Cecelia Jordan believes that true activism lies in the hopes of revolutionary forms of reasoning by the youth — a set of thinking tools to re-imagine a more just and peaceful society. She relocated to The Bay Area from Austin, Texas in 2015 to continue her work as a restorative justice practitioner in schools and in communities.
In Austin, she taught elementary and middle school students how to think critically by engaging her school community in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Restorative Justice practices, which extend far beyond the walls of a school building. Cecelia leverages her pedagogy to address the atrocities of institutional violence and socioeconomic traumas that are ever-present in Oakland in particular, and in contemporary American society more broadly. She has been a History teacher at Oakland’s Ralph Bunche Continuation High school and is currently a restorative practices coordinator for Catholic Charities East Bay at Roots International in East Oakland.
An artivist and 2016 Team Oakland Grand Slam Champ, Cecelia ranked 15th at the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam and 5th at the 2017 National Poetry Slam as a member of the Roots Slam Team. Cecelia uniquely uses poetry and music as two primary forms of visual and performance art to practice healing justice as she simultaneously works to dismantle the intersectional tangling that systemic oppression renders within groups of people, inside of institutions and beyond. As a member of the CIRCLES film Impact Team, she facilitates community trainings and is currently working toward her Master of Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) degree at the University of San Francisco’s Transformational School Leadership program.
Her poem speaks for itself… clarity, power, wisdom, insight, strength. All of it proof that Cecelia is part of the societal stirrings as the next social movement emerges. Here is the text so you can fully absorb all the details.
A-block US history
West Oakland’s last chance high school.
This is “Alternative education.”
It's the end of the day on Thursday
They spin like tops hopped up on arizona sweet tea, hot cheetos and sour candy
The adult control part in me wonders how we will ever learn today
The painted shut windows block the air from the stuffy room
Brandon- It's too hot
Alayshia- Nuh uh im cold
Jaye- Put on your sweatshirt fool
Melvin- Why you always got something to say somebody man
Man hold up y’all let me take a breath
You know the routine 4, 7, 8
Breathe in peace, hold 7 seconds for the homies who aint made it exhale 8 seconds, long steady sigh let go of that stress now one more again… you feel that calm. Your prefrontal cortex cant function of the vortex of this angst..we breathe to learn, we breathe to overcome we breathe cuz trump is president and that man rather see us locked up or dead our breath is an act of revolution..
Leyley- Ms Jordan you hella crazy
Alright journals out, where do you see modern day slavery?
Romelle- in school, they don’t want us to learn shit
We laugh get back to talking smack actively re-writing history on the daily
reclaiming spaces that were made to oppress us
the free styling, pre-wild meme vibe is the warmup.
We create a realm where authenticity is survival your presence is vital for our communal success
So whether with Legos or writing on the desk
All of us will learn today
This is not a lesson but a survivor’s manual
We are on the frontlines of the war on poverty and
schools wanna fight over cell phones sagged pants
Ignore advanced intellect to enforce mediocre education
Yes I am angry because
Richie taught me the hyphy is the rebellion
His don't give a fuck attitude is where we failed him
So A block is my mind decolonized
My thoughts realigned to existing in community not as a teacher but a guide
Our school is the last stop shop on the school to prison pipeline
The youth are more woke then Zinn, or Chomsky, any post modern philosophy
This is hood philology
On ancestral prophecies
With memories sanctioned by history
And we feel justice despite never having seen it
It is the root
It is the truth it is the bloom that grows through pounds of concrete like hip hop through the Cross Bronx Expressway
Like maya through the Jim Crow south
I’m in a room of raw intellect criminalized talent misunderstood radicals
We are home in this classroom
Chemonie- Listen yo... Brother Noah chill I got an idea we should make a movie bout modern day slavery, suspend a kid then call it the continuation
Aaliyah- end it with a circle where we talk about getting kicked out
Kevin- hell yeah I’ll play the principal
Jaye- post it on insta make it go viral
This is what free education is
They are not checkboxes of at risk behavior these are babies dropped off at the firehouse of education where the people in power perfectly create equations to hide this...
Brilliance and love of your fellow sisters and brothers
We are sisters and brothers
Will they see our kids as sisters and brothers? Leaders and legends… keepers of presence they be preaching me lessons
No wonder they underfund us
The opposite of poverty is not wealth, it is justice
I Imagine a world where A-block writes laws and policies through love and democracy
Like brothers and sisters let this be the prophecy
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