Berkeley High Vice Principal and PADC member Shannon Fierro put together some helpful thoughts and resources for educators. While some of the content is specifically about inauguration, most of it is about how to continue having important conversations about equity.
While it may be difficult for many teachers to dedicate an entire class period to discussing the inauguration, we want to offer some ideas that may help you choose the path that is right for you and your students.
Our first piece of advice is to simply be responsive to where your students are, and the energy in the room. You could start by a simple check in or writing prompt, “how are you doing today?” Being honest about how you are doing, and giving a little time to check in will send a message to students that you are making space for their full selves. Please be aware that you may have students in your class who feel particularly targeted by the incoming administration and may be experiencing an even deeper level of stress and anxiety. If you a perceive a student to be struggling, we encourage you to make a decision that accesses your relationship with that young person. If you feel comfortable, have a word with them in the hallway. You could also ask them if they need a break from class, and use one of your 2 break passes that were provided to us this week. Please also be aware that you may have students who will feel fine, and may be happy about the outcome of the election. There have been some conflicts since Nov. 8th, and we want to be sure to remind our students of our expectation that they be civil to each other.
If you do choose to dedicate significant class time to the inauguration, there are an infinite number of directions you could go in. We are including resources below. We encourage you to share other ideas and resources that you may have as well. Please remember to take care of yourselves and remember that ours is a collective journey.
Berkeley High School
JOIN THE PIEDMONT APPRECIATING DIVERSITY COMMITTEE, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & PIEDMONT COMMUNITY LEADERS FOR THE WOMAN's MARCH - OAKLAND
Upcoming Event: City of Piedmont’s 20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Sponsored by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee (PADC), and The City of Piedmont
2017 Theme: Bystander or Ally? Deciding When to Act
Location and Time Information
Monday January 16, 1:00-3:30pm
Piedmont Veterans Hall
401 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611
This event is free and open to the public
Piedmont: Diversity panel denounces Sims killing, recalls musician’s involvement with city - article from the Piedmonter, November 30, 2016
PIEDMONT — As communities around the Bay Area mourn the killing of young, talented musician William Sims, the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee that advocates for tolerance and respect for all people expressed shock and dismay of a possible hate crime against Sims. “Piedmont knew Will through his performances with Oaktown Jazz (Workshops) at our Martin Luther King celebrations over the years. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event, and also alarmed to see hate crimes happening,” PADC executive board member and former co-president Margaret Huang said Wednesday. “We mourn Will’s murder and will continue to work to promote and practice inclusiveness within Piedmont and surrounding communities,” Huang said. “We encourage anyone with information on the case to work with police so that justice will be served. Our prayers and positive energy to out to his family and his many friends. ”Sims’ mentors at Oaktown Jazz Workshops also expressed sadness and remembrances. Sims played with Oaktown Jazz Workshops from age 13 to 18.
The Oaktown Jazz Workshops appears annually at the MLK Day commemorations in Piedmont, as well as at other city events. Oakland-based Oaktown Jazz Workshops is an after-school music education program that draws younge people from all over the Bay Area.“Will was an ‘in-the-moment’ type of person with a peaceful vibe,” said Ravi Abcarian, executive director for Oaktown Jazz Workshops. “He enjoyed the collaborative aspect of music playing piano with a full group sound with the other musicians.“I met him when he was a young teenager in his formative years,” Abcarian continued. “His family was very supportive of him and his music. They were always driving him to different performances and rehearsals, a very engaged family.“He was also a good singer but we didn’t know that at the time because he was a little shy. I know he also later played other instruments. I know that he was targeted and it had nothing to do with a disagreement, but purely a hate crime. It is shocking,” Abcarian said.
The gentle, talented 28-year-old African American man was beaten, robbed and shot Nov. 12 at an El Sobrante pool hall, his body dumped on a roadway. The Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee called for donations to a gofundme account set up for Sims and posted on Facebook: “We mourn the senseless death of Will Sims, a graduate of Oakland School for the Arts and Oaktown Jazz Workshops as an alumnus from 2001 to 2006. He performed at many Piedmont MLK celebrations. “Piedmont resident Lois Corrin, an African American who for years organized the annual MLK Day event in Piedmont, expressed her sorrow about the death.“It is just despicable,” Corrin said. “A voice of jazz is not here any more; he was much too young (to die). He spread joy. We have to have peace and get along embracing and loving each other. No intolerance.“Who do these (suspects) think they were? He was an ambassador for humanity, another one of ours taken, a (sorrow) for both for the African American and the overall community.”
According to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, a group of men jumped Sims inside the Capri Club. One suspect has been arrested, 31-year-old Daniel Porter-Kelly of Richmond. Sims was also a Richmond resident.The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office have charged Porter-Kelly with murder, with a hate crime enhancement. Two other suspects are being sought in connection with the crime, 32-year-old Ray Simons of Hercules, and 31-year-old Daniel Ortega, from Richmond or Novato.
Sims’ family spokesman James Harris said Sims also played guitar, saxophone and violin and was self-taught. He continued playing and singing at jazz festivals throughout Northern California. Sims was “a very gentle soul who didn’t have any problems with anyone,” Harris said in news accounts.Abcarian said Oaktown Jazz Workshops, as well as some community colleges and music programs, will be planning a tribute to Sims in the near future.
