South Carolina to San Francisco: the path we share

in-lak-ech-posterRecently, I spoke at two conferences over two weekends. In one week, I traveled across the expanse of land that is the US– but more specifically across the scope of experience that is the US. I traveled through time and space and culture to South Carolina for the Third Annual Latino Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Literacies Conference and returned back home to San Francisco for the Teachers for Social Justice Conference, 2 blocks away from my home, here in the Mission District, my hood.

Two events so close together, naturally spoke to one another. South Carolina to San Francisco. Right coast to left coast. 150 registered to nearly 1500 registered. Closing keynote to workshop presenter and vendor. What was interesting however, was not the differences, the contrasts, the vast space traversed, but moreover the similarities, the commonalities, and the profound intimacies that are created between people on the same path.

In Lak’Ech. A phrase that marked both conferences. In Lak’Ech. You are my other me. Essentially,

we are one.

This is the truth I retain. No matter where I go. No matter whom I work with. No matter what my responsibilities. We are one.

Just one.

What I witnessed coast to coast was curiosity, willingness and commitment. The other thing I witnessed on both coasts was tears. It’s not that my Claiming Face philosophy and curriculum are unique and solely mine. They are in some respects, but in many more others they are quite simply universal.

On both coasts, I witnessed courage and creativity, depth and presence, willingness to enter a zone of discomfort with the hope and prayer that it will ultimately make us more—more for ourselves and more for our students.

I remember two women in particular in South Carolina who came up to me. One had a comment, the other a question. Both brought me their tears. The same thing happened in San Francisco.

Tears marked my path, my journey from coast to coast, culture to culture.

Tears. Depth of experience. Spontaneous expression of commonality.

See my tears. I am you. You are me.


are afraid, unsure, facing the unknown that is ourselves.
When we truly gather ourselves, accept ourselves,

Love ourselves…

We change our most intimate lives, but we also change our ability to reflect, our ability to teach what is real and common amongst all of us.

Claiming face is about finding this equality and sourcing our sense of self and knowledge/wisdom deep within ourselves and our experience.

Great thanks goes to each experience on each coast at each conference. In Lak’ech. You are my other me. We are one.

One to one. I see myself in you. See yourself in me. We are each moving consciousness forward to a more real and true place. Awake. Awake. We are waking up to the truth. In Lak’ech.

Read more about, In Lak’ech, from the Mayan-inspired poem, Pensamiento Serpentino by Luis Valdez and check out the video below from one of the schools I visited while in South Carolina.

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