Over the summer, members of the Melanated Educators Collective decided that there was a need for a conference that spoke directly to teachers of color, community members, and the parents. The title, “Rebuilding a Village: Black Educators and the Black Community, is just a hint of the powerful themes that were presented at the actual conference that occurred on Saturday, September 22, 2018.
Dana King was the keynote speaker, and spoke at length about the legacy of public education for our Black children. A legacy that is filled with purposeful failure and inequity caused by a practice based on white supremacy, which results in our children not being given the best education they deserve and parents being left out of the decision making process. Dana's longevity within our education system (she was the coauthor of the African American History curriculum as well as an educator) helped to weave together a dymanic and informed speech that kept the audience captivated.
The morning included the following three sessions: Navigating the School System K-12: Addressing the Concerns of Special Needs and Exceptional Children, Moving Our Community Forward: Pipeline to Leadership, and Strengthening the Village Through FInancial Literacy. Each were led by one or two facilitators and allowed for a more fluid question and answer format. Each of the sessions provided necessary information that was beneficial for educators, parents, and community alike.
After lunch, the afternoon session included two powerful sessions, Self-Care and Compassion Fatigue, and Racial Isolation Within the Workplace and White Fragility. These conversations allowed for a deeper and more introspective look at how the work can lead to exhaustion and where instances of racism can occur within the school among colleagues.
The participants varied in age, years of experience, and their connection to the community. And the closing remarks invited everyone to deepen their participation by inviting them to other opportunities to continue racial justice work.