Research Highlights Affiliated with EduSpirit 2020

Cristina Santamaría Graff, Ph.D.

This year I have been engaged in many research projects and community-engaged scholarship that involve working with families of children with dis/abilities, particularly Latina/o/x immigrant families. Though some of this scholarship can be found under the ABOUT tab, under Cristina’s work, I would like to take a moment to highlight scholarship that is also affiliated with EduSpirit – either directly (as in book chapter below) or indirectly (with Dr. Lorri Many Rivers Johnson, who I interviewed for EduSpirit in 2017).

In the chapter titled, “How Do We Arm Ourselves With Love? Examining ‘Armed Love’ Through Educators’ Critical Conversations in an Online Platform, I describe EduSpirit.org as a vehicle for addressing how to mend a fractured educational system through critical conversations centered on education through the lens of love. This is an “armed love” (Freire, 2005, p. 74), a radical and fierce one, through which educators contend with and confront deep-seeded fears that threaten to paralyze action and continued movement forward (Fisher, 2017). This love is also a “force that enhances our overall effort to be self-actualizing … it can provide an epistemological grounding informing how we know what we know” (hooks, 1994, p. 195) of ourselves as both individuals and as educators. bell hook’s (1994) descriptive reflections on self-actualization provide meaningful context for educators who want to enact love, but who may not understand that one’s inner well-being is essential in assisting others in their own self-empowerment. These insights along with other authors’ interpretations of radical love are useful in situating five educators’ lived experiences in transgressing boundaries that impede their ability to “respect and care for the souls of our students” (p. 13). Through qualitative methods, I examine the ways in which these educators advocate for their students, combat systemic inequities, and transcend grief or illness for the purposes of creating spaces of well-being in personal and professional spaces. In other words, how do they embody and enact armed love? These educators’ stories unfold through dialogue captured in publicly accessible, video blogs.

United We Stand

The Role of Spirituality in Engaging and Healing Communities

Edited by:
Dannielle Joy Davis, Saint Louis University

A volume in the series: Contemporary Perspectives on Spirituality in Education. Editor(s): Dannielle Joy Davis, Saint Louis University.

Published 2021

Segments of society are drawing upon their faith and spirituality to develop strategies to mend social relationships and fragmented communities. The Contemporary Perspectives on Spirituality in Education book series will feature volumes geared towards understanding and exploring the role of spirituality in addressing challenge, conflict, and marginalization within education in the U.S. and internationally.

Other scholarship I have been engaged in collaboratively with Dr. Lorri Many Rivers Santamaría is our work on Co-Decolonizing Methodologies. Co-Decolonizing work is distinctive from Decolonizing work in that Lorri and I, as scholars of Color, acknowledge that our positionalities (Black Creole and Bi-racial Mexicana heritages, respectively) in relation to indigenous peoples locate us as co-conspirators in the dismantling of oppressive colonialist ideologies and practices. We cannot claim we are enacting decolonizing research because we have not experienced what it is to have our land taken from us, to be dispossessed by unfair and insidious treaties, and to be displaced in direct and personal ways. That said, as mother-scholars of Color, we recognize other ways we – individually and as a larger collective – have been colonized – mind, body, and soul – by white hegemony and its continued destructiveness.

On September 15, 2020 we had the honor and privilege to present at the AERA Virtual Research Learning Series. We co-presented with Mixteca/Indígena co-researchers as well as with Dr. Darold Joseph, Dr. Jenny Lee-Morgan, and Latosha Rowley (Ph.D. candidate at IUPUI).

Through this presentation, many artifacts were produced including an interactional workbook (please check out this eBook!), PowerPoints, and conceptual framings around unlearning colonizing research methods to ensure conscious and deliberate practice of decolonizing and co-decolonizing methodologies. Below is a helix model that I created to demonstrate the movement from these colonizing methodological practices to ones that are participatory, humanizing, and co-decolonizing. Please use this citation for the image below:

Santamaría Graff, C. (2020). Unlearning, (re)membering and (re)imagining (futures) helix. Co-decolonizing research methods: Toward research sustaining indigenous and ‘other’ community engaged ways of knowing. EduSpirit, LLC. Retrieved from: https://eduspirit.org/2020/12/06/research-highlights-affiliated-with-eduspirit-2020/

Arms

By Cristina Santamaría Graff

Dedicated to those whose lives were taken in a moment of anguish, confusion, and rage at Parkland High School on February 14, 2018.

In honor of surviving students who have armed themselves with fierce love to speak out against gun legislation that has set the stage for immense violence against humanity.

With love,

signature-use

Arms

My arms,

outstretched,

she runs into my embrace.

Trembling, her fists pound my back,

more like raindrops than hail, they are

expressions rather than deliverers of pain.

 

My arms,

They bring comfort to her unsettled heart,

POUND, Pound, pound…

“Shhhhhhh, quiet now. The gunfire is over.”

Her arms,

they shield her face,

hands cover her ears.

“I can hear the screaming,” she mouths.

 

My arms,

they carry notebooks and pens,

extra paper for José, a calculator for Bella.

Dry erase marker etchings line my forearms and fingertips,

once again forgetting to cap the tops.

 

My arms,

They dole out high-fives,

handshakes at the classroom door, Kleenex, wipes, stickers, fist bumps, and hugs.

My arms,

always moving,

to show, to demonstrate, to examine, to analyze, to assess, to teach.

 

Your arms,

full of fire and misplaced rage.

You project your despair on the innocent,

You know no other way.

Your arms aim and shoot,

the more the better – this is your plan.

 

Their arms,

in the air, on the floor, under the desks,

begging, pleading.

They are just arms, another target to shoot at.

 

Your arms,

AR-15s – powerful, mighty, righteous.

They become God.

You are the messenger, the deliverer of pain.

 

Your arms,

now hang nonchalantly at your side.

They buy you a drink at Subway.

 

Our arms.

Our truth.

What arms do we bear?

What arms us?

What do we choose to be armed with?

Are we bearers of fear?

Do we arm ourselves with love?

Can we bear our own truths, our own fears?

Can we bear the reality we are creating?

 

Our arms,

our minds, our hearts, our consciousness.

We have the right to bear TRUTH,

to confront the lies,

to stand up for each other,

to live and choose LOVE.

 

Our arms,

They can write new beginnings.