"Michael Brown, Philando Castile, and Charleena Lyles were all victims of police violence — but they were also public school students, workers, and parents. If schools are ever to be truly 'safe spaces,' we will need to build our capacity to defend each other. Whether from police, white supremacists, or ICE agents, among other tools of systemic oppression, this will require social justice work inside and outside the classroom.

We need to transform our schools into sites of resistance to a system that devalues Black lives, and we need to rededicate ourselves to building an education system and a society that values and celebrates them."

Teaching for Black Lives Editors


An editor for Rethinking Schools and member of the organization’s executive board, Watson is the social studies coordinator for the secondary program in teacher education at Lewis & Clark. Watson began her professional career as a GED instructor for young mothers in Portland and then taught social studies at Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon. There she developed and taught the first African American history course and helped create and implement a school-within-a-school program for freshmen and sophomores. Watson is also one of the co-editors of the popular book for teachers, Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice.


An editor for Rethinking Schools, Hagopian teaches ethnic studies at Seattle's Garfield High School where he is also co-adviser to the Black Student Union. Hagopian is a founding member of the Social Equity Educators (SEE) and a contributing author to Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History. He is also the editor of More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing.


An editor for Rethinking Schools and a former public high school social studies and language arts teacher, Au is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell campus. He is editor of Rethinking Multicultural Education: Teaching for Racial and Cultural Justice and co-editor of Rethinking Our Classrooms Volume 1 (Revised and Expanded Edition). Au is also the author of many academic articles and books, including Critical Curriculum Studies: Curriculum, Consciousness, and the Politics of Knowing.

NOTE: This list is not yet complete.


Crystal Proctor teaches math at June Jordan School for Equity. 


MK Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and professor. He is the author of four books, including Buck: A Memoir, which was praised by Maya Angelou as “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” His poem, "Two Sets of Notes," is featured in this book.


Linda Christensen is director of the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. She is a Rethinking Schools editor and author of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up and Teaching for Joy and Justice. Her articles in Teaching for Black Lives include "Trayvon Martin and My Students," "Burned Out of Homes and History," and "Raised by Women."


Bill Bigelow is the Curriculum Editor for Rethinking Schools. He is also an author and editor whose titles include A People's Curriculum for the EarthRethinking Globalization, and Rethinking Columbus, among others. Bigelow has two articles in Teaching for Black Lives: "The Color Line," about racist colonial laws and a role play, "Reconstructing the South."


Alison Kysia is the project director of “Islamophobia: a people’s history teaching guide” at Teaching for Change. Previously, she designed Islamic studies and anti-Islamophobia teaching modules for adult education audiences, including religious leaders, social justice activists, and teachers. She taught U.S., world, and Islamic history in an urban community college and English language to adult immigrants. Alison holds a B.A. in Race, Class, and Gender Studies and a M.A. in History.


Clint Smith is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University whose writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and The New Republic. He is the author of Counting Descent (Write Bloody Publishing, 2016), which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.


Adam Sanchez is an editor of Rethinking Schools magazine. Sanchez teaches at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City and works as curriculum writer and organizer with the Zinn Education Project. HIs articles in this book include "Taking the Fight Against White Supremacy into Schools," "When Black Lives Mattered," "What We Don't Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should," and "Teaching SNCC."



James Baldwin's "A Talk to Teachers" has become foundational reading for radical educators who are thinking about the intersections of race, class, identity, and classroom learning. We're honored to be able to republish this article with permission from the James Baldwin Estate.


Kara Hinderlie teaches at Irvington School in Portland, Oregon. She works with the Oregon Writing Project. Her article in Teaching for Black Lives is titled "Black Is Beautiful."


Jody Sokolower is former managing editor of Rethinking Schools, editor of Teaching About the Wars, and co-editor of Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. She is currently a teacher educator and coordinator of the Teach Palestine Project at the Middle East Children’s Alliance in Berkeley, Calif. Her pieces in this book include interviews with Michelle Alexander and Candace Valenzuela, as well the article "Teaching Haniyah."


Michelle Alexander is visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary and is best known for her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. An interview with Alexander, conducted by Jody Sokolower, is included in this book.


Michelle Nicola currently teaches middle school language arts and Spanish at Bridger School in Portland, Oregon. Nicola was a recipient of the Excellence in Education Award from Teaching Tolerance in 2014, and she is a frequent contributor to Rethinking Schools.


A few years ago, Candice Valenzuela created and facilitated a group for young Black women at Castlemont High School in Oakland, California. She grounded her work in womanist, Black feminist, and critical pedagogy, as well as her own lived experience as a Black multiethnic woman of working-class origins and a history of trauma. Valenzuela currently coaches early career teachers in culturally relevant teaching, critically conscious pedagogy, holistic wellness, and earth-based spiritual healing. An interview with Valenzuela, conducted by Jody Sokolower, is included in this book.


