¡Sueños! Pursuing the Light!
out of the darkness
of one moment
grows the light
of another moment
perhaps in some distant time
if not in the next moment
love the darkness
In the 1970s Sister Mary Corita Kent wrote this poem in a serigraph titled out of the darkness, part of a serigraph series that was titled Moment. The words reflect her inspirational voice. Another serigraph in the Moment series is titled live the moment light. Sister Corita was a social justice advocate, artist, educator, designer, and poet. In more than 800 vibrant serigraphs, she shared her concerns about poverty, racism, and war. Her work embedded messages of hope, peace, and social justice and drew international attention. I was honored to be a student in her class.
For the 2022 NCTE Annual Convention in Anaheim, I would like to explore the theme of light with you. The theme ¡Sueños! Pursuing the light! offers us a moment that speaks of the possibility of bringing people closer together. As literacy and language arts teachers, teacher educators, and researchers of our own and others’ lives, we continue growing out of the dark moment of a global pandemic. As the new moment grows, we can share the ways our individual and collective pursuit of light assisted and continues to assist us in imagining a new story with bright spots and possible new sueños—new dreams—for ourselves, our students, and our communities.
For the 2022 Annual Convention, I invite you to think of ways we can pursue and bring light to each other, our profession, and our organization. For me, light and the pursuit of light bring to mind the faros, or lighthouses, of Puerto Rico, the island where I was born. The lights we carry with and to each other, or the lighthouse that looks beyond the island, suggest that each person, place, and space of light reaches beyond itself. As one of our NCTE leaders communicated to me, lighthouses serve as beacons from which we can look out together. This image of pursuing the light together offers a context with the possibility of igniting futures while honoring our own dreams.
As a lover and teacher of children’s literature, I am a fan of golden lines. The latest picture book by Yuyi Morales, Bright Star in English and Lucero in Spanish, has many golden lines that can be used to teach comfortable and uncomfortable topics through two languages. One beautiful line stands out because it is passed from mother to child, from community to children:
No matter where you are, you are a bright star inside our hearts.
Dondequiera que estés, eres un lucero en nuestros corazones.
That line ties nicely with the lighthouse logo that incorporates our theme for the 2022 Convention. With the moon and stars brightly shining in the constellation beyond the lighthouses of our different parts of the world, I invite you to compose proposals considering the following questions:
- How can we, as teachers and learners, be a light for each other?
- What are the strategies that keep you/us in pursuit of the light?
- In what ways can we bring more humanizing ELA curricula and instruction into broader light?
- Where can research make a difference in bringing light to antiracist and equitable teaching?
- How can the voices and stories of students be foregrounded in the dispersion of light in classrooms, schools, and communities?
- What spaces remain unexplored for cultivating our own and each other’s sueños and bringing them to the light?
- How can writers shine a light for themselves and others on common as well as on difficult topics?
- In the social networks afforded by technology, what bright practices can expand our thinking, writing, and doing?
- In what ways can we support our students out of the moment of darkness to the light of another moment?
- How can we work together to create a broader spectrum of light with and for the benefit of our families and communities?
- How can schools become luceros or bright stars in their communities?
- In what ways can our sueños be cultivated to serve as beacons of light in a dynamically changing world?
- In what ways can our sueños and those of our students be expressed? In languages in addition to English? In translanguaging? In multimodal ways?
- How can NCTE sustain itself as a beacon of light locally, nationally, and internationally?
At our 2022 Convention, let us share the light that shines individually and collectively within us. As a community of light pursuers, we can ignite new sueños with potential to transform ourselves, our students, our communities, and our organization.
María E. Fránquiz, 2022 Program Chair & NCTE President-Elect