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Lincoln Students Learn from ‘Race in America’ Project

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Lincoln Students Learn from ‘Race in America’ Project
Posted on 01/23/2018
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Two guest speakers at Lincoln Middle School this month shared their experiences of racism encountered in their daily lives. The presentation to seventh-grade social studies students was the culmination of a unit of study called “Race in America” that examined current issues of race in this country. 

Students heard from two presenters on Jan. 9: Shay Stewart-Bouley, author of the award-winning Black Girl in Maine blog and executive director of Boston's Community Change Inc.; and Jimi Two Feathers, former Community Change board member and longtime facilitator and community organizer. Community Change Inc. is a 50-year-old nonprofit organization that educates and organizes for racial equality.

Students heard personal as well as anecdotal stories from both presenters that demonstrated the overt and covert examples of racism that occur in their daily lives. Following the presentation, students gathered in smaller breakout sessions to respond to circle prompts that were facilitated by Lincoln teachers.

The end of the day brought the opportunity to gather again with the larger group to ask questions and share insights learned from the guest speakers’ presentations.

Participating teachers and students were both surveyed and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

One student wrote: “all of Shay’s stories opened my eyes to how people of color have been marginalized for so long. Her stories made the hair on my arms stand up. They were heart wrenching. Another student shared: “I enjoyed how the two of them gave personal experiences. When they shared micro-aggressions and racist experiences, I saw a lot of effects on people like surprise or anger. It was nice to meet with someone who told you face-to- face about racism today.”

Seventh grade social studies teachers Alice Shea and Andres Martinez each won Portland Education Foundation grants that funded this opportunity.