Teaching for Black Lives study groups in Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee participated in the Teach Truth Day of Action on June 10, 2023. They organized walking tours, rallies, banned book swaps and giveaways, a community event in collaboration with a local library, a potluck lunch, and a teach-in about Dr. Jarvis Givens’ Fugitive Pedagogy.
An attendee from the Newark, New Jersey rally said,
I left the rally committed at a deeper level to fighting for high-quality and equitable education for Black and Brown children and the right to teach the lived experiences of marginalized folks in schools at all levels. It filled my heart to see so many educators committed to . . . challenging the status quo.
Read more about what study groups organized below.
Brooklyn — banned book swap after school at P.S. 261 Zipporiah Mills and a raffle to raise funds for Foundation 451, a mobile library of banned books for young people in Florida and a Day of Action cosponsor.
Kansas City — potluck lunch, where attendees ate, made rally signs, networked across groups, traded banned books, signed the Pledge to Teach Truth, and heard from five local speakers.
Nashville — teach-in about Dr. Jarvis Givens’ Fugitive Pedagogy, a book full of inspirational stories of Black educators who faced down intellectual abuse and physical violence to create “fugitive” curricula. Participants selected from four mini-workshops to help bring the lessons from the book to their classrooms and communities.
Newark — rally and book giveaway at the Harriet Tubman statue, where attendees visited resource tables and circled around the microphone to listen to poetry, a reading from a banned book, and speakers.
Providence — community event in collaboration with a local public library, with a photo booth, button making and found poem station, speakers from various groups who have been organizing locally, a banned books puzzle, and a community art project where a community scrapbook quilt book was created.
Rochester — trip to the 19th Ward neighborhood, the “home place” as Dr. Bettina Love speaks of in her book, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom. Students and teachers visited the Arnette Library and heard from local leaders who have lived in and served the community for over twenty years.
Stone Mountain — teach-in about the relationship between Shermantown, the historically Black community adjacent to Stone Mountain, the Ku Klux Klan, and the state-run park featuring the largest Confederate monument in the world.
Learn more about all the Teach Truth Day of Action events across the country.
Previous study groups coordinators organized events in California, D.C., Massachusetts, and New Mexico.
Albuquerque — banned books display and photo booth at Bookworks bookstore, one of Albuquerque’s last remaining local, independent bookstores, to raise awareness of the threat to everyone’s freedom to read and learn.
Boston — teach-in with free breakfast, t-shirts, posters, and educational materials that celebrate the history and legacy of the Boston chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Vallejo — march from a local bookstore through the farmer’s market to JFK Library, where people showed their support by shopping for banned books, making signs, taking pictures using a photo frame and posting to social media, handing out flyers, talking to local businesses and vendors, and participating in a call to action.
Washington — rally to teach truth, defend LGBTQ+ rights, and challenge book bans at the African American Civil War Memorial, where educator and Prentiss Charney Fellow Jessica Rucker was emcee, and two SNCC veterans, Dr. Frank Smith and Judy Richardson, were featured speakers.