On a cold Tuesday evening in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, we celebrated the release of We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be written by our very own Cornelius Minor.We held our evening tight, basking in the love of our closest friends, neighbors, colleagues, schoolmates, and even our family- Cornelius’s sister, Dr. Zoe Johnson flew in for 12 hours all the way from Athens, Georgia.
A month later, we keep steady, continuing our work in school communities, laboring with love (and exhaustion). I’m keeping it local in partnership with the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project, supporting a few schools in NYC to build more inclusive spaces, and independently, working with families at our kids’ schools to build equity literacy in our community. Cornelius is jet-setting around the country, doing the work and speaking the words that few of us dare to say, always on the Quest to help others become who their students need them to be. He’s even begun to dabble in community organizing a la President Obama style!
On that note, I’m proud of him. For those who were not able to celebrate in Brooklyn with us, I want to share a note of gratitude and appreciation I read aloud, “speech” style at our book release party. It’s not often I get to make a public declaration of love and appreciation for my partner and our community!
For Cornelius and Our Community:
The communal work of creating a prolific text by a family who doesn’t come from intergenerational wealth is powerful.
Many people sitting here in this room contributed to the making of this text, and for that, the Minor Family is so grateful. I am so thankful.
The year after Soleil was born, Cornelius initiated the physical concept for this book. But really, for those of you in the room who have known him pre-Soleil and Indi, it’s been in the making since he was 13 when his teacher didn’t tell him that Ralph Ellison, that guy who wrote Invisible Man, was Black. Or maybe when he started to sneak his mom’s Alice Walker novels from the top shelf of their living room…
So, five years later, five years because we had babies and our work and we live in Brooklyn, Cornelius finished We Got This. Here, in this space, at The Yard. On weekends, on weeknights after 7:30PM, (the girls’ bedtime), in the wee hours of the morning after everyone else was fast asleep, Cornelius was writing.
There are few people in this world who can hustle, think, grind, create, and GIVE like Cornelius. He is the walking embodiment of truth, conviction, love, and insight. I am always honored to be his thought partner, his life partner, and to learn and love alongside him and with him. Cornelius, I love you. Cornelius, I am proud of you.
In addition to all the kinds of palpable love we have to give Cornelius, we, myself and our two daughters, Indi and Soleil, have a small token of appreciation for Cornelius to remember this time we are all sharing together.
[Indi and Soleil bring in gift, a poster-sized version of the opening scene from We Got This. with Cornelius’s favorite verse inscribed]
“Leave it up to me
Where I be living proof
To kick the truth
To the young Black youth”
-Inspectah Deck, Wu-Tang Clan, C.R.E.A.M, 36 Chambers, 1993