The Zinn Education Project has begun its third year of nurturing communities of anti-racist educators by sponsoring 100 Teaching for Black Lives study groups across the United States.

With almost 200 applications, we heard from a wide range of educators across the country who are “craving tangible ways that we can make our classrooms center anti-racism, inclusion, and equity.”

Each study group member receives a copy of Teaching for Black Lives, a Rethinking Schools magazine subscription, workshops, and more.

Here are some of the hopes and goals expressed by study group members and coordinators.

San Leandro, Calif. Study Group


This year’s study groups represent 30 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Among those selected, 16 alumni groups continue their work from past years. A majority of the participants are teachers but several groups include administrators, counselors, librarians, and support staff.

Meet just a few of the 2022–2023 study groups below.

A group from W.E.B. Du Bois Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, serves primarily African American students in grades 6–12. Teachers at the school have formed a study group to prepare lessons tailored to their students’ needs, knowledge, and interests. They meet monthly and will share lessons they write with the full staff.
A middle school (6–8) group of 17 educators from the Academy of Math and Science (AMS) and Tucson Unified School District has the collective goal of developing and gathering resources on anti-racist teaching to present and share with their larger school community.
Teachers at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County, Virginia, report there is a deeply rooted history of racism at their school. Members of the study group are striving to create a sense of belonging for their Black students by seeking every opportunity to grow in their support of students.
New York School for the Deaf, with two educational departments, elementary and secondary, has a study group of 71 members that includes all staff. They plan to meet once a month and are hoping to become empowered with knowledge to support and educate their student population in a culturally relevant manner.
A social studies teacher at University High School in Carmel, Indiana is forming a student study group during the January term. This will be a month-long intensive class called Anti-Racism 101. The class is an outgrowth of a book club students began two years ago. They hope to develop long term strategies to instill anti-racist frameworks for the school, faculty, and students.
The study group from Special Music School in Manhattan hopes to complete their reading and discussion of the book by January.
In 2023, they will work in cross-content and mixed-age groups to create curricular artifacts that reflect their engagement with Teaching for Black Lives. Finally, they plan to share out the work created as a means to invite each other to dream new ways to engage in anti racist teaching.
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Human Rights Committee of 20 members formed a study group that is embedded into their regular monthly meetings. K–12 educators created a space to “generate and share ideas for promoting anti-racist curricula and practices in Chicago schools.” Their hope is that this work will transform into a regular curriculum share, and eventually, a website to house the curricula.
A group of administrators in the School District of Philadelphia is meeting to dig deep in a community of peers about their role and responsibility in dismantling structural racism. They meet twice a month to share experiences and brainstorm ways to collaborate across departments.
In the San Francisco Unified School District, 10 educators from Daniel Webster Elementary School (K–5) formed a group that includes a teacher from each grade level, plus several support staff members, who will bring back learning each month at their grade level meetings. They are exploring ways to supplement their existing curriculum with identity, justice, diversity, and action lessons that celebrate Black excellence.

Personal Reflections: Why Now?

While every study group has defined collective goals, we asked members:

“Why is being in this group important to you, particularly at this time? What do you hope to find in this group that you are not finding elsewhere?”

Below are some of their responses:

My Black and Brown students were impacted disproportionately by the pandemic. This work is more critical than ever and I see them struggling so much.
I do this for my young self and for my students, who deserve affirmation of their brilliance and beauty. I am hoping to deepen my own practices in the classroom, especially as I create curriculum.
This group is important to me so I can find the validation and support I need as I battle difficult conversations and oppressive systems in my school district.
I teach in a rural community where teaching for Black lives is seen as a threat. I hope to find a group to grow with, in disrupting and re-humanizing spaces in and beyond my classroom to extend the values and practices of Teaching for Black Lives at an institutional and cultural level in my school, district and community — instead of being siloed into a classroom.
Living in Minneapolis especially in 2020 it felt like there was such a powerful surge of hope and change for Black lives and then it fizzled out. I’m still trying to educate myself and others to do better. It’s important to me because I want my students of color and my Black students to feel seen and validated in schools.
Thanks to moving and COVID, I don’t have my typical radical networks to engage in for this kind of learning. I’ve been trying to read on my own, but recognize I learn a lot more in dialogue with others and I miss those connections. It’s a lonely and politically scary time to be a radical educator without her own supportive circles.