I grew up just outside of Detroit at a time when the bumper sticker, "Will the last person to leave Michigan please turn out the lights?" was both popular and true. My family's economic status rose and fell with the fluctuations of the auto industry, providing me with the perspectives of what it is like to do without and appreciating when times were good even more than those who have never had tuna casserole. I was a local newspaper reporter in Central Florida and various parts of Michigan (near Traverse City,  Southwestern Michigan, and Macomb County, Michigan) for nearly six years. During that time, I earned three Michigan Press Association awards (one for local news coverage and two for spot news photography). I was also a secondary teacher in white suburbs of Detroit and Baltimore as well inner-city Baltimore and Prince George's County, Maryland for eight years. In addition, I was an adjunct composition professor at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland (about halfway between Baltimore and Philadelphia) for seven years. I earned my bachelor's degree with two majors: English (with a community journalism emphasis) and political science at Western Michigan University. I also earned a master of arts in teaching secondary English at Wayne State University (while earning additional teaching endorsements in political science and social studies from Wayne and a secondary teaching journalism endorsement from Michigan State University). When I was told my first master's degree would not qualify me to teach full-time at a community college, I earned a second master's degree (a master of arts in English with a focus on writing and teaching criticism) from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. With my close friend Gregory M. Butler  (an English adjunct professor at both Towson University and Harford Community College), we wrote Elements of Composition: Research, Rhetoric, and Writing, an e-textbook available from Kendall Hunt. I am currently a doctoral student in the writing and rhetoric program and a graduate teaching assistant in the English department at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. By living, working, and studying in urban, suburban, and rural areas of America, interacting with diverse groups of people with a wide range of cultural and political perspectives, I argue -- in spite of attempts by the economic and political elite to persuade us otherwise -- that we have far more in common than most Americans believe. If we learn to listen to one another and learn how to communicate with each other  by employing all of the tools at our disposal, I believe we can join in common cause to address the injustices in our society in a manner that will meet the needs of all and preserve our distinct cultural identities without devaluing those of our brothers and sisters. It is my life's mission to fight for economic and social justice, as well as help all I work with to discover and harness their multiple voices to advocate for themselves. To paraphrase Finley Peter Dunne, I believe in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.
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