In August 2023, Teaching for Black Lives study group coordinators gathered for an orientation session to plan for the 2023–2024 school year. Jesse Hagopian, co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives and high school teacher, opened the session by providing historical context of Black education-for-liberation and how the study groups are aligned with that tradition. Hagopian played a one-minute clip of Charles Cobb, a SNCC veteran who wrote the treatise for Freedom Schools, and referenced the following quote from him:

Freedom Schools in 1964 were not simply an effort at remedying the issues of reading, writing, arithmetic, and history. They were part of the structure aimed at resisting the enslavement of Black minds.

Participants reflected on two questions:

  • What is your relationship to this tradition? 
  • How are your goals for the study group aligned with this tradition?

For the remainder of the session, coordinators reviewed the facilitation and month-to-month guide, and gathered in breakout rooms to discuss plans and/or concerns for their study groups. 

Read key takeaways from coordinators below.

Both the inspirational leadership and sharing, as well as time to talk with colleagues and discuss potential ideas and logistics.
It is very nice to have a framework and resources to work off of for the study groups! Thank you!
It’s so good to connect with fellow educators/resistors.
I liked reflecting on the purpose and connection to our own relationship to Black liberation.
You could teach many, many others about how to use Zoom and time effectively. This is, I kid you not, the first time that I wasn’t watching the clock, didn’t pull out my phone, etc..
Everything was relevant and helpful, no “busy work” or unnecessary activities.
All of the session was useful — the history, the emphasis on practical logistics, the breakout opportunities (I’m not the only one who is a bit nervous), lots of resources, and even the reminders that there will be ups and downs.
Whoever was running the chat was so quick to drop the relevant links, with clear headings; transitions were so smooth. Overall really well organized.