Since 2020, the Zinn Education Project has hosted hundreds of Teaching for Black Lives Study Groups. Each study group receives copies of Teaching for Black Lives and a Rethinking Schools subscription for each participant, a year-long menu of workshops and seminars to choose from, and access to a network of social justice teachers across the United States.
In 2021, participants in the Teaching for Black Lives campaign — study groups, online classes, and/or Teach Truth Day of Action — were interviewed to reflect on their experience.
Dr. Cierra Kaler-Jones, a community-based educator, writer, researcher, and the first-ever Executive Director of Rethinking Schools. She said,
I come to education justice work by way of my students. As a dance teacher of mostly young Black girls, they would come to the dance classroom every day after school and they would have so many critical questions. They would say, “Miss Cierra, can we learn about Black history and dance, because we don’t learn it at school? Can we learn about women’s history at dance, because we don’t learn about women’s history at school?”
And they would also say things to me like, “Miss Cierra, can we talk about current events at dance class? Because I know that there are so many things going on in the world and I wanna figure out what I can do to make a difference.” Young people are asking for this history, they are asking for this learning, and they deserve this learning. And it’s up to us as educators: We have a beautiful duty and a responsibility to be in community with young people and to learn alongside them.
Listen to an excerpt of her interview below.