Wanting a better life for her family, my mother uprooted us to move to Denver when I was 11. Contrarily, her own parents had ripped her from Park Hill Elementary at the same age 33 years prior in the 1960s “white flight” migration. Always burdened by this blatant racism, my mother told us, “We’re moving straight to Denver, and you girls will learn the value of diversity.”
I attended Merrill and Cole middle schools and Manual High School, the latter two hosting the burgeoning Denver School of the Arts.
Unlike my tiny town in upstate New York, DPS offered me a side of society I’d never seen: racial violence in forced-integration hallways, a Chicano Mathletics coach, and a set of friends from multiple races, language backgrounds, and family dynamics. DSA offered me a spotlight into the world of LGBTQ acceptance and the privilege of the most inspirational teacher anyone could ever imagine–Mrs. Jana Clark.
Mrs. Clark and DPS are the reasons I became a teacher and the reason I came back to this district after teaching stints elsewhere.
Because Denver is my microcosm of what the world could be. What my mother wanted and what I was lucky enough to proclaim: I am a DPS graduate. I am a DPS parent. I am a DPS teacher.
DPS represents our world. Its teachers represent DPS.
Listen to the teachers. Their right to strike is your right to make this city the one we want to fly to, not fly from.