All Heart, No Walls: This is Birdie Rodriguez

By Brooke Porter

Today, social justice is a hot button topic that evokes many connotations, both good and bad. 5th grade KIPP Durham Social Justice Teacher Birdie Rodriguez embraces these controversies in her classroom. Rather than teaching her students American history from the traditional perspective of the white male, Birdie strives to explain history from the perspective of the minority, the marginalized, and the oppressed, introducing topics that directly impact the lives of her black and brown students. All Heart, No Walls: This Birdie Rodriguez details the intersections between Birdie's background, teaching philosophy, and relationships with her KIPP students and explores how Birdie's motivations shape her dreams for her students.

Social Justice is one of my passions; however, it wasn't a passion I discovered until I was well into my teenage years. The first time I spoke to Birdie about the thought behind teaching history through the perspective of social justice I was struck by the wealth of pertinent knowledge about themselves and the world that KIPP students are gaining in her class, knowledge that I wasn't exposed to until much later in life. I am so grateful to KIPP, Professor Post-Rust, and Birdie that I had the opportunity to peek into Birdie's unconventional way of dedicating her life to social justice.