I met Kaycee and Jess in their house in New Mexico, which had the most treacherous driveway I’ve ever experienced—but it ended up being absolutely worth it. They had beautiful sunflowers in their front yard, and a house so cute it made me want to move to New Mexico. The adobe style houses are built to keep the inside cool, even at high temperatures. When I walked in from the hot New Mexican summer, I assumed they had the air conditioning cranked all the way up, but when I asked, they informed me that they didn’t have an air conditioner. Impressive! Jess was nursing their newborn, Shell, and Kaycee had just made waffles, fresh breakfast milkshakes, and coffee that she happily shared. They talked about their lives in New Mexico, a battle they were having with a 6-foot snake that kept eating their chickens, and of course, their time at Antioch.
Since getting my master’s recently and going back to school, I’ve realized how thankful I am for all of the critical thinking skills that are easy to take for granted. I don’t think that most people are taught to do that kind of critical thinking and power and privilege analysis, that feels pretty second nature to me in all the work that I do. That’s something that I would never want to give back. I’m really thankful to Antioch for that. The people that I had the opportunity to study with, professors as well as students, are some of the most remarkable people that I’ve met in my life so far and continue to be, and continue to do work that I just think is so powerful and brilliant. We have friends that we’ve stayed in very close touch with going on 10 years now. We live all over the country and we still collaborate and run work stuff by each other. The kind of institutional challenges that we presented, and that we were presented with, I feel like developed relationships that have been really vital throughout my adulthood.
We were there at a very tumultuous time. We participated in some institutional criticism that afterwards was chalked up to being very detrimental to the institution. I don’t think that that was the case. I think there were already some really big underlying issues. But we were definitely involved in a very loud conversation, about race, specifically, and power and privilege in general. I really appreciate that, even though there was push-back, there was space to have that conversation. That wouldn’t have gone down in the same way at a different institution. Even though things kind of fell apart in some ways in response to it, there was the space to do that, and I appreciate that as a learning experience. I feel like that applies very directly to any work that you want to do in the outside world around colonization— around, not just systems of oppression, but the history and reality and current impacts of oppressive systems, and I really appreciate that experience. I don’t think it’s one I could have gotten elsewhere.