Posted in Research, The Here and Now


On Monday night, precisely on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, the hashtag #BlackAtBLS started trending on Twitter. It was filled with tweets written by students of color at Boston Latin School expressing their frustrations with the racial climate that exists.

As an African-American who attended BLS, the tweets resonated with me a lot. I found that the students today have similar experiences as I did. There were multiple instances of microaggressions throughout my six years in attendance. For the most part, it was initiated by people who did not even understand why or how they were being racist or offensive. High school is a difficult time socially: these 13-18 year olds are doing whatever they can to fit in and feel accepted even if that means degrading others in the process or being entirely unaware of social issues.

Unfortunately as well, the hashtag contained the tweets of students who felt that POC having a supposedly safe space to talk about their feelings was infringing on their ability to peruse the internet. A lot of students, both members of BLS and otherwise lashed out against the #BlackAtBLS hashtag and the people behind it. It was heartbreaking to witness the amount of hatred exhibited, especially behind the mask of fake accounts.

What I learned most from reading #BlackAtBLS was the statistical racial disparity between the BLS population and the BPS population. Half of the white students who attend Boston Public high schools go to Latin. There are over 20 high school in Boston and while BLS one of the biggests, it does not make up for these statistics.


Once in a health class, the teacher had for some reason asked a question like, “if you had not gotten into BLS, how many of you would be in private school?” and nearly everyone in my majority-white (typical) class had raised their hand. I remember feeling extremely isolated at the time that it had happened and after recent events, I realise the gravity of that question and subsequent answer. I realise that it meant the students who were coming to BLS, specifically the white students who were so egregiously outnumbered in elementary and middle school, were essentially being pipelined into the top school in the city. After attending private or charter schools and having the highest quality education that money could buy, achieving acceptable scores on the entrance exam is simply expected.

Boston Latin School, along with the other Boston exams schools, provide students with a lot of opportunity both academic and extracurricular. Just having matriculated at any of these schools enhances your networking power exponentially. Our BPS students are being elbowed out of the BPS schools with the greatest selling power. It only proves to further embed the cycle of oppression that people of color and people with a low economic background face.


Beginning in the mid-70s, after the Boston Bussing Riots had broken out, there were very few students of color enrolled at Boston Latin School. To remedy this, they used Affirmative Action as part of their admissions vowing to admit at least 35% black and hispanic students. Ever since this practise was taken away in 1995 the racial profile of BLS has continued to become more and more unbalanced.

I now attend a school with a nearly identical racial profile and feel even more uncomfortable. This is not an accurate representation of the real world, or at least not a world that I want to be a member of. We need diversity in order to learn and grow. The world is not homogeneous so why should our schools be. As I transition from undergrad to post-grad/grad-school life, I have a great deal of choices to make. I am essentially decided the type of community that I want to be a member of for the next phase of my life.

As an alumna of Boston Latin School, it fills me with immense hope that individuals are finding the courage to call injustice to attention. It shows me the beauty of the world that we are living in and who are are evolving into. #BlackAtBLS, just like #BlackLivesMatter is just a small slice of the civil rights movement that is taking place in this day and age. It is a continuation of the work started in the 60s that I hope will never stop until true equality and justice is attained. As unfortunate as it is that we still need to be having these conversations, it’s inspiring to watch it unfold. If I could go back in time and say one thing to my doe-eyed, sixie-year self, it would be, “take action.” I think the shift between young people today and young people even a few years ago is that we were not empowered enough to unify, fight, and make our voices heard for change. BLS B.L.A.C.K.’s success comes from great leadership and the realisation that there is no time like the present.


Posted in Travel

How Not To Be An Idiot In Amman: Apartment Edition

The biggest challenges I’ve faced in my past 5 days of being in Amman are staying warm and cooking.

