Learning during collapse, or thoughts for a Friend

Artwork by Matilda Carbo

Free verse poem: Matilda Carbo


The value of learning, teaching and research does not decrease in times of crisis.

If anything, it gets amplified.

We need the ability to think critically and synthesize information now more than ever.

Read, write, teach. Reinvent what these words mean as need be:

  1. refuse,
  2. protest,
  3. strike,
  4. reach out,
  5. show up,
  6. speak,
  7. build solidarity

— that is teaching to the test; the crucible of liberation.

Whatever is resistance or survival to you, do it.

The will to acquire knowledge makes you a student,

the will to transmit it makes you a teacher,

the will to create it makes you a researcher.

A school did not make you into any of these things; your humanity did.

We create knowledge every day, beyond the classroom: we create it in solidarity, in love, in defiance.

And so we learn,

we teach,

we research,

because we care.

And we care for each other because we know our value.

Because we know our values.

We had to learn somewhere, and we are still learning.

Take care of yourself, your loved ones, your comrades.

That is what education is for, and that is what education is.


Could we have outwitted a system not made to sustain human life?

Could we have found a better shelter to weather the storm?


but here we are.

And that is not our fault.

That is not your fault.

You are where you are.

You will not be stuck there forever.

The sun will rise and so will you.

You can always ask for help.

You are resilient and you do not have to be strong all by yourself.


How can you go back to normal?

Who gets sacrificed for the sake of normalcy?

Where did you learn not to care, and to see unspeakable violence as inevitable?


“It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals in order for people today to recognize their potential agency as a part of an ever-expanding community of struggle.”

– Angela Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle

Aren’t you already struggling? Wouldn’t you rather do it with us, for us?


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