Since 2020, the Zinn Education Project has hosted hundreds of Teaching for Black Lives Study Groups. Teachers study how to teach for Black lives and gain the collective strength to face right wing attacks. There is power in numbers.
We’re sharing some of the prompts, films, videos, and books that study groups have included in their meetings.
Why is it important to make spaces specifically for Black girls to talk about their experiences in school and society? In what ways do Black girls often get overlooked in discussions about race?
The Bronx study group started their January meeting by watching “Black Girl Fly” by Funmilola Fagbamila.
In December, the Brooklyn study group members listened to a couple of podcasts that discussed schools in their district.
The Connecticut study group starts every meeting with a review of their community agreements, which includes Luis Valdez’ Mayan-inspired poem, in Pensamiento Serpentino, entitled “In Lak’ech.”
Tú eres mi otro yo.
You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti,
If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo.
I do harm to myself.
Si te amo y respeto,
If I love and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo.
I love and respect myself.
The Corvallis study group recommended the book and film, Pushout, while discussing Section 4 of Teaching for Black Lives: “Discipline, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Mass Incarceration.”
For Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, the Kansas City study group put together a community calendar with optional lessons for students to dive deeper into the 13 Principles. On Tuesday, for Diversity and Globalism, they recommended the video We Still Live Here: Black Indians of Wampanoag and African Heritage and the poem “Afro-Latina” by Elizabeth Acevedo.
For Black History Month, the Hayward study group recommended The Opportunity Gap podcast, especially the episode, “How to Teach Black History to Kids With Learning Differences and ADHD.”
While discussing how “carceral logic” makes its way into schools, a member recommended the Ear Hustle podcast, explaining, “It is a great source of insight for us as adults.” Ear Hustle launched in 2017 as the first podcast created and produced in prison, featuring stories of the daily realities of life inside California’s San Quentin State Prison, shared by those living it.
Members of the Minneapolis study group suggested the book, Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change.
Group members are currently reading Section 3: Gentrification, Displacement, and Anti-Blackness. As a part of this focus, they watched and shared their reactions to Kimberly Jones’ #BLM How Can We Win?
On International Women’s Day, Newark study group members joined a watch party, from their respective homes, for the virtual screening of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Energized by the film, study group members organized a special viewing of the film for families, staff, and students at Dr. E. Alma Flagg Elementary that concluded with a student panel discussion.
The Portland, Maine study group recommended tackling the topic of anti-fatness by listening to the Maintenance Phase podcast, and reading two articles from Rethinking Schools Fall 2022 Issue: “Fatphobia Showed Up in My Classroom” and “It’s a Big Fat Deal.”
In one meeting, the Providence study group wrestled with the idea of “safety” as it applies to schools by engaging with the ideas of longtime prison industrial complex abolitionist, Mariame Kaba. The coordinator read an excerpt from Towards the Horizon of Abolition:
Security and safety aren’t the same thing. Security is a function of the weaponized state that is using guns, weapons, fear and other things to ‘make us secure’… Safety means something else, because you cannot have safety without strong, empathic relationships with others. You can have security without relationships, but you cannot have safety — actual safety — without healthy relationships.
The San Leandro study group recommended Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, a documentary film by Jeffery Robinson, because it “highlights primary sources and foregrounds history that permeates through today’s society.”
The Seattle study group watched the 6-part documentary series Colin in Black and White and reviewed the curriculum guide resource created by Ra Vision Media & Know Your Rights Camp.