Greetings GCP’ers! Today we focus on several opportunities to examine and explore the impact of race on our sons’ education.
American Promise: We hope by now you have heard about “American Promise”, the Sundance Grand Jury prize winning documentary which follows the journeys of two African-American boys and their families from kindergarten through high school graduation. (Check out our earlier post on this, “’American Promise’: A Work In Progress”, February 27, 2012) The film, which will be opening in theaters on October 18, provides a rare look into Black middle class life while exploring the common hopes and hurdles of parents navigating their children’s educational journeys. (It will also air on public television stations in 2014.) Husband and wife filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michéle Stephenson recently published an Op-Doc video (an Op-Ed piece on film) in the New York Times called “An Education in Equality”, a companion piece to their film, found here. Read and view their personal account of why and how they made this film.
In conjunction with the film the makers of “American Promise” have launched a national engagement campaign, working in partnership with trusted organizations around the country to mobilize young people, families and educators to identify ways that Americans can better support black boys’ social and emotional needs and encourage people to consider the role they play in advancing success for all children. Go to http://www.americanpromise.org for more information about this endeavor as well as the film’s release.
Independent School Diversity Network (ISDN): GCP‘s very first post featured the great work that Wendy Van Amson and Esther Hatch are doing with ISDN in New York City. (“What Parents Can Do: Wendy Van Amson”, February 7, 2011). ISDN is an alliance of parents and educators dedicated to developing and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in school communities. It creates opportunities for interschool partnerships in the New York City area and provides parent support as well as student empowerment/leadership programming. This week ISDN is launching an exciting new parent group in NYC which promises to be interesting and informative called “Why Do We Need To Talk About Race?” This parent group will meet in the evening once a month starting Wednesday October 2 to focus on the following issues:
How do race and privilege affect children in school?
How can we address and focus on the issues of race in our communities as well as acknowledge the multiple identities of people of color?
Why are discussions about race important for ALL students?
How can parents work with their schools to create more inclusive communities for families?
How can parents best communicate with schools and become allies with educators in order to improve all students’ school experience?
How can we promote cultural competency in our communities?
How can parents support each other?
If you live in the NYC area and want to join this group, please go to www.isdnetwork.org for details and more information. If you live outside of the NYC area, consider organizing a parent group in your community to discuss these issues. The NYC parent group is structured following the principles of the “Undoing Racism” workshops offered nationally by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. ISDN suggests that participating in a workshop is highly recommended if you would like to organize (or participate most effectively in) a parent group. You can find out more about these workshops and when one will be offered in your area by going to the institute’s website here. Parent groups like these are safe spaces to share experiences, and talk about the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable issues of race and privilege. If you decide to start a parent group, please let us know how it is going.