Quentin Walcott (“Q”), a leading NYC and international anti-violence educator and activist, creates programs that help transform men and boys — even batterers — into activists against violence. He focuses on the intersections of violence — race, class, and gender — and its impact on marginalized communities. Q is Co-Executive Director of CONNECT, a nonprofit that approaches domestic violence systemically and holistically, including in school- and after-school programs. CONNECT helps males reassess their perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood. While perpetrators need to be held accountable, so do institutions and public leaders.
We speak with Paula Rogovin, who taught kindergarten and first grade in NYC public schools for 44 years. Paula empowered the youngest students to become researchers and activists. She encourages students to ask questions (“anything goes”) and research is interdisciplinary, comprising literature, social studies, art, music, and science. Cultural relevance evolves organically from the research. When students discover injustices, Paula encourages them to channel their anger to become agents of change. Paula’s advice for new teachers, “Teach what you are required to teach, and stretch it.”
We speak with Dr. Ujju Aggarwal, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning at the New School’s Schools of Public Engagement. Dr. Aggarwal explains how neoliberalism, with its emphasis on individual choice, includes a “right to exclude” and perpetuates discriminatory school admissions, not only to some charter schools but also to district schools and programs, describing in particular the experiences of parents in Manhattan’s District 3. Dr. Aggarwal also discusses the participatory action research model, combining data collection and community organizing, which she has helped to develop.
During the interview, Ujju refers to:
- Adina Back (2003). Exposing the “whole segregation myth”: The Harlem Nine and New York City’s school desegregation battles.” In J. Theoharis & K. Woodard (Eds.), Freedom north: Black freedom struggles outside the South, 1940–1980. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Donna Nevel and PARCEO
We speak with Jesse Hagopian, an editor for ReThinking Schools and a long-time teacher in the Seattle Public Schools. He is a co-editor of the book Teaching for Black Lives. Jesse discusses the groundbreaking annual National Week of Action in February that makes four demands of schools: replace zero tolerance discipline with restorative justice, implement ethnic studies in all schools, hire more black teachers, and fund counselors (rather than police) in all schools. About teachers who “don’t want to get involved” in social justice issues, Jesse quotes Howard Zinn, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” NYC’s UFT is one of the few unions that hasn’t endorsed the Week of Action.
Credit: Kuow Photo/Joshua McNichols
We speak with Adjoa Jones de Almeida, Director of Education at the Brooklyn Museum. We discuss the significance of “art as experience.” Ms. Jones de Almeida describes art’s transformational power to educate and empower students of all ages, both personally and politically. The Museum partners with teachers across the academic spectrum and works to include diverse families and communities.
Adán Vásquez on The Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts: “I could be the one playing the cello!”
We talk with Adán Vásquez, executive and artistic director of the Association of Dominican Classical Artists and the Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts, a unique free classical and folk music education program for the youth of Upper Manhattan. Adán Vásquez, a harpist, is an educator, an acclaimed classical musician, and a community activist. He talks about making Latin American and European classical music and Latin American folk music accessible to low-income young people of color, and the role of performing arts in transforming children’s lives and community building. We listen to excerpts of students playing Carabine by Julio Alberto Hernández and the Conservatory faculty (“La Camerata Washington Heights”) performing Migraciones by Servio R. Reyes.
Jason Warwin on The Brotherhood/Sister Sol: building strong Black and Latinx youth leaders for social change
Jason Warwin is the Co-Founder and Associate Executive Director of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, an organization that provides comprehensive, holistic and long-term support services to youth who range in age from eight to twenty-two. Located in Harlem (NYC), Bro/Sis also has programs dedicated to developing Black and Latinx youth in Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean. Jason is a specialist in the design of transformative experiences and we talked about how the Bro/Sis model leads young people to ethical leadership and educational achievement, and makes them an essential part of a solid community that has been fighting oppression for almost 25 years.
Ethical Schools is an an initiative of Ethics In Education Network ®, which offers customized professional development programs for administrators, teachers, and youth workers who wish to prioritize ethics. Please contact us to schedule a free (no pressure) consultation and site visit.