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Rooted in the Resilience of Family

The noun of self becomes a verb. This flashpoint of creation in the present moment is where work and play merge.
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Kelly Ramsey opens her essay in Stories of Resistance:

I am ... a descendent from a proud people rooted in social justice and servant leadership.

I am from the Bay Area: Berkeley, San Francisco, and Oakland, California, are the roots that raised me. My ancestors were rooted in the Chickasha, Oklahoma, Bakersfield, California, Houston, and Waxahachi, Texas lands.

I am from the African-American culture, Cherokee nation, French, and Blackfoot Indigenous people.

I am filled with verbal storytelling traditions, foods made from scratch and filled with love, evening dialogue with everyone represented, kitchen chatter in the background, deep discussions in the foreground, children playing board games in the midst.

Ramsey moves fluidly from declaring "I am…" to sharing her professional experiences and insights. Later, she notes:

I realized in order to serve children, I must partner with families and learn from them. My books gave me ideas, but now I was moving to places where reflection and dialogue were needed, to propel programs forward. I started to create a library of reflective practices. I sought conferences that would nurture the idea that we are co-contributors to learning, when learning is a collaborative process. The settings I worked in were traditional child care programs, but my classrooms and thoughts transcended the traditional and dared to take risks and test boundaries.

My journey returned me to my own childhood and parents, who allowed me space, time, and experiences to learn through and grow. This foundation supported the experiences I offered to children and families, and helped me to establish my own philosophy rooted in the resilience of families.

Kelly Ramsey, along with Stories of Resistance editor Alissa Mwenelupembe, and co-authors authors Crystal Sanford-Brown, Meghan Green, and Rukia Monique Rogers will present at the NAEYC national conference next week. Visit the Exchange Press at booth #1517 and enter to win a signed copy of their book!

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