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Urban Educators Build Relationships

School of Education


Educators and community members gathered at ISEEED.

Teachers, students, families, school leaders, university faculty, and community partners gathered together at the Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational and Environmental Design (ISEEED), on October 5, 2012, for an evening aimed at building solidarity among educators committed to social justice in education.

Co-sponsors of the evening were faculty from USF in the Urban Education and Social Justice Program (UESJ) and the International and Multicultural Education Department (IME) at the School of Education, as well as educators from the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice from San Jose State University, Mills College Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships, the Northern California Chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), Castlemont High School, the Association of Raza Educators (ARE), Teachers 4 Social Justice (T4SJ), and the People's Education Movement.

Over 200 people turned out for the standing-room-only event, held at the ISEEED space in Oakland, showing “…the vibrancy and sense of urgency shared by urban educators in our local schools, and the desire for educators to unite,” said USF Associate Professor Noah Borrero, Ph.D., representing the UESJ Program.

Opening the evening was an inspiring performance by Young, Gifted, and Black (YGB), an organization of youth between the ages of 7 and 14. With it’s home base in Oakland, the 32 members of YGB represent seventeen schools in the East Bay; public, parochial, and private. In their fourth year of operation, the focus of YGB is to study intensely African-American history and culture through spoken word, poetry, music, and travel. Their performances are the result of the lessons learned through the completed studies and related experiences.

The evening continued with a conversation with guest speaker David Stovall, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His presentation was titled, Tough Times, Resistance and Real Talk: Into the Political Economy of Race, Place & School. Dr. Stovall has spent the last ten years working with community organizations and schools attempting to bring theory to action by developing curriculum that addresses issues of social justice. 

On the importance of co-sponsoring this and like events, Borrero commented, “Hosting this event showcases the UESJ Program’s commitment to our local communities and the Teacher Education Department and School of Education desire to build relationships with educators across the Bay Area and the U.S.”

Rachel Durham, current USF student in Teacher Education said, “Volunteering at ISEED during the David Stovall talk not only gave me the opportunity to receive an informative and inspirational update on the educational movement happening in Chicago, but it also gave me a chance to stand in solidarity with some of the courageous educators from Arizona who are facing legal charges for teaching ethnic/ Raza studies in public schools. As a Black woman, I have gained an invaluable understanding of myself and society from ethnic studies classes, so I recognize the magnitude of their importance in the lives of our youth.”

For more information on this and the Urban Education and Social Justice Program, contact Noah Borrero. Use Google or a search engine for USFMUESJ videos on YouTube.

YGB is directed by Laroilyn H. Davis, Educator, and Hodari B. Davis, Director of National Events for Youth Speaks, Inc. The group is sponsored by, and is a part of the educational initiatives of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, Inc. More about the power of this group of young people can be found at the Young, Gifted and Black Facebook page.

Written by Barbara Hood, editor, with Dr. Noah Borrero