Last month, a PSC contingent traveled to Howard University in Washington, D.C., for the National Coalition on School Diversity conference.
Jill Bloomberg, ninth-grade ELA teacher Rahsan Williams, and high school students Theola Carbon, Feyisola Oduyebo, and Amanda Lee spoke on a panel about PSC's work on integration.
For the students, it was an exciting, if nerve-wracking, moment in the spotlight. They talked about the ways PSC facilitates conversations through weekly circles, rallies, Black History Month assemblies, and other means. When someone in the audience asked what strategies exist to integrate schools, "I was like, our school has strategies!" said Theola. Audience members, they added, were intensely interested to hear about a school that sat in a white middle-class neighborhood but had, until recently, no families from it.
It was eye-opening to attend other sessions as well. Feyisola learned of school integration efforts in a small town in North Carolina as well as in the Bronx, "so I got to see the rural and urban sides of it." They also were thrilled to meet Nikole Hanna Jones, a civil-rights journalist (who recently produced a This American Life segment about school integration in Hartford, Connecticut). In the end, said Theola, hearing so many people speak so passionately about school integration "makes me feel that all the things I'm doing might actually help."
Also at the conference, parent Melissa Moskowitz facilitated a workshop on communication strategies around school integration. She attended on behalf of IntegrateNYC4Me, an organization working with PSC on a mural project.
Conversations about school integration are becoming more common, and urgent. We're proud that the PSC community is taking a leading role.