Week 1 of the Inaugural Reading Club in the books. It only seems right in these unique times to document what it’s like to do this work virtually when, for the last five years, we have built our program around in-person interaction. But this week of Zoom classes makes clear the value of continuing to push forward and connect. Some other thoughts:
- It will never fail to bring a smile to my face whether in a physical classroom or virtually to enter the space and see a bunch of young Black and Brown faces looking to learn about our culture.
- It will always be affirming to know that when we offer a program, for many of the students in attendance, it is the first time that they can look around the room and be in the ethnic majority.
- There’s so much to our culture for Black kids to connect with. I took glee introducing kids to Mickalene Thomas’s art. Salute to Renee Watson for the shout in “Piecing Me Together” and for writing a story about Black people in PORTLAND all of places.
- These virtual classrooms are not for the unskilled or impatient. I know this as a parent who had to help kids make it to virtual class on time, but it’s a whole different animal to be trying to get through a lesson plan and Wi-Fi won’t let you be great.
- I say it to everyone who I talk to and Ta-Nehisi Coates comes up, so it’s worth repeating here: If you like “Between the World and Me”, “The Water Dancer” or even Coates’s editions of “Black Panther” do yourself a favor and read his memoir “The Beautiful Struggle”. You’re welcome.