Motoko Maegawa


Growing up with my white mother in a household with her white parents, only visiting my Asian father for summers and vacations, I believed that the whitness I saw in my family, neighborhood, and schools was mirroring to me who I was.  I believed the Japanese culture to which I felt connected was external to my actual identity.  My internal thoughts and the stories I sought out and told throughout high school and even into much of college were ones that confirmed the whiteness in me.  It was not until one of my college professors asked me to think about what being a person of color in the field of education that I was planning on entering that a different mirror, a real one, was held up for me to see myself clearly in.  A whole new world of ways of being and knowing was now open to me.  But, how to embark upon that journey?

I became a SEED Leader in 2011 and ever since, I have been supported in figuring out my path - a path that reveals not only my biracial identity, but my gender, class, and sexual identities, to name just a few of the other critical examinations SEED has opened up within me.  SEED continues to help me find myself within my past and current experiences.  SEED supports me in uncovering and sharing the joys, pains, questions, and revelations within me as I get to support others in doing the same.

Currently, I am both the Directory of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Catherine Cook School (Chicago, IL) and a SEED staff member.  My career in teaching (4th - 12th grades social studies/history/ethics and leadership) and administration (Head of Middle School and current role) centered issues of inclusion and equity and I’m grateful for how engaging in conversations that create change encourage both personal and professional growth in the communities in which I work and facilitate.  To date, I have facilitated seminars for PreK-12 faculty, staff, and parents in several schools in the Detroit, Chicago, and New York City area and help coordinate the Chicagoland SEED Regional Network. 

“Movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.” ― Grace Lee Boggs

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