So today, honor the Women of Color in your life; know that they are Goddesses, Leaders, Queens, Innovators, and so much more.

Be Well, Fam.

#TOOFIERCE to be Erased

Despite what any administration may say, we at Collage Colorado know that Trans folks are #toofierce to be erased. We stand by the Trans community, and we hope that you do as well.

Resources for Trans Folks and Allies

GLAAD

The Trevor Project (and their help line at 866.488.7386)

Trans Lifeline (and their help line at 877.565.8860)

Flipping the Script: Why “A Wrinkle in Time” is So Imporant

“Ultimately, DuVernay has done more than make worlds (and she invented many for the movie), she has also fundamentally changed our own, just by making her film.”

The Beginning…

There is really no doubt about it – Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a fantastic story; in equal parts it blends magic and science, fantasy and fear, and a persistent theme beneath it all of the many sorts and expressions of love. It’s a story that has appealed to literally millions of readers over the past five decades since its original publication, and continues to be enjoyed by millions more. Despite its controversial (and frequently-challenged) nature, the book clearly stands on its own as worthy literature, but recently, there’s been a shift…

Seeds of Change

Given the book’s controversy and incredible success, it was clear from early on that it was rife with possibilities. Numerous adaptations of the story have been made over time, including a 2003 Disney TV movie that was, well… pretty boring, but still kept up interest in the by-then classic.

Virtually all of these adaptations were as one might expect – plain, more or less true to the source imaginings of the story. All fine and dandy, but at some point the same old thing no longer advances the conversation, and that can make a story go stale (one of the worst things that can happen to a work of literature). Though nothing can take away the beauty of the words, it seems likely that A Wrinkle in Time was on its way to being irrelevant.

A Risk, and a Paradigm Shift

By even her own account, there was a lot of risk in Ava DuVernay taking on the role of director for the newest adaptation of L’Engle’s work. From the outset she needed to take on (from many sides) the misogynist doubt that a woman could direct a successful science fiction movie. Others considered it a strange departure from her previous work. No matter what she did, DuVernay was constantly taking risks in making this movie.

Rather than shying from that, however, she took in on, head-on. In one interview with her, DuVernay describes the moment she decided to make the film, when she was offered the chance to “build worlds”. What she did in fact was bigger though; DuVernay began a genuine paradigm shift.

More than Building Worlds

Ultimately, DuVernay did more than make worlds (and she invented many for the movie), she also fundamentally changed our own, just by making her film.

Normally, making a movie out of a book is risky business of its own. Even in our current era of remakes and reboots, there are many that are outraged at the adaptation of page to screen, arguing that it ruins, demeans, or debases the material. We at Collage are maybe not so militant, but we do generally agree that it’s always best to go to the source, at least first off.

In making A Wrinkle in Time into the modern film it is, however, DuVernay worked real magic, and on a global scale. Almost overnight, she transmuted a character forever into something more than she already was: she gave her real dimension. By making the main characters of the story biracial, Ava DuVernay added further depth to a character who was already deeply emotionally complex… but in a way that was utterly organic. In doing so, she imagined the family so artfully that, for millions or even billions of readers for at least the next several decades, that is who Murry family will be.

It is an epic accomplishment, and one that we feel is worth celebrating here at Collage Colorado.

What do you think about the book, or the movie? Let us know in the comments!


Own the Book or Film!

We absolutely love both the book and most recent film versions of A Wrinkle in Time, and we highly encourage you to read and watch them as well! Follow the links below to see both on Amazon.

Spirit Day & #WhenIBegan


Spirit Day is an annual celebration organized by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (though in reality, they are so much more), as a day of solidarity against bullying and bigotry, and particularly for LGBTQ+ folks.

From GLAAD’s #SpiritDay launch page:

“Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to “go purple” on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.”


From Cameron, Founder of Collage Colorado, LLC
Originally Published on Facebook October, 2014

I tell this story today in honor of #spiritday, a campaign against bullying. I’ve told this story in confidence to a small number of people in my life, but today for the first time I am going to share it publicly. I won’t name names. I don’t want pity. I made my peace with this event years ago.

TRIGGER WARNING: LGBT bullying, sexism, misogyny, physical assault, and some language. I want to warn you now that what I am about to describe is not pretty, and I will not censor it; that may be triggering for some, and if it is, I fully understand if you don’t keep reading.

