In this first excerpt from their conversation, Sanchez and Jackson, who are both Pew Fellows, discuss mentorship, respect, and the importance of learning control and complexity in writing.
In this next excerpt, they share their thoughts on the joys and rewards of teaching. Sanchez says, "The joy of teaching is that it teaches—the student, but it teaches you." She goes on, "But it's also about teaching them also about what it means to be human, because the other part, the subtext, always, is what does it mean to be human."
In this moving final excerpt, Sanchez considers her legacy, not just as a writer, but also as a teacher and an activist. "The legacy that I want to leave," she says, is that "I loved you that much that I needed to jerk your head back to really see the country for what it is. And to make it better. Not just to demean this country but to say we're much better than this. We're much better than this. That people have struggled here in this place called America to make it a great country. And we always get so close to greatness and then we just slide back down."
Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on April 25, 2017. Videos produced by and courtesy of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.