Pieces of The Dream by Jason Rivera
I haven’t written prose in a very long time. But, I had something on my mind of late and I had to get it out. I have to say, César and Jacia, you both came to mind as I wrote this! I have no title — it’s more of a stream of consciousness…but, I hope it moves people beyond complacent consumerism.
Pieces of The Dream
A cataclysmic eruption of emotional turmoil
Trying to reconcile ignorance with social responsibility
To match complacent ambivalence with social in-Justice
Frustrated by the harrowing cries of American nativism
That have long kept me marginalized and oppressed at the fringes of a
Challenged by the pervasive privilege that allows dominant thought…
We are victims of our own confused distortions of diversity
Embracing difference like an unwelcomed relative on a short visit from out
Believing that veiled attempts at inclusion equate to massive strides beyond
We believe we are free
And so we settle for pieces of the dream
Because the pieces seem like more than we had before
And they are—
More calculated trickery masked behind opportunity
More veiled bigotry fueling the systemic inequity that pervades every aspect
except our cries for justice—our marches for freedom—our pursuit for
We’ve relinquished the almighty pen and become a nation of selfie
Only we revolt against things like facebook updates and other insignificant
Jason Rivera is a doctoral candidate in the Minority and Urban Education (MUE) program at the University of Maryland College Park. As a full-time higher education professional and Ph.D. student, Jason has encountered the systemic institutional and societal barriers that impact Latino student outcomes. These encounters—coupled with the multiple roles he occupies as a Latino male, educator, scholar, and social justice activist—are what compelled him to pursue doctoral studies. As an emerging scholar, he has been able to utilize his research and scholarship to contribute to the current dialogue on closing the achievement gap for Latino and African American students at Montgomery College, a multi-campus 2-year institution in Maryland. He has also served on a research team led by Dr. Victoría -Maria Macdonald, which was charged with examining the low graduation rates of Latino males at a four-year public higher education institution in the greater Chicago area.
After serving on the Chicago research team, Jason was invited to participate in the 40th Anniversary Symposium of Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS), also known as the Puerto Rican High School. PACHS was one of the first alternative schools to utilize critical and culturally responsive pedagogy to teach students ostracized and marginalized by the Chicago public school system. The PACHS experience brought three of Jason’s research interests—care, social, and cultural capital—into alignment and affirmed his professional aspirations.
Jason is interested in pursuing a faculty-tenure position where he can support students on their academic journeys while continuing to honor his passion for social justice and community engagement. He also remains committed to helping reframe conversations about Latino males from deficit-oriented approaches toward models of success and how such models can be replicated to support Latino male college persistence and completion. His ultimate goal is to generate research and scholarship that favorably contributes to the growing national discourse on Latino male educational experiences.
Prior to his Ph.D. program, Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts from Manhattanville College, where he majored in History and Political Science. After his undergraduate studies, he began working in the field of education, first through non-profit organizations and then as a teacher and administrator in K-12 and higher education settings. Jason received a Master of Science in Elementary Education from the City University of New York at Staten Island and has since served as a teacher, mentor, educational leader, and director of several academic support services.
September 17, 2016
March 11, 2016
November 9, 2015
September 30, 2015