In September of 2021, 100 Teaching for Black Lives study groups were selected, received copies of Teaching for Black Lives, attended orientation sessions, and began meeting.

Here are a few reports on their first meetings:

Screenshot of a zoom meeting, grid of smiling faces at a workshop

We read the poem “Two Sets of Notes” and established a “syllabus” beginning with “Capitalism” from the New York Times 1619 Project, as well as the introduction to the 1619 Project. Then we will read the article regarding Kaepernick kneeling and “A Talk with Teachers” by James Baldwin. We talked, for an hour and a half on Zoom, about our motivation for joining the book study and building coalitions around issues of social justice across differences and communities.

— Oceanside, California

Everyone picked a passage in the first 39 pages and talked about why that passage affected us. Discussion was a lot about Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter and a great analogy of a car with flat tire — all tires don’t matter.

— Tucker, Georgia

We started out with the Black Panthers chapter and the one about racial justice and standardized testing. On the latter we had a nice conversation about how essentially students of color are just made to “act white” in order to survive school.

— Las Vegas, Nevada

In our first meeting we set our community expectations and brainstormed how to break down the reading. We decided to take each section and break it into two reading sessions. We are using the questions from the study guide to guide conversations. Our plan is to rotate the facilitation of our meeting each month — this year we are reading and focusing on our learning and next year we will put our learning into action in our libraries across the district.

— Garner, North Carolina