On May 20, 2024, the Zinn Education Project hosted an end-of-year celebration for the 2023–2024 cohort of Teaching for Black Lives study groups with special guest, Denisha Jones, co-editor of Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice. Participants listened to coordinators talk about their study group experience with high school teacher and Teaching for Black Lives co-editor, Jesse Hagopian.

To open the session, participants filled a word cloud by adding a word to describe what it means to teach for Black lives.

In small groups, members elaborated on the word they shared. One participant said a central part of teaching for Black lives is “empowering young people who identify as Black to shape change in the world and for students who don’t identify as Black to become empowered to act in solidarity.”

Jesse continued the conversation, asking everyone to share their favorite chapter or article from Teaching for Black Lives. Jones and several early childhood educators expressed their love for “Black is Beautiful”. Many educators enjoyed “A Talk to Teachers,” “Dear White Teacher,” and the poetry sprinkled throughout the book.

Bryan Cockrell shared a story about the impact for Wheaton, Maryland, study group members of reading Restorative Justice: What It Is and Is Not.” 

Bryan Cockrell

Wheaton, Maryland

Jesse introduced a panel of three coordinators to talk about their experiences:

  • Dr. Candace Cofield, Equity and Antiracism Administrator on Special Assignment for the Educational Services Department of Hayward Unified School District in California.
  • Margarita Marichal, Teacher Education Program Director at Interamerican University in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Ina Pannell Saint-Surin, special education teacher in an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) 5th-grade class at P.S. 261K, Brooklyn, New York. 

Watch the panel discussion:

Panel Discussion with

Candace Cofield, Margarita Marichal, and Ina Pannell Saint-Surin

Afterward, participants shared their own teaching stories in small groups. 

To conclude the session, educators completed the end-of-year survey to provide feedback about their study group experience.

Read What Study Group Members Said