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Brazil to New Haven to Texas to Argentina to GothamSchools

Lately, I’ve been spending my days in press conferences, City Council hearings, and discussion-filled classrooms. But that hasn’t always been the case.

In fact, I have just published my first book, “Sustaining Activism,” which at first glance seems to have little in common with what I’ve been covering at GothamSchools.

In 1986, a group of young Brazilian women started a movement to secure economic rights for rural women and transform women’s roles in their homes and communities. Together with activists across the country, they built a new democracy in the wake of a military dictatorship. In “Sustaining Activism,” my dad — a professor of Latin American history — and I tell the behind-the-scenes story of this remarkable movement and of our research collaboration.

But my first research trip to Brazil, in 2004, connects to what I am doing now. Speaking with women who came to see themselves as activists when they fought to turn Brazil from a dictatorship to a democracy in the 1980s pressed me to look more closely at how memories of dictatorship play out in Chile and Argentina, two neighboring countries.

After I graduated from Yale, I moved to south Texas to run an outreach program for a legal aid center along the US-Mexico border. Turns out showing up in small towns and trying to figure out what’s going on there is great training for a daily news reporter.

Education reporting caught my attention last year, when I spent 10 months in Buenos Aires researching how Argentine high school teachers approach the challenge of teaching about the country’s history of dictatorship. I jumped into reporting mode when students at 50 high schools in Buenos Aires took over their schools for a full month.

Then, in January, I turned my attention to the fascinating and complicated world of education in New York City.

But just because I’m busy reporting on school bus strikes and Sillicon Alley doesn’t mean I’ve left Latin America behind. As I report on schools here this spring, my dad and I will also be giving talks about our book, including several in the city this weekend and later in March. I’ll be at Bluestockings Bookstore at 7 p.m. on Sunday and CUNY Graduate Center at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

The book was published by Duke University Press. For more info, check out the book site, a chapter excerpt, and a full events list. If you don’t see my byline on GothamSchools some days, I’ve probably slipped away for a book talk, and I’ll be back soon.

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