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Educators discuss inclusivity and social justice at annual Teacher Action Group event

Darryl Murphy

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

More than 100 educators, community members, and students came together Saturday to celebrate Teacher Action Group’s 8th annual Crawl Spaces for Liberation event.

The event, which was held at Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School, consisted of workshops and conference panels exploring the ways educators and community members can capitalize on opportunities to draw a connection between the classroom and social justice movements.

Chris Rogers, a TAG member, said that given the political climate this year, there has been a resurgence of activism and more groups are working together.

“That’s going to really help us as we move forward,” he said. “I feel that convergence this year.”

Representatives from the Temple University Community Collaborative, student activist group Youth United for Change, TUFF Girls, an advocacy group for Philadelphia girls, and the Attic Youth Center, an organization for LGBTQ young people, participated in the opening panel, before the teacher-led workshops.

There were 12 workshops, each focusing on different ways to promote diversity and inclusivity in Philadelphia education. They included discussions about queer and trans-friendly classrooms for students, creating anti-racist identities for white teachers, introducing revolutionary texts, and continuing the work of #BlackLivesMatters week. At least 20 people participated in each workshop.

Serafina, a senior at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School who is considering a career in teaching, said attending the event was a chance to get an idea of what changes need to be made to improve education for students.

“Seeing the basis of where a [student] might be coming from and trying to communicate with that is a really intuitive process,” she said.

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