Note: A gofundme account has been established to help the Sims family with funeral and other expenses. Donate at www.gofundme.com/William-Simms-jr-memorial-fund-share. As of Tuesday, $16,515 had been raised.
November 21, 2016
Dear Piedmont Neighbors,
Reactions to the national election and recent alarming acts of prejudice and bigotry in Piedmont have led us to reflect on our values and who we are as community leaders. While we may have differing political, religious, social, or sexual orientations, we each feel strongly that, at our very core, we value diversity, respect, and inclusivity.
We, along with Piedmont Unified School District and City of Piedmont staff, are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and civil community through our policies, our programming, and our leadership. We stand firm in our collective belief that a safe and civil environment in our schools and across Piedmont is paramount.
To be clear, we will stand firmly united to promote acceptance and kindness, and we will stand up to bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and violence. We will stand in support of our diverse community, honoring and protecting every resident regardless of race, creed, color, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, orientation, or identity. We will strongly uphold our established policies prohibiting discrimination, hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes, hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyberbullying, and other disruptive or violent behaviors in our schools and our city.
The City and the School District share these values. The City Administrator and the School Superintendent collaborate to ensure that our community is welcoming and works together for the betterment of its citizens. Our Police and Fire Departments, along with all City Department Services, work in concert to keep our residents safe and secure. Our teachers are holding age-appropriate discussions with students, including reminders about the importance of reflection, respect, and civic engagement. They teach our students the skills, attitudes, and competencies to stand in the shoes of others; exercise empathy; speak out against bullying; make responsible, caring choices; solve problems peacefully; and, as they grow up, become the architects of a better world.
We recognize that we live in challenging times and navigating the waters ahead may not always be smooth. We want to reassure our community that we will take care of each other, we will respect each other, and we will not tolerate the intolerable. By focusing on our shared values of respect and inclusivity, we have an opportunity to come together to be our best selves, to support each other, and to strengthen our community.
Piedmont Board of Education
Andrea Swenson, President
Sarah Pearson, Vice President
Amal Smith, Member
Doug Ireland, Member
Rick Raushenbush, Member
Cory Smegal, Member-elect
Piedmont City Council
Jeff Wieler, Mayor
Robert McBain, Vice Mayor
Teddy Gray King, Councilmember
Jonathan Levine, Councilmember
Tim Rood, Councilmember
Jennifer Cavanaugh, Councilmember-elect
Randall Booker, Superintendent, Piedmont Unified School District
Our community and others across the United States have in the past weeks experienced incidents of hatred and intimidation meant to exclude and isolate members of our society. To the extent that the results of the presidential election have been interpreted by some to mean that racist, sexist or xenophobic attacks are in any way acceptable, the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee (PADC) stands firmly opposed to such behavior. We are and will continue to be a resource for those who find themselves in need of support and advocacy.
Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us
By Claude M. Steele
Through dramatic personal stories, Claude Steele shares the experiments and studies that show, again and again, that exposing subjects to stereotypes—merely reminding a group of female math majors about to take a math test, for example, that women are considered naturally inferior to men at math—impairs their performance in the area affected by the stereotype. Steele’s conclusions shed new light on a host of American social phenomena, from the racial and gender gaps in standardized test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men. Steele explicates the dilemmas that arise in every American’s life around issues of identity, from the white student whose grades drop steadily in his African American Studies class to the female engineering students deciding whether or not to attend predominantly male professional conferences. Whistling Vivaldi offers insight into how we form our senses of identity and ultimately lays out a plan for mitigating the negative effects of “stereotype threat” and reshaping American identities.
About this author
Claude M. Steele is a former professor at Stanford University who is now executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. Read more about this book, including quotes from the text, at this link
On Tuesday evening, September 13, Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith did not tell a packed student center how to "talk with their kids about race," delivering a brilliant head-fake instead. She opened with a survey of research supporting the eixstence of Implicit Biases, and the impact those biases have on everyone. Then she presented a case for counteracting the pervasive negative imagery and narratives associated with people of color. (So pervasive, in fact, that even the nation's first black president blithely contributes to the narrative with false incarceration statistics -- yikes!) As she wrapped up her prepared remarks, highlighting some successful initiatives that actively change these negative perceptions, we come to realize that her own presentation has been doing precisely that: most if not all of the research she presented was by people of color -- nice.
But wait, what about talking to kids about all of this? To which she replied something like, "I don't know your kids. But you do, so you tell me how to talk to them." Which was a great segue to the Q&A, easily the most powerful segment of the evening, with so many poignant questions. Just to cite a couple:
And Dr. Briscoe-Smith's response to questions like these is profoundly empowering: Start by reminding yourselves of your family values -- "we are kind," or "we treat people with dignity" -- and proceed with empathy, honesty, and genuine curiosity. She also modeled some great responses of course, but was careful to point out that, like many acquired skills, talking comfortably to kids about race would take practice, and suggested parents try it out on like-minded friends and colleagues to build confidence.
Her insight on this subject is truly remarkable, and we have received overwhemingly positive feedback from people who were fortunate enough to attend the event. We're also hearing requests more resources. Fortunately, Dr. Briscoe-Smith has provided us with a rich trove of links, many from her website, some of which we're sharing below.
One of PADCs key strategic objectives is to bring the discussion of Implicit Bias out into the Piedmont Community. We can't think of a better way to start the year than this! Onward.
To promote and practice inclusiveness, foster an appreciation of differences, and raise global awareness within Piedmont and surrounding communities.