As a white person, I will never know the sting of racial aggression, micro or macro, but I can learn to recognize my biases, to educate myself and even dare, as Rankine's brilliant work suggests, "to see in color."
Weeks of hard work, revision and practice have gone into creating a blockbuster group poem of Detroit pride, affirmation, social critique -- a manifesto of youthful determination and hope for a better future, no matter what.
In the eyes of some, such as CBS's 60 Minutes, we are led to believe Detroit is akin to "Mogadishu.'' But I am proud that our work, and that of so many other committed Detroiters, paints a truer picture.
Like educators around the country, I feel that Sandy Hook Elementary is my school and its children are my children. In our calls for action, we must take care of our souls and remember that while they may not solve, words can be a balm during hard times.
As teachers, we touch many lives. Sometimes we know the effect, but often we do not. When I received an email from a former InsideOut student, now a Teach for America trainee, I had the pleasure of spreading the word to a very special teacher.
I have long felt that our students have a somewhat different relationship to their city than children in other parts of the country, that they take Detroit as their muse and that the city actually becomes a character in their work.