Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Letters! (Some of my favorite things...)

"Thank You" letters from sixth graders

I recently got this batch of letters from students who participated in my Smashing Stereotypes Workshops. They're sixth graders at an independent school in Los Angeles, and clearly they were given the assignment "write a thank you letter to our speaker."  No matter the motivation for writing me, reading their thoughts about what they learned, and how the workshop effected them, is pretty awesome.

Here are ten of my favorites:

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much for coming to talk to us.  Your "Smashing Stereotypes" workshop was amazing.  It was inspiring.  I've had people tease me about going to a private school and for being too white because my whole building is Latino.  I am Latino.  But now I feel like I have the power to stand up to them.  Thank you so much! Namaste,"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much for sharing "Smashing Stereotypes" with us.  I really appreciated the time and hard work you put into making the presentation.  I enjoyed the part where we put the stereotypes on the sticky notes and them crumpled them to show we were "smashing" them.  I will remember the part when you said that people need to know more than one thing about a person to then know all about them.  Your presentation will help me throughout my life. Namaste,"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much for coming to our school to explain stereotypes to us.  To me this is a very important concept that isn't recognized in our messed up world.  One of my stereotyped traits is that I am Persian.  In addition to that, I am a Jew.  I am very proud of my heritage but once someone asked me if I was a terrorist and I felt horrible after that.  Since then, I have always been against racial profiling and have tried to help as best I can because of my past experiences.  What really stood out to me were the examples of gay men or kids who actually killed themselves or were killed.  I really think that it was amazing and must be stopped.  I also liked how you gave us an activity that was really important.  I think I took away many things form [sic] your lesson, however, I thought that one stereotype that you may consider putting in your presentation is the one about Muslims being terrorists.  Thank you so much once again for coming. Sincerely,"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much for coming in.  I really enjoyed your talk because I have been the butt of some racist jokes before.  You are a great speaker and really touched on many different aspects of stereotypes.  You did a great job and it was one of the highlights of my week.  Thanks."

"Dear, Mr. Wind
You have taught me soo much and now I know how tough it can be to be bullied.  Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedual [sic.]"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much for coming to 6th grade to talk to us about "Smashing Stereotypes." I think that it  was very important for our class to hear about the children who committed suicide and others who were killed.  It helped us understand that bullying is completely wrong and that people shouldn't be teased for being who they are. What really stood out to me is that you didn't just focus on the negative things; you also focused on positive things.  I learned that just everyone should just accept who people are and that everyone is a bit different from another.  Everyone has a stereotype like if you are blonde you are dumb, or if you are Latino you are a laborer, or if you are Jewish you have an accent.  Your presentation taught me a bit more how stereotypes have been proved completely wrong.  I was inspired by your presentation and it helped me and my classmates smash stereotypes.  Yours Truly,"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much, for coming to our class to talk to us about stereotypes.  Like you, I'm glad we talked about it this year and no later.  I loved how you made us stomp on the stereotypes, and I especially enjoyed the video you showed us.  It's a very good thing you're doing, teaching kids that there is always hope.  Namaste,  THANK YOU!"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you for coming to present your workshop.  Your presentation was very well put together and really stood out to me.  I really liked how you showed us all of these pictures and now I have a completely different outlook on gay and lesbian people.  I took away with me that everyone is different in a good way.  Thank you again sooooooooooo much.  Namaste,"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
Thank you so much for coming to [our school] and presenting your amazing workshop.  Smashing Stereotypes made me really think about all the crazy stenotypes [sic] that go on in this world.  I really appreciate the program you run and how you stand for people who are being treated badly.  You made me, personally, really want to make a stand for stereotypes and "smash" them to.  I loved how you told us to write down stereotypes and then step on them and smash them at the end.  You made me think a lot about everything and every story you told.  Tango makes three really stood out to me.  It's crazy how it is the most DANGOUOUS [sic] book in the WORLD!  I loved the presentation and what you stand for.  Thank you so much for coming.  It made an impact on [our] school.  Namaste,"

"Dear Mr. Wind,
First of all, thank you so much for coming in to speak with us.  I [heart] every thing you stand 4.  I made me start thinkin' real hard, why is there sooo much HATE in this world?  I thought and I thought, but, I couldn't come to a logical conclusion.  However, what I did come to a logical conclusion about was that if we all try hard we can bring LOVE into this world.  Your whole presentation reminded me of a famous M.L.K. Jr. quote "Hate cannot drive out hate, only [heart] can do that."  What you do is so kind, and when you talked you had so much passion.  THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME THAT EVERY STORY DESERVES A HAPPILY EVER AFTER!  Namaste,"

I love doing these workshops, engaging with students and empowering them to change our world for the better.  And I loved getting these letters in the mail.
Thanks for letting me share.



ivanova said...


erica lorraine scheidt said...

Dear Mr. Wind.

I love this.

Yours, Erica