Portrait Project


"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Dominique Baillet

I've always had a big mouth.

In third grade, I informed my teacher, Mr. Rogers, that the design for recess line-up was flawed: we kids spent disproportionate time organizing alphabetically at the cost of the very freedom recess was intended to provide. He put me in detention. Not for the sentiment, I believe, but rather for the reckless delivery.

I have never feared authority figures concerning matters of opinion. Although, as I have gotten older, I have experienced the harsher risks of speaking out. I have agonized in embarrassment. I have been tortured by misinterpretation. I have wanted to shut my big mouth once and for all. And I have had to think carefully about tact.

The world is bigger than when I was eight-years-old. I feel more exposed and less sure about weighty issues. But I know systems – small ones like the recess-line and big ones like the architecture of public education – will not change with silence.

So, I will use my voice with care. I will speak up and speak honestly. I will ask questions that disrupt the status quo. I will not only share my perspective but also seek yours, so that together we can better understand the world's complexities.

Together, we will propose ideas and challenge them.

Together, we will change minds – our own and others'.

Only together, through spirited dialogue, can we begin to make progress.

— Dominique Baillet