If you want my professional bio, here it is.
If you want my unprofessional bio, here it is:
I've spent much of my teenage life and all of my adult life working in community to battle a wide range of equity and justice issues. This work represents the absolute entanglement of my spiritual, vocational, artistic, and community lives.
Most people who are familiar with my work are probably familiar with it because I've written a lot of articles and a few books about equity and justice issues like racism and poverty. Truth is, though, I see myself first as a creative writer--as a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction. One of my proudest moments was when Teaching Tolerance created this video of young spoken word poet Gabriela Bovea reciting my poem, Becoming Joey. (See the text of Becoming Joey here.) If I had to pick my favorite piece of my own writing, it would probably be my short creative nonfiction piece, Taco Night.
I spent most of my career, about 20 years, in academia, first as a teacher educator, then creating and running social justice and human rights programs at George Mason University. I left academia in 2018 to run the Equity Literacy Institute (ELI) full time. By a very big margin the best part of running ELI is getting to work with the brilliant (and--excuse my language--badass) ELI team: Katy Swalwell (who co-created the equity literacy framework), Marceline DuBose, Taharee Jackson, Seema Pothini, and Haseena Hamzawala.
After nearly 25 years, I'm still surprised when I'm invited to do a keynote, consult with a school or other organization, or do just about anything else that requires expertise. I don't see myself as an expert, but as part of a vast community of people doing equity and justice work.
I have a daily mindfulness practice. I have a deep love of nature and animals. I am addicted to learning and growing, which is the feeling I followed into my equity and justice life commitments. In high school and college I was a DJ: a house party DJ, then a retro club DJ, then a classic rock radio station DJ. When I was 11 I earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. (My mother, in her mid-70s, is still at it, recently earning her fourth degree black belt.)
I live in Kentucky with my amazing daughter, Mattie, and our cat, Buster.