I visited Howard Fuller in Milwaukee. It was a good chance to catch up on his activities and to let him know about my activities in Korea.
We have known each other for 2 decades, I have learned many lessons during that time about activism and advocacy. I wrote about him here last year, “Lessons from an education warrior,” and also discussed him in a speech I gave three years ago.
He always has many things going on. His base is the Institute for the Transformation of Learning and he is the base of the local community. He left Milwaukee briefly for college and grad school, and his initial years as an activist were in North Carolina, but otherwise, he has been in Milwaukee for decades.
We met in 1999, our professional affiliation began in 2004 when I joined the board of directors of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. When I organized a book forum in 2004, I decided the schedule based on his availability. He was a contributor to the book I co-edited and he was host when I went on a fact-finding tour to Milwaukee in 2003 to learn about school choice options there.
After meeting and talking at length at his office on Wednesday, we met again on Thursday. We started with a visit to the Milwaukee Collegiate Academy, a public charter school founded in 2003 by Dr. Fuller.
It is spring break, but some of the students were there anyway. One of the youngsters interviewed me for their YouTube channel.
Dr. Fuller and three of the youngsters did a separate quick recording also.
Those three are also the stars of a YouTube video that has gotten more than 2 million views.
Dr. Fuller and I talked quite a bit, he put aside time to talk with me. I also joined a community meeting tackling some issues related to local schools. Participating reminded me of community meetings I used to attend in Washington, D.C. Some people in Korea think I am impatient, and they may be right. I’ve been involved in so many community and planning meetings over the last few decades that I am not patient with people who are more interested in chatting without getting to action.
There were several community leaders at the meeting, but clearly they all looked to Dr. Fuller to give the final word. They were also interested to hear about TNKR.
It was great seeing Dr. Fuller. I learned many lessons from him as I was starting my professional career as a researcher and activist.