Today I share the remainder of my chat with Bijoun Eric Jordan, an English teacher at Frederick Douglass Academy VII HS in Brownsville, Brooklyn. As a work study student in college he was inspired to visit Spain by his Madrid-born co-worker. After college he moved on that inspiration and spent a gap year in Spain teaching English as a second language. He says that the experience abroad was one of the best times of his life and says that he seriously questioned staying in the U.S once he returned.
Fast forward, ten years later, Eric decided that he wanted to give his students a similar cultural experience. He created a fundraiser, Brownsville to Barcelona, and started raising money to offset the cost of taking some of his students on a week-long cultural jaunt through Spain in July, 2017. He states that it has become his personal mission to help change the narrative surrounding the neighborhood and students in his school.
Eric’s initiative caught the attention of many including Shaun King of the NY Daily News and Taryn Finley of Huffington Post Black Voices. He has also received the attention and support of many online travel groups such as Black Travel Movement and Melanin Madrid and has reached and surpassed the financial goal needed to completely fund the trip. I’m completely thrilled to be able to share the conversation I had with him in two parts. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday (May 30) for the remainder of our chat. And take a look at a message from some of Eric’s students!
For those of you who are Spanish speakers check out this Telediario interview with Spanish reporter Almudena Ariza. The interview with Eric and some of the students begins at the 47:36 mark.
If you’d like to add your support to Eric’s initiative and his school, check out the link below.
Brownsville to Barcelona GoFundMe
So often we hear about our students and our teachers in a negative light. Here’s a teacher who’s making a difference in the lives of his students by giving them a life experience that is sure to broaden their horizons. That’s definitely something to be applauded.