All of my life I’ve been a small guy. Heck, I’m 5’5” NOW (and I ain’t growin’ any taller, let me assure you). In high school, I wasn’t just short, I was also pretty meek. I read a lot, raised my hand in class all the time, and spent as much time talking to teachers as I did talking to peers. I was a nerd.

I don’t know when he first targeted me. He was an upperclassman, a year or so ahead of me. At some point he decided I was gonna be his proverbial punching bag. I don’t know why. I don’t care. All I know is that we had Spanish together for a year, and sometime during that year he decided that I was the kid who was going to take his assaults.

At first, it was all verbal. Every day, he would find some reason to call me “gay” or “fag” or “queer”. I didn’t know how to respond. Once or twice maybe I told him to “f*** off”, but guaranteed that didn’t change a thing. The teacher apparently didn’t know how to respond either. If she overheard him calling me something, she’d meekly reprimand him, but that’s about it. It hurt me a lot (and yes, I am gay, I am queer, but that’s beside the point). I don’t know if I cried. I do know that at the time, it made me hate myself, and it made me hate going to class. But I had no choice. I wanted to go to college. I lived in a tiny little town, part of a regional district that took three whole towns to make one high school. My parents couldn’t afford private school. I had no options, I had to stay.

If it had stayed verbal, I probably could have dealt with the assaults. It didn’t. One day I came to class; like any other day I hiked the stairs of the old school, and got to class a little early (I never used my locker… I don’t even remember where it was, but it would have been a joke trying to get to it and then to class without being chewed out for being late). That day, the teacher wasn’t there yet, but he was, as well as most of the class. I think he was waiting for me. I got to the door and he was standing there in the frame. He wouldn’t let me in. I tried to push past him, but he was a good deal bigger than me. I got frustrated, and was about to walk away when he pulled the pointer out.

It was one of those old, three-and-a-half foot long wooden pointers with a bullet-shaped rubber tip, and a short nail in the back end to hang it on the wall, near the chalkboard. He scratched my arm with it. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do. He scratched again, on my other arm. And again. I started to walk away… I don’t know where I thought I was going, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to stand there. When I turned around to leave, he scratched me, HARD, on the back of my neck. I was trying to walk away down the hall when the teacher walked up. She didn’t notice the scratches. I tried to tell her what happened, but she was flustered, and told me to go in and sit down. I did.

After Spanish class, I had lunch. There, my friends noticed the scratches, which were bleeding and swollen. I explained what happened. They told me to go to the nurse… I resisted a bit, but finally agreed and asked some teacher for permission to leave. The nurse was shocked. She put Neosporin on the cuts. She told me she had to tell the principal. I begged her not to; I was so scared. I went back to lunch, and then to my next class. Sometime during that class, I was called to the vice-rincipal’s office. I explained what happened. The vice-principal asked if I wanted to do anything about it. I said yes. His response? If I wanted him to do anything about it, I would have to sit and tell my “side” with the other kid there, next to me. I refused… I was so scared. He said if that was the case, there was nothing he could do. I left. I cried in my next class. Quietly.

When I got home, my parents noticed the cuts. They were really obvious. I told them what happened; my dad was furious. I’ve maybe never seen him so angry. He went into the other room and called the school. I remember him shouting really loudly. He told me when he came back that they’d promised to suspend the other kid. I didn’t feel much better. A little bit, maybe.

The next day, I went to school. The guy who’d cut me was there, too. In Spanish. Walking the halls. The next day, too. And the next. I don’t know who told me, but I asked someone (a teacher, maybe) what was going on. They told me his mom was on the school board, and that she had insisted there was “no way he could have done such a thing!” He was never suspended. He was never punished. I had physical scars for a year. I hated that guy for longer… more years than I’m proud to admit. I wanted some sort of retribution. At some point I let it go, but it tainted – it scarred – a part of my soul for a long time.

Please never take bullying lightly. I recovered. My scars healed, but so often, and for so many, they never do. So many beautiful lives are lost each year to the trauma of bullying. Please, no more. Never again.


#WhenIBegan

If you read all the way through our first-ever Revolutionary Read of the Month post a few days ago, or you’ve been looking around the site recently, you probably saw this mentioned. #WhenIBegan is a hashtag campaign that we’re starting at Collage Colorado… and it needs your help! If you haven’t already, check out the #WhenIBegan hashtag campaign page!

Watch the intro video below!

#WhenIBegan Art Prints Are Here!

They’re here! The first run of (large) #WhenIBegan art prints arrived today, and may we say, they look gorgeous! Check them out in the Facebook Shop; more pictures coming soon!

And of course, watch the video that inspired it!