Contributors: Early Learning Training Coordinator, Michelle Winters and Early Learning Coaches Fanny Yang and Aaron Jeffers
On June 2– 4, 2021, DEEL hosted the sixth annual Children, Race, and Racism Institute: Elevating the Brilliance of Black Boys. Too often, the work of racial equity is framed within a deficit-based context; narratives that define Black boys and whole communities and populations by their struggles and not their assets, achievements, and abilities. This conference sought to shift that narrative and center Black boy brilliance and joy, through research, policy and practice to provide educators with knowledge and strategies to support the genius of Black boys.
This three-day event was co-hosted by DEEL Director Dr. Dwane Chappelle and Dr. William White, Director of My Brother’s Teacher at the University of Washington, using an interactive virtual platform, Hopin.
Over three days, a total of 639 attendees tuned in live to hear three different keynotes from national and local leaders, as well as nine workshops led by educators working in the field. Participants also heard from a youth panel from the Seattle Public Schools Student Leadership Council and visited a virtual expo/vendor hall. Audience members included educators, administrators, and directors working with children across the birth to secondary educational spectrum.
Inspiring and passionate keynotes were delivered by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., author of The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys and Founder of The Privilege Institute; Dr. Debra Sullivan, author of Cultivating the Genius of Black Children and past President of the Seattle Black Child Development Institute, and Chris Chatmon, Co-Founder and CEO of Kingmakers of Oakland. Workshops led by local and national educators provided attendees with strategies, tools, and resources to carry out the important work of uplifting Black boys and other BIPOC children.
The highlight of the conference was a one-hour youth panel discussion, “Nothing About Us Without Us: Breaking Bread at the King’s Table” featuring Kings (ages 14-17) from the Seattle Public Schools Student Leadership Council out of the Office of African American Male Achievement. These young leaders shared their personal experiences within educational systems, reflections on the work to be done, and wisdom on how to get there. The Kings struck a deep chord with the audience; throughout the entire 60 minutes, audience members filled the chat box with a torrent of appreciations, reflections, and spirited agreement. Many stated that it was an honor to hear these young Kings and admired the Kings’ confidence in speaking truth to power; those in community with these Kings spoke of the immense pride they felt seeing Black brilliance in action. Audience members left the session grateful for and inspired by these Kings.
Watch the recorded keynote speeches and workshops from the conference at the links below:
- “All-Black, Pro-Black. Crafting Black Transformative Environments (Even in all White Spaces)” by Ciera Young, Hiawatha Davis, Mike Browne
- “America is Changing: #StayWokeEducators” and “The Black Boy Question: Can White (Women) Educators Build #BlackGenius & Black Excellence?” by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr.
- “BOOM AND ZOOM! Supporting Boys in the Preschool Classroom” by Kenneth Sherman
- “Through Our Eyes – The Lived Experiences of Black Male Teachers” by Dr. William White
- “Black Cultural Capital and the Black Community” and “Elevating the Genius of Black Boys” by Dr. Debra Sullivan
- “Early Literacy Kings” by Amin Robinson, Anthony Johnson, Chris Chatmon, Kahlil Chatmon, Victor Johnson
- “#naturesowhite: Liberating Outdoor Spaces for Families of Color” by Khavin Debbs
- “Risky Play is Risky Business: The Equity of Play” by Nick Terrones
- “Why We Can’t Wait: A Lifetime Commitment to our Black Males” by Dr. Amir Gilmore & Mike Browne
- “Nothing About Us Without Us: Breaking Bread at the King’s Table” by AAMA Student Leadership Council Kings: Ajala, Ajani, August, Kevin, LeManuel, Tijar, Trevon
- “We Dare Say Love” by Chris Chatmon
The Children, Race, and Racism Institute is an annual event hosted by the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning. Learn more at https://education.seattle.gov/.