In 2013, when George Zimmerman was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s death, Aim High’s curriculum team worked all weekend gathering and creating resources our teachers could use the following Monday to help students process their emotions about such a clear injustice.
The following summer, after an NPYD officer killed Eric Garner and a Ferguson, Mo. officer shot Michael Brown, we added to our curriculum.
The summer after that, when Freddie Gray was murdered by six Baltimore police officers, we added yet again. We renamed the curriculum “From Ferguson to Baltimore.”
Since then, more Black lives have been senselessly taken and too few white perpetrators have been convicted. We have had to rename it once again, “From Ferguson to Baltimore and Beyond.” Aim High educators are heartbroken and asking ourselves: How many more pages do we need to add? When will it stop? What can we do about it?
One thing we can do this summer is to encourage our staff, teachers and our students to read books that help them make sense of the world, that help them learn more about others who are different from them (windows) and learn more about themselves (mirrors). Especially during this time of shelter in place, books are our most powerful tool in seeing a world outside of our own.
For middle school students (and the adults who care about them):
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
American Like Me by America Ferrera
American Born Chinese by Gene Yuen Lang
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas
For the adults in our community:
Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Aim High stands in solidarity with our Black students, families, teachers and the communities we serve. Read a statement to our Aim High community from Executive Director and Co-Founder, Alec Lee.