As difficult as this year has been for a variety of reasons, finishing my dissertation was a peak moment. I never really took the time to announce that, primarily because it took so long to get to this point. There was a lot of shame, exhaustion, exhilaration and hope over this last decade that I struggle to talk about. Still as this year comes to an end I want to share the acknowledgements section of dissertation. Writing a dissertation often feels lonely, but who and why I do what I do is sewn into my relationships with those I love. May 2017 be another year of the beautiful struggle! – e.m.



This is dedicated, first, to two important teacher-parents who are no longer with us on this earth but whose lessons will continue to teach us all: Jean Maude Anyon, from whom I learned so much about mapping the cultural and political economic  structures that shape our lives, caring for your students, and the necessity and hopefulness of envisioning and actualizing radical possibilities wherever we may be;  and my father, Luis Enrique Mayorga, whose complicated and often difficult life taught  us about perseverance, being there for you family, and standing up to injustice no  matter how hard the conditions.

To my family, Maria Elena Mayorga (mamá), Milena Doss, Mauricio Centeno, Tamarah Ogaz, Raul Ogaz, Melissa Macedo, Desiree Macedo, Maya Bueno, Micah Macedo, and everyone else! Who would I be without your ongoing support across  thousands of miles, the fun, the fights, and the love. I also want to thank Jen’s family: Jung Hi Lee, Chunghee Lee, Janet Lee, Ben Wan, Jason Lee, and Shin Kim. You have all been so generous with your time and care. I so deeply appreciate all of you. To both sides of our family, thank you.

To my colleagues and the students at PS 165, PS 87, CUNY and NYU. A specific thank you to Robyn Ulzheimer, Lauri Posner, Kazue Takenaga, Sandra Gumbs, Mike Vega, Emily Davis, Marsha Student, Rebeca Madrigal, Ivonne Torres, Suzanne Carothers, Bree Picower, Harriet Pitts, Cynthia Copeland, Yvonne De Gaetano, Bob Giles and so many other wonderful colleagues. Your friendship and commitment to  students continues to teach me today. For that I’m truly indebted. My elementary school students who are now college—aged, what can I say, you kept me humble and grounded. It is you and the many students that I have worked with since that nourish my political commitments and joy of teaching.

I want to thank my wonderful peers and teachers at, or connected to, the Graduate Center, our beloved GC. The faculty members, Michelle Fine, Ofelia Garcia, Steve Brier, Carmen Mercado, Steve Steinberg, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Jessie Daniels,
the late Jerry Watts, Matt Gold, Anthony Picciano, our APO Christine Saieh and others, have taught me so much about being an educator-scholar-activist. It has made me a believer that research can have a profound impact on the world. My peers: Jeremy
Benson, Shannon Allen, Mark Wolfmeyer, Miriam Tager, Nelson Flores, Rachel Lambert, Noah Golden, Alejandro Carrion, Ricardo Gabriel, Ujju Aggarwal, Jack Gieseking, Natalia Ortiz, Alisa Algava, Brian Jones, LaToya Strong, Jose Alfredo Menjivar Ortez, and a whole host of others that I have crossed paths with over the years. I have often doubted my ability to make it through, but because of you I have never swerved from believing that my decision to pursue this degree was the right thing to do. Your work is indispensable to the world.

I also want to thank my wonderful colleagues and students in the Educational Studies department at Swarthmore College. You have been so warm and welcoming. It  has made our family’s transition to the Philadelphia area a much smoother one, and  your support for engaged scholarship, and your intellectual generosity have motivated  me to continue imagining and actualizing scholarship for change.

For twelve years I was an active member of the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), and I can honestly say that it has been a life changing and life  giving experience to stand alongside you as chosen family. In particular Bree Picower, Seth Rader, Herm Jerome, Sam Coleman, Alanna Howe, Keith Catone, Natalia Ortiz, Rosie Frascella, Rita Kamani-Renedo, and Ariana Mangual Figueroa. Being with you has made the struggle for educational and social justice a beautiful struggle.

Honory Peña and Mariely Mena, my #BarrioEdProj co-researchers! #BarrioEdProj is for you and because of you. You are both strong, razor sharp, deeply caring young Latina warriors who have taught me so much. I am so proud to be able to say that I have been your teacher, a co-researcher, and a friend. We are family.

Finally, I want to recognize the two most important people in my life, Jennifer Lee & Teo Lee Mayorga. It’s taken over a decade to get through this, and with all of the ups and downs we are still standing together. I love you both and ultimately it is my desire to
help build a better world with both of you that keeps me going. I love you both…“it never changes.”