I teach 2nd grade at an urban public school. And today’s virtual lesson was about Central Message which is the life lesson the author of a text is trying to instill.

To deepen their content knowledge, I read a book called Say Something by Peter Reynolds. It’s a compelling picture book that centers the importance of young people using their voices to make a difference. The book states, “if you see an injustice, say something.” I came to a halt at this crucial point in the story, and galvanized my students to use their voice and teeth to address any…


My students gather on the carpet, waiting for their turn to return to the computer.
My students gather on the carpet, waiting for their turn to return to the computer.

Before the inception of the novel coronavirus, public schools had a visceral experience of the now scrutinized digital divide.

As a public school educator, I personally witnessed this division. Over the past 4 years, I have asked my students if they had access to a laptop or a desktop computer from home. Virtually all of their responses were always an incessant, “No.” But my students were always resourceful; I only had three reliable desktops, but they would gather together, two or three at time, on the same computer.

Occasionally, they quarreled over our scarce supply of computers — but I…


If I were to name one of my fears, it would be, seeing police lights gather in my car while my son is perched in the backseat.

I lived this fear when a cop on a motorcycle barricaded the street where I was driving, I came to an abrupt halt, and the officer’s lights danced on my son’s face like shadows from fireworks.

We made a right turn onto a different street, an attempt to maneuver around the cop, but we couldn’t proceed due to another cop blocking the street. …

Quartez Harris

is the author of the debut full-length collection “We Made It To School Alive,” He is an educator and lives in Cleveland Ohio with his son.

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