Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Something's Got To Give: Transforming the Role of Whiteness in Learning Communities

Dr Virginia Lea, Babatunde Lea, Elena Featherston, Dr. Jean Ishibashi, Henri Norris, Alexandria Featherston-Gomez.

In most North American schools teachers do not reflect their students. Most teachers identify themselves as "white, middle class, standard English speakers and nonresidents of their school neighborhoods." In these respects, they are considered outsiders by the students they teach. This colloquium will address ways "whiteness" is recognized, addressed, negotiated, and transformed for the benefit of the larger learning communities. Popular educators join teacher educators of all colors to share stories of how they have transformed power relations constructed by their internalized "whiteness" to effectively overcome obstacles to learning. The storytelling will include live music, video and audio presentations.


Dr Virginia Lea  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Education
Literacy Studies and Elementary Education, School of Education
Sonoma State University

Dr. Virginia Lea is an Assistant Professor of Education at Sonoma State University, a California State university north of San Francisco. She teaches courses in Multicultural Education and the Social Sciences, The Reflective Educator, and School and Society. Virginia coordinates “Project Quest,” an alternative, integrated American Multicultural Studies degree and elementary teaching credential program, offered by Sonoma State in collaboration with Solano Community College. Virginia is also the co-founder and President of the Educultural Foundation, a California nonprofit organization that teaches critical thinking about social and cultural issues through the arts.

Babatunde Lea  (United States)

Educultural Foundation

Elena Featherston  (United States)

New Ways To Learn

Elena Featherston is a multicultural trainer, writer, filmmaker, and educator. She is the editor of Skin Deep: Women Writing on Color, Culture & Identity, an anthology of women’s writings on race, ethnicity, and culture, the producer/director of Alice Walker: Visions of the Spirit, a documentary on Walker’s life and works. As Elena Featherston & Associates, a “collaborative” of cross-cultural consultants, educators, mediators and trainers committed she works to help clients create and maintain just and equitable, personal and professional multicultural relationships, workplaces and educational communities.

Dr. Jean Ishibashi  (United States)
Interdisciplinary Studies in Education
San Francisco State University

Oral historian, herstorian, and ourstorian who uncovers different knowledge for self-determination and liberation

Henri Norris  (United States)

Henri E. Norris is a film producer/distributor/exhibitor and attorney. She was mentored by Marian Wright Edelman, Founder of the Children's Defense Fund. She is the co-founder of TransCultural Communications, Inc. the first independent producer to be paid by PBS for the airing of a television show. Ms. Norris founded New Millennia Films and has served as the Executive Producer for "Naked Acts," a feature length film that explores women's body image issues and exposes childhood sexual abuse. New Millennia Film was created to be the independent distributor for "Follow Me Home," an award winning film that premiered at the Sundance Film festival and went on to win Best Screenplay and Best Film in the Native American Film Festival, as well as the audience award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Alexandria Featherston-Gomez  (United States)

Alexandria Featherston-Gomez is a high school student, activist and writer. As an "end-user" and stakeholder in the education industry; she is on the front lines of the culture wars and one of many canaries in the mine shaft of public “MacSchool” education in the United States. Ms. Featherston-Gomez offers an often silenced and discredited voice in the struggle for equitable, just and meaningful education – that the activist student

  • whiteness
  • transformation

(90 min. Colloquium, English)