Reclaiming Identities Through Migrant Literature

For as long as I can remember – at least since I began implementing servant leadership in the classroom to increase engagement – students have served as Discussant, Oracle, Colombo and Mr/s. Rogers. This semester, wanting to underscore activism, I changed the names of the roles to Perpetrator, Rescuer, Bystander and Survivor. Originally, perpetrate simply meant ‘to commit’. My goal is to inspire myself and others to commit to scholarship, compassion and transformation. A short description of each role (from the syllabus) is included at the end of this post. The purpose for this writing is to share what today’s Perpetrator invited us to consider and my response to her question.

What do you expect to learn about the culture / background you identify with?

“I identify with a culture of once-apathetic-now engaged activists. I hope to learn the steps from apathy to activism so I can blog about them and make a scalable model for educators who want their disciplines to matter to the species beyond the 21st century. (Note: It’s freewriting, so nothing is too off the wall to include.)

Why is being a species-level thinker so important to me? First I should define what a species-level thinker is. A species-level thinker is one who knows who she is as well as who she might appear to be in various contexts from various Big 8 Little 4 perspectives, and continues to think about the whole and moving toward pro social ends using pro social means.

It’s one thing to be a do-gooder but another to make a greater difference than sleeping with a clear conscience. Wrecked, by Jeff Goins, helps to clarify the distinction. I wonder if the Gipsy Kings-like music is distracting to others’ writing. So why is it that important to me that I and other educators unleash such initiative in the most effective and strategic ways possible? Because I believe life is beautiful and that the challenges we face as a species will require all of us to solve or take all of us out.

I look to the clouds and see the footprints of God in all His glory. I wonder why people don’t look up and take notice in much the same way [Shug] in the Color Purple said:

I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.  Shug

It’s a pity when lives are so embattled and people so submerged that we don’t notice the beauty of everyday things around us and within one another. There’s loud drumming in the next classroom drowning out the Alto (?) sax crooning in ours through Pandora…”

We went on to discuss the identities people hoped to learn about and whether what we believe is as important as why we believe it.


Service Roles Described:

  • Perpetrator: Selects in-class writing & dyad (paired discussion) topics related to the assigned reading /activities for the week. Moderates class discussion.  See Conversational Roles in Course Resources.
  • Bystander: Summarizes daily activities and upcoming assignments 10 minutes before end of class. Opens Thursday class by following up on Tuesday’s Discovery & Intention while Perpetrator is writing topic on the board.
  • Rescuer: Takes notes during class and posts to Service Notes discussion Board in Angel; collects week’s attendance, emails absent members. This prevents absentees from asking the instructor, what did I miss.
  • Survivor:  Serves as translator, time and peace-keeper to keep class on schedule. Observes class to identify random acts scholarship to be celebrated and muddy moments to be clarified. Reports before Bystander’s summary.

Raw Notes from the 3rd National Summit on Working Women

The Women’s Bureau, the Summit’s organizer, is 92 years old.

Some 72 million women are either working or looking for work in the United States.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis
Works to end domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and increase Green Initiatives.

Dr. David Micheals from OSHA in DC addressed the audience regarding current efforts to increase health and safety of American workers.

How do economics, education, immigration affect women?

Lily Ledbetter Pay Act was signed into law by President Obama January of 2009.

Let’s level the playing field.

Stating the obvious:

Robbing a woman of her earning ability is eroding society. Dr. Karen Urbina

Office of Federal Contract Compliance

Explore the White House Council on Women & Girls to engage in competitive, non-traditional careers.

A nation can’t under-develop 50% of a population and reach its full potential. – Dr. Karen Urbina


Gender Gap App screenshot

Women veterans enter a male environment when seeking help for assault. They also often return from tours of duty to homeless families.

Technical training and what the business community wants are the wave of the future. $2 billion in TAA funding available for expansion of such programs.

Literacy efforts and collaboration with community-based organizations are also necessary. How can we provide services and advocacy in environments that are not intimidating?

How can we empower women & members of vulnerable communities  to know and access their rights without fear of retribution? More needs to be done to prevent injuries in beautification, home healthcare, and other industries where women workers predominate.

Hiring, wages and family care leave are other areas where Department of Labor is working.


To improve employability, redundant workers must get help translating skills and life/work experience credits.

Free Trauma Guide is available for churches and other community-based organizations.

Enhancing STEM skills and participating in renewable energy are a place to start.

In Their Own Words a vIdeo clip on Working Women in Vulnerable populations

OSHA’s Dr. David Michaels

There’s an OSHA Training Institute @ CSN

OSHA is 40+ years old. In that time their work has reduced the death rate from 38 to 13 fatalities daily.

Brazilian Blow-out contains formaldehyde which has been linked to several diseases.

One in six career-destroying, life-changing injuries take place in healthcare-related industries where women are a majority of the workforce.

Dr. Michael’s plea: Remember the sometimes invisible workers as we push toward progress as a nation. Everyone should have a safe job with a fair wage.

We know how to prevent injuries to healthcare workers. Doing so is essential to taking care of patients.

The number 1 reason the Women’s Bureau gets calls is pregnancy discrimination which can take many forms.

Pay discrimination is the next biggest issue. Over a lifetime 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar earned by a man adds up to a $400,000 difference which often leads to raising children in poverty and retiring in poverty.

Check out their Equal pay app.