I think when I decided to come do an internship in the desert I was under the impression that it would be above freezing, at least. However I didn’t realise that the apartment I’m living in was made for summer weather: marble floors and sandstone walls. I’m sure they keep the place mighty cool in the summer but for now it’s a little bit less than ideal. Lucky for me, our heater doesn’t work! Ellie and I have been making do with our lil space heater and it’s getting the job done for now. Apparently this entire region was in a polar vortex for the past week which explains why it’s been unseasonably cold and why I’ve been sleeping with a sweater, scarf, hat, and two layers of socks — all underneath my two comforters.

If that doesn’t shed light on how cold it is here, the other day a friend of mine ate dinner while wearing gloves.

Last night I decided I was finally gonna cook some of the groceries I had bought. I set up all my ingredients, chopped some stuff up, decided on my seasonings, threw everything into the pot and went to turn on the stove. It had zero idea that it was going to be a gas stove. Not even like an automatic gas stove, I mean like the kind where you get your matches and have to time the gas just right. I’ve never been more grateful for living that #ElectricStove life until that moment. Thankfully Mohammed was already in my apartment working on my heater and he told me that I needed to actually .. turn on the gas in the nearby cabinet. WHOOPS. I felt p r e t t y dumb but it’s all part of the learning experience.

I haven’t started taking my Arabic class yet nor has starting information from my internship come in so I’ve just kind of been hanging out enjoying the snow days. Can’t say I hate it.

How Not To Be An Idiot In Amman:

  • Wear as many layers as humanly possible, even if that exceeds what’s socially acceptable.
  • Turn on the gas before you try and use a gas stove.

Quick Story: Late Night Snack

So we’re on a red-eye bus to New York. It’s 4 AM we’ve been on the road for 3 hours, everyone’s asleep at this point. I’m.. a college kid so I’ve learned to survive on 30 minutes a week so I’m just sitting on the bus THRIVING.

Anyway my sister decides to stir in her sleep and I’m like “OK the ride is getting a lil bumpy now anyway, I feel her,” so I’m not paying attention. But out of nowhere she decides that 4 in the morning on a d e a d s i l e n t bus is the perfect time to go fishing for dreg fries at the bottom of her McDonald’s bag.

So it’s straight up like, CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE for like an entire minute and a half. And we’re in the middle of the bus so we’re battling perfect acoustics and equal reach to every single individual, it was awful.

And my sister straight up didn’t see what was wrong!! I’m glaring at her (mainly for my sake… I needed the people around us to know I had nothing to do with this) but to no avail. CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE.

The one saving grace was that she couldn’t find any more fries so she gave up her quest and the bus ride remained peaceful for the final 45 minutes.

Until we rear-ended a cop, but that’s another story.

Posted in Travel

Pre-Departure: I’m Right On Schedule … Sort Of

I started up on anti-biotics the other day and realised that my final dose will be on Thursday evening just as I’m checking into Logan Airport. Talk about tangibility.

I was getting my typhoid shot on that same day and the nurse asked me where I was going. When I told her, “Jordan,” and explained what I was going to be doing there, she called me brave. (If you’re laughing at that concept, that’s fine because I was too.) I don’t feel brave at all. I’m going to Jordan because I want to get better at Arabic, and what better way to do that than to go to the source. I’m going to Jordan because I want international work/internship experience. But that’s not to say I’m not absolutely tweaking out at the prospect of having to communicate entirely in Shaami for 4 months. There is a very huge part of me that genuinely doesn’t want to go. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking up Turkish Airlines’ refund policy the other night. Nothing in that screams bravery to me.

People say being brave is being afraid–but doing it anyway. Of course I’m going to do it anyway. I can’t not go: I would be letting down far too many people, myself included. But I don’t think that’s being brave I think that’s being obligated.

I’m excited, I promise. I’ve been very cool, calm, and collected up until this point and now everything is just happening and I can’t rationalise as quickly as I can feel so that’s where we’re at.

Logistic updates: I still haven’t packed or figured out how to get from the airport to the apartment or even looked up the USD/JOD exchange rate. I’m doing great, y’all.