Learning in the Making: Live! is a biweekly video series for youth, educators, and parents who want to make at home. Maker Ed invites guest hosts of color on as equal and valued partners and collaborators, so that they can tell their stories and showcase the amazing things they are making and doing! This is because youth of color deserve to see engineers, scientists, mathematicians, artists, creators, and makers of color! Aáron Heard joined the team at Maker Ed in September 2020 to support this project — we’re so excited to see what she creates! Learn more about her:
I am an artist with a huge heart who has a passion and devotion for offering care and learning to my communities. In some ways, I think of myself as a designer. I design art in the forms of poetry, paintings, documentaries, illustrations, and hopefully books (one day). I also design experiences for people to engage in that offer a critical and curious way for them to engage with the world around us.
As a kid, I always knew I wanted to help people and change the world. My dreams always involved how I could serve others and contribute to creating a world that was more just. I believe one of the driving forces behind this is the fact that throughout my life, I have lost many loved ones to gun violence. These tragic losses include my father and uncle and were experiences that shaped me and how I relate to the world. First and foremost, I move from a place of love, always. My capacity for empathy, understanding, observation, and creative problem solving has a particular depth that I choose to use as ways to serve humanity, especially young people and teachers!
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California but when I graduated from the University of Southern California in 2014 I made a huge decision and moved to Oakland, California where I became a teacher at Alliance Academy Middle School as part of the 2014 Teach For America fellowship program. It was my belief then, and still my belief now, that access to equitable education that is fun, engaging, and conscious is the way to transform ourselves, our communities, and our world. I loved teaching and it was hard, hard work. I found myself involved in so many things so soon. I honestly probably took on way too much, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
One of the opportunities I got to participate in was a program called the Integrated Learning Specialist Program through Alameda County of Education. This program at the time was facilitated by some phenomenal educators including Mariah Rankine-Landers, Jessa Brie-Moreno, Susan Wolf, and Michelle Lee. These educators impacted my life so heavily and showed me that the learning I knew students deserved was possible. In this program teachers were always making art, always building community, and always engaging in critical self reflection and communal exploration. This program and these educators shifted the trajectory of my life. They introduced me to critical arts based pedagogy and the experiences kept rolling in.
If the Integrated Learning Specialist Program was my introduction to critical arts based pedagogy, Agency by Design Oakland was my introduction to the makerspace world and movement. As an AbD Oakland fellow for two years I collaborated with educators across Oakland to engage in creative inquiry around: how do we ultimately hack the makerspace movement by making it accessible to our students of diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds? This fellowship marks a time where I went from always being a participant to transitioning to facilitator. There’s so much more to share and I look forward to engaging with you in the future as we collectively face some of the most challenging times of our lives. Making is agency and I am committed to using my personal gifts to shape the critically conscious, agetic makers of the world — not only our youth, but all of us together.
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