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This article focuses on the ways in which social action can be read and reread through one white female teacher’s experience. More specifically, how I read my actions and how I was read by them illustrates the compelling need to consistently reevaluate our perception of what we believe aligns with the ideals of building socially just and safe communities and what could subvert the very causes we are trying to help. This article originally started as a tribute to the success of my sixth-grade students writing letters to the mayor about the problems with drugs, gangs, and homeless people in their local park. However, as I revisited their letters, our exchanges about this project, and then a letter by the local neighborhood association, I realized that my actions as the teacher could be read in a variety of ways. How people read their actions and how they are read by others can be revealing, intimidating, and quite complicated. Displacing critical fixed spaces of what social justice is and how it is perceived by the actor and the one acted upon is open to a variety of complex and reflexive readings.

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Democracy and Education





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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Democracy and Education in October, 2007

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