Describe your Wakanda.
That was our invitation to 75 teachers at the 6th Annual Teaching Activism Conference on Sunday May 20 at the City Museum of New York when Philly Children’s Movement Steering Group members Maleka Diggs, Andrea Myers, and Jen Bradley facilitated a discussion with educators entitled, “Black Panther: Champion for his community and beyond.”
In that session, our guiding questions were:
- How can we support youth who have a desire to advocate for themselves and their community?
- How can superheroes be used to inspire an activist culture with youth?
After getting to know each other via our favorite Black Panther movie characters, participants examined their practice and comfort level in addressing race, racism, and activism in the classroom. Film clips allowed everyone to critique and imagine the worlds of wonder that we hope to create in schools, as well as the approaches that hinder or enable that creation.
Teachers were given tips on how to create classroom environments that spark and support students finding their voices and addressing issues that impact themselves and their community, while realizing that this work begins with each of us, examining our own biases, ideas, and policies.
Finally, teachers were challenged to act, grappling with the essential question:
How will you use your discipline as a tool to help students understand and transform their world?