My Community and Cultural Wealth

What does wealth mean? Is it the same as income? According the the model of Community Cultural Wealth by Dr. Terri Yosso, these two similar terms have very different definitions. I believe that my students enter my classroom with various forms of wealth, or capital. In my classroom, I work to learn my students' various forms of capital and find fun and creative ways to recognize that and incorporate that into my lessons. First, I will share more about myself.

I come from a close family, which is part of my familial capital. I am the youngest of four siblings. I am an aunt to twelve nieces and nephews with another on the way. I am the first in my family to complete college. It was very intimidating going to college, especially without having someone I could ask about the application process or navigate the course lists. It took me six years, but I earned two undergraduate degrees in English and History, and then I went on to earn a Master's degree in American Studies. This is an example of my aspirational and navigational capital. I was able to push past obstacles and complete a goal (or three) that I set for myself.

As a teenager, I was very active in my local church. Through this organization, I participated in many service project in my community. As an adult, I have volunteered for various nonprofit organizations. Throughout the pandemic, I have started picking up trash in my community in an effort to keep it clean. I have also volunteered for political campaigns and participated in political marches. This is an example of resistant capital. I had, and continue to have, a vision for a world in which I want to live in, and I work to achieve this goal.

These are some examples of community cultural wealth in my life. These are dynamic aspects of myself. As I continue to grow and learn as an adult, I will likely add more assets to my life. These experiences influence how I engage with the world and others around me. They inform my teaching practices. As I work with my students, I hope to learn more about them so that we can develop a classroom culture of respect and understanding.