INNERVIEW: BORDER CROSSERS
Benny Vásquez's first experience in social justice was as a teenager with an organization called The Toxic Avengers. The organization was the first of its kind to be solely operated by Latino youth who were fighting against a toxic waste facility located in Benny's hometown of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Wesleyan University student later taught Boston middle school kids in a program called Summer Bridge. His love for education originated there as he learned to build curriculum and develop his teaching practice. Benny married education and social justice work at the Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network as Director of Student Organizing. He worked with students, helping them start gay-straight alliances in their communities.
It was his experience working at a predominantly white school after GLSEN that showcased to him the disparity between the resources affluent; white children enjoy in school versus those that innercity kids receive. While trying to push a diversity agenda that was not aligned with the school's agenda, Benny received his first dismissal from a job. He described his firing as the best thing that ever happened because it led him to his present-day work as the Co-Executive Director of Border Crossers an organization dedicated to dismantling racism within public, charter and independent schools as well as within organizations that work with and groom prospective teachers.
Benny reminds us that when we think the worst has happened, new opportunities may very well be presenting themselves. A great failure can catapult us towards our greatest work.
Have an #innerview into the life and work of Benny Vásquez, the Co-Executive Director of Border Crossers.
The Series: Have an #innerview into the lives of people who have steered away from conventional career and life pursuits in exchange for non-traditional, multi-dimensional pursuits.