CHAPTER ONE Framing the Core Issue Dr. Vincent Harding was a civil rights leader and historian who fought for change and social justice. In an interview with Krista Tippett on the radio show On Being (Tippett 2011), Harding called for the importance of working alongside or with those we serve. He suggested that it would behoove educa- tors to consider standing in the darkness with the students who are in “so- called marginalized” communities. He stated: That would help them to see the possibilities for themselves. I’ve always felt that one of the things that we do badly in our educational process, espe- cially working with so-called marginalized young people, is that we edu- cate them to figure out how quickly they can get out of the darkness and get into some much more pleasant situation when what is needed again and again are more and more people like Gene who will stand in that dark- ness, who will not run away from those deeply hurt communities and will open up possibilities that other people can’t see in any other way except seeing it through human beings who care about them. And if we teach young people to run away from the darkness rather than to open up the light in the darkness, to be the candles, the signposts, then we are doing great harm to them and the communities that they have come out of. In this way, educators may be able to stand with students to acknowledge where they are and help them grapple with their situation and get to where they want to be. So much of what we explore in this book is about how to be near our students, to see them for who they are—including their skills and experiences—rather than trying to pull them out from where they are. Changing the students is not a sustainable solution rather, educators must involve themselves in changing the landscape of higher education to make it more accessible to a wider variety of students. Educators, including library
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