LaShelle Ferguson

Clarissa Simmons-Cameron

The Racial and Social Justice Committee of the Prince George’s County Educators Association (PGCEA) Teaching for Black Lives (T4BL) study group meets monthly via Zoom with 20 members from across the school district. In January, they discussed “Brown Kids Can’t Be in Our Club” by Rita Tenorio, from Section 5 — Teaching Blackness, Loving Blackness, and Exploring Identity — in preparation for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

LaShelle Ferguson, 8th-grade U.S. History teacher and co-coordinator of the Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Teaching for Black Lives study group, said,  

I think it’s important to have conversations about race and not shy away from them. I know the first time that we talked about race in my family, I was probably around 5 or 6. 

It is a seminal unit that Tenorio did with kindergarteners. . . I think it’s important for kids to have a safe space at school to have those conversations, as well, and as adults, we need to have a road map to overcome our trepidation around it.

Clarissa Simmons-Cameron, a co-coordinator and former elementary educator added: “picture books are always a good way to have any kind of courageous conversations. Our children are smart enough to be able to have those conversations.”

The group also read “Black Boys in White Spaces” by Dyan Watson, and members responded to the question:

What does it mean to teach with intentional love?