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How Trauma Informs My Friend’s Work

There are some pieces that everyone should take the time to read and my friend and fellow education advocate Keri Rodriguez just wrote one of them. We all come to our life’s work from a different place, whether one of privilege or one of not getting what we needed in school. But Keri, aka EduMom, comes to the work from a very painful place. A place of trauma. And she channels her experience every day in her very personal, and professional, fight for kids.

There was no privacy. Always a monitor outside the bathroom. No razors allowed to shave your legs unless an aide sat in the bathroom with you — out of fear that one of us would kill ourselves. During my time there three girls tried.

I was a tough kid, but I was a band geek. I threw myself into the concert band, chorus, orchestra, jazz band and honors choir. I was a first seat MMEA Northeast District and All-State concert percussionist and cellist and was forbidden to practice at “home.” My room was ransacked and what little I had of value was stolen — including my beloved CD player and my gold and silver medals from the New England Conservatory of Music. My performance award from the Berklee was smashed into pieces and waiting for me one day after school.  (Twenty-five years later, that is still an excruciating paragraph for me to write.)

These were the only things that proved I was worth anything at all in the world — the only things that justified my existence. Gone. I began to withdraw. I was angry. I was depressed. I was lost. And invisible.

Keri and I have joined forces in the hope that we can give parents a platform and a seat at the table where decisions about their children are made. Our backgrounds couldn’t be more different but we share some pretty important things: We are both moms of three boys and we are both totally committed to getting all children the quality schools they deserve and have been promised for far too long by a system that continues to let them down.

Keri, Rodolfo, and me (Erika) at Fields Corner Business Lab in Dorchester talking about getting kids what they need. And deserve.
Keri, Rodolfo, and me (Erika) at Fields Corner Business Lab in Dorchester talking about getting kids what they need. And deserve.

You’d be crazy not to click here to read Keri’s full story.

Follow her on Twitter @radiokeri

Check out the organization she has just launched, Massachusetts Parents United, here. 

What do you think?

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