Food for Thought

CHANGE: Dr. Carla Shedd, Dr. Tressie Cottom and Dr. Cathy Davidson

When you have food for thought, the objective is to chew slowly and eat well. It was no different with the event held on Sep 30 “CHANGE: Making Education More Equitable”, a webinar with Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom acclaimed author, sociologist at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Carla Shedd, professor of sociology and urban education at The Graduate Center and author, and moderated by Dr. Cathy Davidson, founding director of the Futures Initiative. The truths that the all-woman scholar panel served filled the Leaders with candid truths that allowed them reflect, realign, reaffirm and reject. Here are some excerpts from their posts. Eat well: 

“I understand why teachers are hesitant to not allow students to take control of the classroom. However, I believe many teachers don’t acknowledge that the classroom belongs to the students’. Dr. Cathy Davidson spoke about the curriculum being differentiated…The system has to also understand as Dr. Davidson said that the ‘one-size-fits-all’ is not for students or teachers.”
Akampreet Kaur  

“In the talk with Tressie McMillan Cottom & Carla Shedd, it was truly the very, very end that resonated with me. It has only been this semester, after [two] and a half years of college, that I have had the pleasure of having a Black Woman professor as a mentor for a fellowship:
Let alone never having one as a professor in the classroom.”
–Kai Mora

“Whether it was powerful sentences from Tressie McMillan like ‘Your job isn’t to change the institution, the job is to not let it change you’, ‘extract as much from the institution more than what they’re doing to you’, and ‘People will encourage you to forget where you came from, don’t let it break you.’ This resonated with me because these are words that everyone doesn’t have the privilege to hear and internalize. In the webinar, Carla Shedd mentioned the unfortunate situation that many students at Georgia State University face. She gave a concerning statistic that stated students were seven times more likely to drop out because of money, not because they couldn’t handle the work. The determinant for them was two hundred dollars. This statistic made me truly grateful for the opportunities I am afforded.”
Moses Matos

“‘The institutions cannot love you’ the brilliant Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom would say right before the schools closed down across the country. The ivory tower of academia asks you to look critically at the world yet never reflect that objective analysis back onto itself. What will change if we simply ‘survive’ through this? What will we really learn?”
Lindsey Gatrell

“I believe it was Professor [Cottom] who stated, in regards to higher education that, ‘It only works if it works for everybody.’ When I heard that quote it reminded me very much of another quote by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer who stated, ‘Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’ But I think the reason why that quote resonated with me was not only because it touched on the need for collectivism but it also pointed to the fact that some private troubles are indeed public issues.”
Sharifa Thompson


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309