dena simmons

dena simmons.png

we asked Dena..

two questions


Dena at tedxcollege, august 2013:

Published on Aug 18, 2013

In this inspiring talk, Dena challenges listeners to confront their fear and to attend to the safety and wellbeing of our students. 

Dena is an activist, an educator, and also a student. She is currently studying for her Doctorate of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College. Her research is focused on teacher preparedness as it relates to bullying in the school setting.


Dena is one of idec 2013’s coffee talkers:

idec 2013 coffee talkers

more insight into Dena and her work/vision/dream:


dena videos

a lot of my strength comes from watching my mom struggle gracefully..

video created with/for Courtney Martin‘s book, 2010, Do It Anyway:

– i think the classroom is everywhere…

in the city.. as the day.. ness.

her tedxyouth, 2012:

he is a kid calling for help in the only way he knows how..



jan 2015:

From a One-Bedroom Bronx Apartment to Yale University: Dr. Dena Simmons


may 2015 – baltimore rising, baltimore healing

“When a friend asked me how I felt about last month’s events in Baltimore, I responded that my thoughts begin and end with pain.

In my life, I have known pain too well; I have known struggle; I have known rage; I have known despair. What’s happening in Baltimore is not a coincidence. Rather, it is a symptom of systemic injustice that has always been intended to disadvantage Black and Brown bodies, to control us, to police us, to break us. Baltimore’s uprising is the product of years of institutional bullying. Like other cities in our nation that are largely inhabited by people of color, Baltimore had been left for dead with the overwhelming stench of run-down homes, sub-par health care, failing schools, and rigged policies. Freddie Gray’s murder ignited the slow-burning flame of embodied trauma caused by decades of societal assault.


I remember how I had to teach my students of color how to survive in a system designed to annihilate them, us.


Essentially, as soon as a Black child walks into a school building, he or she is criminalized.

Our Black youth learn very early that their personhood is suspicious and terrifying.


We can’t talk about Baltimore without talking about our flawed education system. Youth of color quickly learn that they are considered inferior, that their schooling is a lesson in obedience.


Our education reform efforts, which strive to narrow the achievement and opportunity gaps, do not address this miseducation, this hidden curriculum that damages our youth of color.


Our students want to have a voice in solving our world’s problems and in fighting for justice.

a nother way..  because none of us if one of us.. a way to hear/see/be each voice..


find/follow Dean:

link twitter

Dena works at yale center for emotional intelligence:


tedtalks 2015 – how students of color confront impostor syndrome

there is emotional damage done when young people can’t be themselves.. when they are forced to edit who they are in order to be acceptable.. it’s a kind of violence

i have eternal imposter syndrome.. either i‘ve been invited because i’m a token..which really isn’t about me..rather..about a box someone needed to check off…or i’m exceptional..which means i’ve had to leave the people i love behind

why did i have to leave the bronx to gain access to a better education..and the process of getting that better ed..did i have to endure the trauma of erasing what made me.. me

every child deserves an education that guarantees the safety to learn in the comfort of one’s own skin that i speak in a way that someone in power will want to listen.. there’s a better way.. .

indeed… a nother way 

let’s do this firstfree art-ists..for (blank)’s sake

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data





cure violence keri