Find out how we dismantle white supremacy culture from Alcine Mumby, Leadership Support and Coaching with Envision Learning Partners.
Alcine Mumby is one of our dope workshop presenters at the upcoming Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Schools 2021 Conference June 14-18th.
Register for the DismantleWSC Conference here learn about our presenters below.
Interview with Alcine Mumby
What type of student were you and where did you find joy?
I loved school, loved learning, had great relationships with my peers and teachers. I was in Honors/GT programs all throughout my K-12 education, so I got to engage in wonderful project-based learning and thrived. When my family moved to Marylan (just outside DC) from New York, I had a hard time transitioning. I used to cut school altogether in the 7th grade, going to school at most 3 times per week. Then Mrs. Winstead, my honors social studies teacher, hemmed me up and told me to get it together. I started going to school, made new friends in 8th grade, and got my act together. When I moved again after my freshman year in high school, I became friends with a great bunch of girls (we’re still besties to this day). I had a lot of autonomy and ended up making my own schedule in High School. Through the Black Student Achievement Program, I felt affirmed and supported as a Black student in an affluent suburb. And I was once again thriving. I will say I had great teachers who were progressive; we did socratic seminars, flipped classrooms, grading for mastery. But this was because I was in upper level classes. I even experienced looping my last 2 years of HS when I had the same Math and English teachers. So I attribute my positive experiences in schools with progressive pedagogy and school structures — It motivated me to want to be the teacher and leader that I am! It’s also while I rage so hard against traditional school structures; I believe all students deserve to experience the kind of freedom and autonomy that I did as a learner.
In school, I found joy in deeper learning strategies and classrooms, like projects, exhibitions of learning, excursion, etc. I needed my humanity and autonomy affirmed, and my mom was a bold advocate for me. Listen, Janet (my mom) was holding student-led conferences in the 80’s when she insisted that I attend and share my truth about how I was experiencing my classes! I also found joy in my large Jamaican family where children were centered and my elders did things just for our pleasure and amusement. And I had a great set of friends who all had post-secondary goals; we cheered each other on but got into just enough trouble that we still laugh at those of shenanigans to this day!
What is the most destructive force in schools?
White Supremacy Culture. It often goes unexamined and I see it cause real harm to ALL children — and educators of color. It really breaks my heart to see educators of color perpetuating these dehumanizing, disassociating practices and structures that we know leads to what Dr. Bettina Love calls spirit murder. In my more graceful energy, I call it homeopathic cruelty we like to dole out to prepare kiddos for the “real world.” But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re really just teaching students what we believe to be their place based on our own unhealed trauma, fears, and limiting beliefs.
As we return back to in-person learning, what should we prioritize?
HEALING. Our students need the space to process and transmute all of the grief these past few years have created in their lives and communities. We educators and school leaders need to create learning environments for both adults and young people that are characterized by care, grace, and love. Love is the root of liberation; you can’t say you are anti-racist and pro-Black without a pedagogy and practice steeped in LOVE! Love also involves boundaries; but to be clear, it should never involve shame. Teachers can’t teach what they don’t know. So in order to have educators ready to center the healing and humanity of students, we need to ensure that our educators are healing. They too need grace, space, ease, and joy!
When it gets hard, where do you find inspiration to continue fighting for justice?
I think about my ancestors and elders. I think about what my mother, grandmother, and other Black women have had to overcome, and I get the strength, strategy, and love to keep going! Then I go be with the little humans in my life. I go play and immerse myself in their worlds. I let them lead me, and I listen to them tell me about their day, ideas, hopes, and joys. Being child-like is such medicine to my soul and a source of inspiration. They teach such truths of life in such simple, innocent ways. Children are natural healers! Children are brilliant!
What is the most exciting aspect of your work?
I love creating thoughtful adult learning experiences, and then seeing what participants do with the container and tools I lay out. I love the synergy and co-creation that happens when we learn and play together. I also love happening across a cool idea outside of education and figuring out how to to remix it so that it can provide some medicine for school, educators, and students.
What is your favorite book, song or movie of all time? Why?
My favorite book is anything by Toni Morrison. I feel like God created language and letters JUST so they could create Toni Morrison to show all of humanity what to do with them! She crafts such powerful sentences, stories, and characters. Song of Solomon and Paradise are my absolute faves. And in the same breath, I’mma tell you that Pootytang is one of my FAVORITE movies! Save your judgment for someone who cares LOL.
About Alcine Mumby
Alcine Mumby is a dedicated educator who has spent the last 20+ years teaching and leading in K-12 schools all over the country. For her day job, Alcine currently supports and coaches district and school leaders to develop high-quality performance assessment systems that center student-led demonstrations of learning- instead of relying on standardized testing- with Envision Learning Partners. And in her spare time, she passionately pursues all things related to healing hearts, mindsets, and systems. Prior to coaching, Alcine taught Humanities at one of the first small schools in the Bronx where project-based learning and portfolio defenses served as the foundation of instruction. Afterward, Alcine became a founding principal of Envision Academy in Oakland, was an administrator in several small middle and high schools in Atlanta and DC, and a leadership coach in DC, Charlotte, & Philadelphia. Alcine earned her BA in English Education from NYU and a Master’s in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education from Stanford University. When she’s not listening to podcasts or relaxing in the sun, Alcine enjoys being an auntie to her adorable niece and four nephews.
Links for More Info
- Equity Work Needs Bias. Here’s Why. by Caroline Hill
- My Grandmother’s Hand: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem