A Reflection on the Past Year & the Year Ahead by Denise Boneta and valerie guerrero

This years ACPA conference marks our, valerie & Denise’s, one year of being co-coordinators for the Commission for Social Justice Educators Blog. We wanted to use this space and week to reflect on what the past year has been like for us, the questions that have come up for us and others, and hopes we have for moving the blog forward.

Worries
Taking on the blog was a bit of a scary challenge. Managing something that people across the nation and globe access and read weekly comes with just a bit of pressure.

What if we weren’t able to find 52 professionals (one for each week of the year) from all over to commit to writing a piece? What if no one “shared” the links and posts and we stopped expanding this incredibly important discussion? What if it all just became unrelatable or self-perpetuating?

Despite some sporadic moments of panic, overall, we feel the blog has had a great run so far and we’re looking forward to the year ahead! As concerns or questions about spreading the word about the blog or reflecting the vast array of educators committed to social justice work have popped up, we have consistently been amazed and encouraged by the power of the blog readers and people’s eagerness to share or tag others after reading a post. We feel honored to be able to manage a blog that is enriched weekly by the words of empowering and inspiring colleagues from various stages of their student affairs careers. We are constantly thanking our contributors, but once again want to thank all of the amazing SA professionals that have been in contact with us and have connected themselves to the blog. This blog would be an empty wordpress page without your minds, creativity and content. You’ve all been so wonderful to be in contact with and get to know through your emails and your entries!

Victories and Validation
​“I don’t have anything “important enough” to say…”
​“I am just a grad student…”
​“Do I need to use APA???”
“Well, what I do isn’t “really” social justice/grounded in a social justice theoretical framework…”
“Can someone make sure it’s worth reading??”

Besides our own worries as coordinators, potential blog posters are frequently sharing their own trepidation about writing for the blog. Despite the initial fears, folks continually tell us they have loved the process and the result of sharing and connecting with colleagues. That feeling of validation is exactly why CSJE has created this space. Similarly, one thing we have loved about the coordinator position is talking about the blog in passing with folks both in and out of the field and having those people note that they are avid readers of the blog. Another fun “victory” is seeing a blog that you have received and helped edit with its author go viral on Facebook and get shared by at least 8 of your “friends” as something that is a “must-read.” We get incredibly excited because not only is the “result” quelling the worries of our authors, but we feel we’re witnessing an informal assessment that the blog is working and reaching its goal. Educators are able to easily access thought-processes and practices from colleagues at various institutions around the intersection between social justice and student affairs and be an ongoing source of support and growth for one another. For many readers, the coordinators included, this blog serves as a source of validation- validation of frustration, our own perspectives and lived experiences, and the challenging but rewarding work that we give so much of our selves and time to.

The Future
We’re looking forward to big things in the upcoming years surrounding the blog! We hope to continue expanding our readership and sharing the amazing knowledge and experiences of educators working towards justice into both campus and local communities across the U.S and beyond. The blog also serves as a platform for colleagues from all walks of their professional life to have a place to write, vent and be heard. If you have ever wondered if you could or should ever contribute, the answer is YES! We’re looking for both new and returning writers for the upcoming year to foster new discussions and shine light on issues or topics we may not yet understand or be involved in. We want the conversation to not only continue, but to grow and we know that there are so many people we have yet to connect with. The dedication is as big as you commit to it being. Writing for the blog is a one-time commitment and there are no detailed guidelines or restrictions about what you post besides representing the intersection between student affairs and social justice education- two areas of thought and practice that range tremendously.

We hope you are enjoying conference if you are here, and would love to meet anyone here who is interested in learning more. You can contact us about either meeting or discussing the potential of you being a contributor to the blog at vguerrero@allegheny.edu and dboneta@nyu.edu.

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