This week on Melanated Mom Talk, I feel inspired to think differently about having a growth mindset. It is technically back to school time but nothing is routine, especially for the littlest among us. And everyone else has been doing a lot of soul searching and thinking 'is who I wanted to be still aligned with who I should be.'
I personally hope we see boosts in college majors of City Planning so that we can find new ways to defund policing and invest in truly humane systems, organizations, and departments that reflect and address creating sustainably healthy and compassionate communities instead of a punishment based society. I hope we see more Farming and Agriculture concentrations and support small business owners who are inspired by hydroponic gardening, and by harnessing solar and wind powered energy and wind energy. I’m ready for MBAs from the home-grown inventors and natural problem solvers. And I hope we see more Psychology majors to help heal generations of trauma. And not just the visible traumas to black and brown bodies, but the trauma Europeans faced before they fled, coming to this land and inflicting the same traumas on its and other indigenous peoples. We need new ways. New thinking.
So to honor the women who walk in that space daily we welcome my first Mentor, Educator and the Associate Chair of the Journalism and Media Department at Florida International University, Dr. Karla Kennedy to the conversation.
A recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award of Diversity from the University of Oregon and the Morty Schapp Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year award, Dr. Kennedy has spent a lifetime teaching young minds, molding their self worth, and creating the space for a fun, loving, forward moving society and community of thinkers.
Born and raised in the County of Dade, Karla comes from a long line of educators. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Miami, her Master’s Degree from the same institution is she currently the Chair at (full circle) and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Florida.
Having spent her entire professional life helping students find their voice and learn to speak up, Kennedy has hopes of continuing her research on student speech and forming an organization or project for the journalism advisers and students at Florida International University that could help foster First Amendment education, especially within marginalized communities.
Kennedy knows a thing or two about surrendering to your true calling and then committing with your full heart and soul. She has hundreds of students that she has metaphorically mothered, coached and mentored, claiming them- not as her bloodline, but from her "Minds Line". Myself, being one of them. The things that I learned in Ms. Kennedy's television production class back at North Miami Senior High School sparked such joy and wonder in my mind. I felt courageous and equipped to take on the world, and for that I am forever grateful.
She believes there is a right and wrong way to get your point across and that everyone has the potential to effect change. And for Dr. Kennedy there is nothing that compares to seeing that light bulb switch on and the face glow when a student learns something for the first time; when it finally makes sense. And for those moments when the teacher is the student and the student is the teacher.
Dr. Kennedy knows about making the learning hours some of the happiest; happy enough to inspire and dream, happy to leap for the sky and like Zora Neale Hurston said, even if you don’t reach the stars at least you got off the ground.
This podcast episode also features music from “Brown Skin Girl” from The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack and gorgeously visual album. Buy and support their art today!