Haniyah "Askara X" Muhammad wrote the piece featured in this book, "Haniyah's Story," when she was 17 and in high school. She is an MC in the Bay Area and a proud mother.


Bridget Brew is a PhD candidate in sociology, but continues to teach math through the Cornell Prison Education Program.


Aparna Lakshmi is a Boston Public Schools history teacher and a member of the Boston Teachers Union.


Ursula Wolfe-Rocca teaches at Lake Oswego High School in Oregon and is a frequent contributor to Rethinking Schools. Her article in Teaching for Black Lives is about how to teach about COINTELPRO.

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Aracelis Girmay is a poet whose collections include Teeth, Kingdom Animalia, and The Black Maria. She is a Cave Canem fellow and received the Whiting Award for Poetry in 2015. Her poem, "Night for Henry Dumas," is included in this book as part of Renée Watson's article "Happening Yesterday, Happened Tomorrow: Teaching the ongoing murders of Black men."


Monique Morris co-founded the National Black Women's Justice Institute and is the author of several books including Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. We're republishing an important interview with Morris as part of the collection.


Renée Watson (reneewatson.net) is an author, performer, and educator. Her children’s books have received several honors, including an NAACP Image Award nomination. She teaches poetry at DreamYard in New York City. Watson's articles in Teaching for Black Lives include "Happening Yesterday, Happened Tomorrow," "Bearing Witness Through Poetry," and "Black Like Me."


Eve Ewing, most recently the author of Electric Arches, is a sociologist of education focusing on racism, social inequality, urban policy, and the impact of those forces on young people and schools. Ewing is Assistant Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and she is also author of When the Bell Stops Ringing: Race, History and Discourse amid Chicago's School Closures, which will be published by the University of Chicago Press in fall 2018. Her article in this anthology is "Vacancies to Fill."


Bob Peterson is an editor of Rethinking Schools and former president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. He taught fifth grade in Milwaukee Public Schools for 30 years. HIs article in Teaching for Black Lives is "Presidents and Slaves: Helping students find the truth."


Bill Fletcher Jr. is a longtime labor, racial justice, and international activist. Fletcher is an editorial board member and columnist for BlackCommentator.com and a senior scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Fletcher is the co-author (with Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice (University of California Press) and ‘They’re Bankrupting Us!’ And 20 Other Myths about Unions (Beacon Press). HIs article in Teaching for Black Lives is about reclaiming  and teaching the 1963 March on Washington.


Linea King has been teaching English language learners in Portland, Oregon, public schools for close to 20 years. King's piece in Teaching for Black Lives is "Baby Steps Toward Restorative Justice."


Linda Mizell is an educational historian, teacher educator, author, and education consultant whose professional interests center on the creation of multicultural, anti-racist, inclusive communities, in pursuit of which she has worked extensively with schools, colleges, and community organizations. Her research focuses on the intersection of social and political activism with education activism in Florida’s Progressive Era African American communities.


Abbie Cohen is a master’s candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education studying education policy and management. Her article in this book is "Jailing Our Minds" and is about "no excuses" charter schools and the effects of high suspension rates.


Willie Perdomo is a poet whose collections include The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon. He is also the author of Smoking Lovely and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime. Perdomo is a Pushcart nominee and two-time New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow. His poem, "Forty-one Bullets Off-Broadway," is included in this book as part of Renée Watson's article "Happening Yesterday, Happened Tomorrow: Teaching the ongoing murders of Black men."


Karen Zaccor teaches high school science and has taught in Chicago Public Schools for 20 years.


Dominique Hazzard is a food justice advocate, a black freedom organizer, and a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University studying the history of racial capitalism, land use, and the environment.


Gretchen Kraig-Turner teaches at Burlington-Edison High School in Burlington, Washington. Kraig-Turner’s article published in Teaching for Black Lives is “Beyond Just a Cells Unit: What My Science Students Learned from the Story of Henrietta Lacks."


Jeff Waters is an educator, organizer, and community justice advocate. He focuses on engaging school communities in democratic dialogue.  His article in this book, "The Most Gentrified City of the Century," is co-authored with Becky HenkleBerry.


Chrysanthius Lathan is a public school 8th-grade teacher and writing coach in Portland, Oregon.


Adam Renner taught math at June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco, and before that he was an education professor at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. He died In December 2010 at the age of 40. 


Becky HenkleBerry taught both elementary and middle grades for ten years. She currently serves as an Assistant Principal with Portland Public Schools. 

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Nancy Zucker's 30-year career as a freelance designer includes six years as the art director for Rethinking Schools — her all time favorite client. You can see her work at zuckerdesign.com.


Ari Bloomekatz is the Production Editor of Teaching for Black Lives. Bloomekatz is the Managing Editor of Rethinking Schools and was formerly a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. His writing has also appeared in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe