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D.I.V.A. Diaries

The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured


Edited By Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams

The Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (D.I.V.A.S.) is a group of Black women who formed a bond with one another as doctoral students as a means of support on their journey through the academy. The acronym defines the women individually and as an entire group. This anthology can be used as a practical, student-centered sourcebook for Black female doctoral candidates. By providing narratives about the importance of race, class, culture, religion, socioeconomics, and nationality, this book aims to encourage more Black women to pursue a terminal degree and to continue professional development throughout their careers. It provides readers with strategies to sustain themselves while in a graduate program, on the job market, and during the tenure-earning process. Contributors are full of passion as they encourage one another while bringing the reader into their realm of the academic battlefield.
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8. The Liberatory Educator: Transforming Lives, One Student at a Time



8. The Liberatory Educator: Transforming Lives, One Student at a Time


As Charlie stood before my Bikram yoga class for the first time perfectly fit, radiant, and confident, I thought about how her very presence was liberating to me. She looked like a real-live Disney fairy, straight from Pixie Hollow, but most unlike the Tinker Bell character type. Even though her yoga wear resembled a Tinker Bell costume, it was slightly altered with spaghetti straps and cheetah print. This robust woman was unique in that she embodied a new-age fairy prototype: a tastefully tattooed, dark-haired bohemian with the temperament of the approachable and wise monarch Queen Clarion. From my vantage point, Charlie’s character would make a wonderful addition to the fairy franchise.

In addition to her illuminating aura, what she said at the end of class as we were cooling down in shavasana greatly impacted me. The last relaxing pose of the 90-minute session usually ended with nature sounds emitting from a stereo while students finished meditation and headed to the dressing room in staggering fashion. On this particular day, however, Charlie lowered the volume and spoke into our lives as if she were a garden fairy sprinkling pixie dust on flowers to ensure their growth and vitality. As I lay on a mat resting and focusing on a breathing technique, Charlie’s strong, clear voice echoed throughout the room to recite a familiar poem. She said:

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