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A special series of University of Colorado Boulder’s Ed Talks will feature five educators and scholars who came together last summer to design A Queer Endeavor’s Educator Institute for Equity and Justice.

The team helped A Queer Endeavor expand its annual summer institute for K-12 teachers to include a broader focus on equity.

“There’s this incredible collective of graduate students who worked together in this very powerful way before the institute,” said Kathy Schultz, dean of CU Boulder’s School of Education. “It seemed very powerful to ask them to bring their stories together.”

The free, virtual Ed Talks event is at 5 p.m. Thursday. To register, go to

The series is designed for educators, change-makers and “anyone who is interested in learning and unlearning our understanding of learning and each other as we work together to create a more just world.”

“We use our Ed Talks as a way to introduce ideas in the School of Education that the larger community may not be aware of,” Schultz said. “We want to broaden an understanding of education ideas to a lay audience.”

The talks will explore themes that include place, identity, family, the body and romance.

Graduate student María Ruíz-Martínez, who spent eight years in Milwaukee as a teacher and community organizer, plans to talk about “A Love Letter to Milwaukee: Bilingualism, Community and Social Change.”

Ruíz-Martínez said she felt a collective joy as an organizer, presenter and participant at the summer institute that she hadn’t felt since leaving Milwaukee.

“The joy I experienced at the (institute) became an anchor for me to explore how communities, like the one I grew up in, help shape who we are and what we want to become,” she said.

Milwaukee’s community, she said, helped shape her as an educator.

“Now, I continue to be shaped by my encounters with the inspiring community of educators in Colorado,” she said. “Through these various encounters, like the ones I experienced in the (institute), I continue to learn how to engage in a relational practice of imagination, liberation and social change through community.”

Brittni Laura Hernandez, a scholar in residence with A Queer Endeavor, plans to use her relationship with the Mirasol chile to talk about self and community.

Graduate student Page Valentine Regan is presenting a talk on “Getting Free: The Queer Imaginings of a Hopeful Romantic.” Graduate student Kachine Kulick plans to talk about “When Our Bodies Speak, Can We Listen?”

Graduate student Robyn Tomiko’s talk is titled “Lifting the Veil: The Truth About Teaching.” Based on her time as a middle school English teacher, she plans to share how she learned that teaching English was only a fraction of the actual job.

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