My father taught me how to swim in the shallow waters of Long Island Sound. I tried to relax as he supported my seven-year old frame with two arms. At first, when he slid them away, I crumpled, going under. Eventually though, under his patient tutelage, I learned how to trust the water would buoy me.
Like most New Yorkers, my husband and I knew that finding an appropriate school for our son was not going to be a cakewalk. Negotiating the New York City school system is practically a rite of passage for parents who live here. But while most parents seek a school that satisfies traditional criteria such as high test scores and general academic achievement, I had an additional standard in mind as we explored nearly two dozen schools: I wanted to find a school for my son where he would would have peers and mentors who are black.