Millburn-Short Hills Magazine Back to School 2020 | Page 14

social justice Teaching the Teachers Dr. Khyati Joshi trains educators to promote socialjustice WRITTEN BY CINDY SCHWEICHHANDLER Dr. Khyati Joshi became interested in the systemic nature ofbias the hard way: She was avictim of it herself. Anaturalized citizen who emigrated with her family to the U.S. from Gujarat, India, when she was 18 months old, she says that, as a“brown girl,” she didn’t fitinto her Atlanta community. “Folks didn’t know what to do with me,” she says. In middle school, she was bullied so relentlessly that her academic work suffered. “A good day was when nobody talked to me because then nobody harassed me,” she says. “I’d leave school and think that the only communication Ihad was with teachers, but at least Iwasn’t made fun of. No wonder Imade all C’s.” Though she grew up alongside many Hindu community members, it was reading Night by holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel that changed her life. “I was obsessed,” she says. “It drove myhistory and English teachers crazy.” Joshi majored in religious studies atEmory University, studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for ayear and returned to America topursue her doctorate in Social Justice Education atthe University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Dr. Joshi was then avisiting assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, where she taught Asian American Studies and Comparative Ethnic Studies; she DR.KHYATI JOSHI COURTESY OF CHARMI PEÑA 12 BACK TOSCHOOL 2020 MILLBURN &SHORT HILLS MAGAZINE