Fighting Microaggressions with Fire

At the Martinez Fellowship Seminar 2, Fellows unpacked a heavy topic: Microaggressions in Work Culture. By definition, a microaggression is an ‘indirect, subtle, or intentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group.’ During the seminar, Fellows learned to differentiate between various types of microaggression, how to address insults, and begin healing from them. In the final exercise, Fellows confronted their most hurtful microaggressions made against them with fire They wrote the incident down on paper and then burned it to symbolize regaining control and letting go. As the day came to an end, we asked them what most resonated with them from the day.

“I feel like I learned a lot about myself and how to deal with microaggressions and also what other people are dealing with. It’s nice to unpack that and talk about it with others.”

– JAWAD FRANGIEH, COHORT 11

“I think what it really defined for me is my role as a teacher and having to be an advocate no matter how exhausted I am. I needed that advocate when I was a kid. I only had a black teacher for the first time when I was in community college so I think I need to be that person.”

– MACKENZIE BOLAR, COHORT 11

“Coming here and going through this has been super refreshing for me. Especially this time of year, it’s helpful for me to be filled up by other people that look and think like me. [Now], I can communicate with my colleagues and let them know, when they say certain things, how it’s being received and why it’s hurtful.”

– AIMEE DEVAUGHN, COHORT 6

“Just making connections about similar experiences and really being able to validate each other’s feelings  and show we’ve been there too really resonated with me and reminded me why I enjoy being a part of the Martinez Family.”

– JENNIFER DIEP, COHORT 8

Through the Martinez Fellowship Program, TAF recruits and retains teachers of color to improve representation in Washington State’s classrooms and create more equitable learning environments for all students. Fellows receive professional development and membership to a community of educators with shared experiences. Currently, there are 182 Fellows in 117 Washington State public schools. On average, our Martinez Fellows remain in the teaching profession at least five years — two years longer than the national average for teachers of color.

Learn more about the Martinez Fellowship.

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Students get hi-fives from TAF staff as they walk out of Boze for the summer