Teaching in a Movement for Justice

Curated by Paul Allison
February 10, 2015

Civil Rights leader, Rep. John Lewis inspires our thinking for this collection. In a Washington Post interview (25 Dec. 2014), he compares the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March with the recent Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter protests: “What is happening is not like a firecracker where you just come and pop off and make a lot of noise, and you’re gone,” Lewis said. “It’s more like a pilot light that continues to burn.”

This collection asks: What’s the pilot light in our curriculum that helps students to connect around important issues of race and justice in our time?  Another way to ask this question: How do we build curriculum, rituals, tools, and skills in modular, open, inspiring ways that will give students the permission to follow their passions, yet also invites them to go deep into important issues as committed and informed citizens? How can we use social reading tools like and to engage students in critical, close reading and collaborative inquiry? How can we use resources such as those in this collection to see if we can move our conversations and our curriculum about race into the kinds of institutional and structural work that is suggested by the researchers at Race Forward?  

One of the resources here hightlights our conversations about #BlackLivesMatter On Teachers Teaching Teachers (TTT). We have been thinking about how Ferguson and the movements for racial justice impact on our classrooms and in our interactions with students and with each other.  On a recent episode, Chris Rogers pointed us to Race Forward’s research “because racism has levels” he wrote in a chat.

We have been studying their report Moving the Race Conversation Forward and creating learning experiences for our students in which they can do similar kinds of research and perspective-taking. This institute’s work around Preventing Racial Inequity in Schools and Beyond has become an important area of inquiry for the Youth Voices/Teachers Teaching Teachers network of educators. This is what we have been talking about on Teachers Teaching Teachers and building into our missions on Youth Voices: how to introduce Race Forward stances, protocols, and practices into our classrooms.

And further, we are asking how we can use Youth Voices, Hangouts On Air, and other tools such as NowComment and Genius to have conversations across schools. Our segregated school systems too often lead to students having these conversations mainly with peers who are a lot like each other. We seek–mainly through Youth Voices–to break down some of these walls.

I’ve also been working on a Gooru collection of resources around Selma: And the exciting bevy of resources out there attached to the #fergusonsyllabus is an ongoing inspiration.

We invite you to join us as we make plans for students to exchange their stories, views, poems, and ideas on Youth Voices. We invite your students to connect with the youth using the resourses in this collection and in spaces like these on Youth Voices to connect, talk, and organize:  |  | And please remember to join our little corner of the movement on Teachers Teaching Teachers every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific at

Image credit: The All-Nite Images on Flickr cc-by-sa-2.0

What's Inside