February 05, 2021

Many Threads, One Fabric: 'Embracing Racial and Cultural Diversity'

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  NYSUT Communications
juana bordas

'Embracing Racial and Cultural Diversity'
A Virtual Conversation with Dr. Juana Bordas

With NYSUT Secretary Treasurer Philippe Abraham and a panel of special guest educators: Preya Krishna-Kennedy, Bethlehem Central Teachers Association; Dora Leland, Horseheads Teachers Association; Samantha Rosado-Ciriello, Yonkers Federation of Teachers; and Wayne White, Bellport Teachers Association.

Author and activist Juana Bordas encouraged listeners to help create a world of “the leader as equal.”

Where materialism and acquisition will shift to sharing and generosity.

Where “it’s not about ‘me’ it’s about ‘we,’’’ she said in hopeful cadence.

Bordas, a nationally recognized Latina leader and wisdom keeper, spoke at the fourth installment of the “Many Threads, One Fabric,” town hall series on embracing racial and cultural diversity hosted by NYSUT in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers. Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary-treasurer, is leading the series.

Bordas called on examples from different cultures to show how community can be built for the good of all, not just those at the top. In today’s dominant hierarchy, those at the top have influence, power and money. The current culture is about “I.” This has created a world where, in Los Angeles alone, there are 60,000 homeless people, Bordas said. It is a culture that has not put children first.

In the coming multicultural age, Bordas said, leaders will still exist but they will be “guardians of public value. Every single person has a key role to play,” she said. “Democracy and getting people access are so important.”

To help create this shift, Bordas said it is important for people to understand and know where they have come from. She called on the visual of the sankofa, a bird with its feet facing forward, an egg in its mouth as it looks backward. This African art is about the importance of reaching back to find knowledge gained from the past and bringing it into the present to help make progress.

Bordas is a recipient of the International Leadership Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and a best-selling author on leadership and diversity. Many of her comments evolved from her book Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age. Receive an educator discount when you use code Teacher20 by Feb. 14.

juana bordas