The Journey Begins

We are Women of Color in ELT, standing together.

We are on a journey to create safe spaces where Women of Color who are often pushed to the sidelines can get support and encouragement from one another.


Takeaways from #31DaysIBPOC for #WOCinELT to Heal and Light Up the Dark

The views expressed in blogposts are the author(s)’s own and do not necessarily reflect WOC in ELT’s stance.

Link to the tweet

Who is in your Twitter feed? Now, many social justice activists and scholars/educators of color. To name a few (in alphabetical order):

I was checking my Twitter feed and I saw this hashtag: #31DaysIBPOC, a project that celebrates the teacher voices of Indigenous, Black, and People of Color (IBPOC). 

Source: Click here

Every day I had something to read to heal and light up the dark. As @meg_allison tweeted,

It’s so hard to choose, but here I would like to share some highlights of these amazing poems, essays, and blogposts that I found healing, enlivening, empowering, and liberating.

Read, read, read, and read.

Source: Click here by @SaraKAhmed

  • Read Acevedo, Alexander, Baldwin, Cisneros, Coates, Delpit, DiAngelo, Edim, Freire, Gino, and Grimes.
  • Read Hughes, Kendi, Morrison, Oluo, Reynolds, Shalaby, Slater, Stevenson, Thomas, Woodson, Zoboi, and Zinn.
  • Read Veera Hiranandani and Maxine Beneba Clarke and Edward Galeano.

Tweet, tweet, tweet, and tweet.

Sources: Click here by @HKhodai & here by @SaraKAhmed

  • Twitter is the medium through which I broadened my network.
  • I read and I write in 280 character bursts. In the spaces between panic and despair, I like and I retweet. I process and make visible my thinking, all the while striving to believe in the power of my story and inviting others to share theirs.
  • Study posts and threads from the human beings of #CleartheAir #EduColor #DisruptTexts #WNDB #DiversityJedi #HFellows.

Write, write, write, and write.

Source: Click here by @SaraKAhmed

  • Write. Write like hell. Write for anyone who will read, study, and listen.

Listen, listen, listen, and listen.

Sources: Click here by @SaraKAhmed, click here by @biblio_phile, & click here by @edifiedlistener

  • Listen to perspectives and voices who own a story you cannot tell as your own.
  • I was surrounded by people who had so many amazing stories to help make sense of my own– I just needed to listen.
  • Listen to the pop playlist here. Soul playlist over here. All of those tunes belong to me, to the person I’ve become, underscoring my collection of missed wishes and dreams come true. I know the words to all these songs. In singing them, I sing myself in a thousand and one ways.

Create, create, create, and create.

Sources: Click here by @biblio_phile, click here by @SonjaCherryPaul, & click here by @izzieteaches

  • I’ve realized that I have to create the place where I feel whole. It’s up to me to look ahead and create a spaces and connections.
  • Find and create new spaces to thrive.
  • You create your own path. Others may not understand it. It wasn’t meant for them to.
  • You can move quickly with speed but go further when you stop to pause for clarity.

Dance, dance, dance, and dance.

Sources: Click here by @edifiedlistener & here by @ValeriaBrownEdu

  • Song and dance offered me an emotional home base; countless spaces for me to rejoice and rage, recover and revive.
  • Sis, light up the dark places with your dancing. Dance in your classrooms. Dance in the hallways. Dance in and out of meetings. And when they ask you why you are dancing, tell them that you are protecting your heart.

Do you, do you, do you, and do you.

Source: Click here by @izzieteaches

  • Affirm yourself. Affirm every day.
  • You are multifaceted. Don’t stick yourself into any singular box. Get rid of people who try to.
  • Take time to connect with yourself. Seek out understanding, not to be understood.
  • You’re allowed to change your mind. Over and over and over again… You are not the same person, you were six months ago when you made that choice. If anyone questions how much you change, question why they haven’t.
  • You will be afraid at times. Be grateful. Fear signals that a change is about to occur.
  • Trust yourself. Align with the wisdom that is inherent within you.
  • Acknowledge the emotion and continue moving forward despite it.
  • You are not alone. One hundred ancestors have been pouring of themselves into you for decades.
  • You are worthy of taking up space. They’ll pretend they don’t see you. They’ll walk past you without excuses. Bump into your flesh, as though your melanin can be ignored. Plant your feet even deeper.
  • Exist loudly! From your hair follicles to your toenails. You have a right to your existence. Stand tall and show up!
  • Never shrink yourself to make others comfortable.

Continue, continue, continue, and continue.

