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Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

Louder Than A...?

Peter Nicholson

Oberlin Diaries 3*: Anthem
Freedom and equality are fractured. Temporarily tucked away in a peculiar, small rural Ohio town, I witness evidence of tumult everywhere, whether in landmarks marking the role this place played in the Underground Railroad, or in the attitudes of the teenagers that have convened before me from across the country. The quiet, pastoral evenings belie the mad convergence of past, present and future that has simmered here for so long. I spy on the older men from the surrounding rural area gathered for their morning coffee at the local McDonalds, casually sharing “us and them”-infused comments. I tune in to the attitudes of my students, eager to assume agency and invoke inflection. During long runs through the farmlands, I reflect on my own role and trajectory in the context of the messy, contentious, National Debate that continues to invent this country. We remain under negotiation, this town remarkably at the heart of so much of the argument. Education is a rebellious act, ripe to bend the arc of the moral universe. I strive to fully grasp the responsibility of teaching at our particular crossroads, knowing each utterance is ripe with the potential to soothe or incite. In the back of my mind, on this uneasy Fourth of July, I’m aware the sounds of the fireworks everywhere and that, at one time, they were bombs bursting in air.