Last Summer I was in Mexico, studying Spanish, taking yoga classes and practicing with our Buddhist sangha. My dear friend Diana Platas invited me to visit the UAEM campus where she teaches mostly first generation college students from agricultural families. Diana leads classes on environmental sustainability and these learners are motivated, curious and thoughtful. I was very inspired to hear their stories.
As we were touring their campus tv station, managed cooperatively by students, I was asked to give an interview, about my project in India. As we spoke we made connections between these students in Mexico and ours in India, at Lokuttara Leadership Academy. They are similarly from impoverished village areas, the schools are underfunded and poorly staffed, and they have few local role models. And still their families have supported and encouraged their education and they have found inner motivation to excel. Additionally, the discrimination and injustice these indigenous communities face is similar to that faced by Dalit communities.
I am always interested to have conversations with young people who are committed to learning. That day on that small campus in the mountains was one of the highlights of my Mexican Summer. In the words of Dr. Ambedkar, "Educate. Agitate. Organize."