Sources: Click here by @booktoss, click here by @mochamomma, & click here by @CrazyQuilts

  • I continue to speak, continue to push, and continue to educate because nothing will ever change if we allow ourselves to be silent.
  • I’ll keep telling that story.
  • We feel fear, but we continue; we persevere.

Love, love, love, and love.

In the end, love prevails. Love is the answer. Fierce love that demands change. Active love in which silence against injustice does not exist. ❤ Source: Click here by @DingleTeach

And ice cream. Lots of really good ice cream. 🙂 Source: Click here by @booktoss

If you want to amplify this project on Twitter, you can find all the posts here:

Here is the link to #31DaysIBPOC webpage. I am sure you’ll read some of these posts that resonate with you more than once:

Finally, I would like to thank the hosts of #31DaysIBPOC, Tricia Ebarvia, @triciaebarvia, and Dr. Kim Parker, @TchKimPossible, for allowing me to blog about and make a graphic design based on these powerful posts.

What do you do to heal and light up the dark? Leave comment, reach out on our social media or contact us and let us know.

Peace, radical love, and revolutionary hope,

The Story of Women of Color in ELT

The views expressed in blogposts are the author(s)’s own and do not necessarily reflect WOC in ELT’s stance.

This blogpost was first published here.

I’ve been trying to fit into the unjust, unfair, inequitable, and exclusionary ELT world about 5 years since I moved to Japan.

I have stopped trying to fit in. What happened and why? The following figure can give you some idea. You can also go through the blogposts here. So, I no longer wish to be “included” and no longer let anyone “include” me as those who have the power to “include”, have also the power to exclude.

Source: Click here h/t: Click here

This blogpost by Maha Bali, Unpacking Terms Around Equity, Power and Privilege, and this lecture (Revolution Today) by Angela Davis were so eye-opening to me as I truly realized why “diversity” and “inclusion” are such problematic terms.

If we stand up against racism, we want much more than inclusion. Inclusion is not enough. Diversity is not enough, and as a matter of fact, we do not wish to be included in a racist society.

I remember that when I came to Japan, I was added to or encouraged to join ELT Facebook groups about gender equality/equity. Well, I did. I then turned the groups’ notifications off, and I told myself, I live in Japan and I have no gender issues anymore. So naive, huh?

I’m now acutely aware of the inequities imposed by the intersections of race, gender, skin color, physical appearance, nationality, and religion.

I even shifted my research focus from Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) —quite male-dominated area of research in ELT— to Social Justice Education and Equity Studies in Education (SESE).

I supported, joined, and got involved in feminist/equity/equality movements in ELT:


Women in ELT

EVE: Equal Voices in ELT

Equality in ELT in Japan

I also read about:

The Fair List

Gender Equality ELT

There was always a voice in the back of my head telling me that something is missing: A sense of belonging. A sense of representation.

I believe the reason is that the issues related to Women of Color in ELT, whose struggles are way different, are often ignored, and issues related to race are often swept under the rug.

For example, a database of women ELT speakers

  • cannot help women who have visa issues (e.g., read my visa story here, click here as well) and that is why we need to talk more about open access in ELT and support movements like Virtually Connecting.
  • cannot help women who live in contexts where currency crisis is an issue and that is why we need to add class to the equation.
  • cannot help women who find ELT conferences inhospitable and unsafe and that is why their needs should be addressed (e.g., how to navigate predominately white spaces in ELT).

I tried hard to communicate with these pictures.

Click here
Click here
Click here

I googled and started reading to connect and bridge the historical gaps in my mind.

For example, I found this:

Rosie the Riveter isn’t a universal icon: “That was a white woman’s story”

So it wasn’t that I was boycotting the Rosie story. It simply had nothing to say to me.

That is why, inspired by Scholars of Color in Language Studies (SCiLS) and KOTESOL People of Color Teachers SIG, I have decided to start this movement in the hope of bringing Women of Color in ELT together so that we can support each other, learn together, and share our feelings that are constantly denied and invalidated by the dominant power structure in ELT:

Women of Color in ELT

Women of Color in ELT, Twitter post

I want Women of Color to stand together against racial erasure in ELT.

I want Women of Color’s intersecting complex identities to be represented in ELT.

I want Women of Color in ELT to belong.

Peace, radical love, and revolutionary hope,


You can read about WOC in ELT and its mission and goals at:

If you identify as a Woman of Color in ELT (read about the term “Woman of Color” here) and would like to add your name to the Database of WOC in ELT, you can fill out this form.

If you are a true ally and want to support this movement, please check WOC in ELT Supporters.