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Black Lives Matter at School: Philly Edition – Live Stream 1.13.21 – 5p EST

The next episode of encuentros políticos is a live streaming collaboration with Haymarket Books,  Black Lives Matter Week of Action​ + USALA Radio​

Black Lives Matter at School: Philly Edition

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 5p EST

Activists, educators, and contributing authors to the book Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice (Haymarket Books) Tamara Anderson​, Jesse Hagopian​, Ismael Jimenez​, and Dana Morrison​ join Edwin Mayorga​ for a conversation about the struggle against systemic racism in schools, how we can win real educational justice and the lessons from Black Lives Matter at School organizing in Philadelphia and beyond.

***Register through Eventbrite to receive a link to the video conference on the day of the event. This event will also be recorded and have live captioning.***

To register visit the eventbrite page:



Tamara Anderson is an advocate for children and teens, an antiracist trainer, a professional artist, an editor, a freelance journalist, and a blogger with over twenty years of experience as an educator. She supervises middle and high school pre-service teachers at La Salle University and serves as an adjunct at West Chester University. Her work with juvenile justice led to her being the recipient of the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant.

Jesse Hagopian is a member of the national Black Lives Matter at School steering committee and teaches Ethnic Studies at Seattle’s Garfield High School. He is the co-editor of Black Lives Matter at School, an editor for Rethinking Schools magazine and is a co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives.

Ismael Jimenez is a dedicated educator, who for the last fifteen years has worked with students in Philadelphia from preschool age to high school. Ismael assisted in the development of the updated social studies curriculum for the School District of Philadelphia. Ismael is a core member of the Racial Justice Organizing Committee and Black Lives Matter Philly, a founding member of the Melanated Educators Collective and a co-founder of the Philadelphia Black History Collaborative.

Dana Morrison is an Assistant Professor in West Chester University’s Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies. She began working on higher education outreach for the week of action in Philadelphia in 2017 and has since organized Black Lives Matter events with students, faculty and staff throughout the PA State System of Higher Education.

Edwin Mayorga (moderator) is a parent, educator, scholar-activist. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies and the Program in Latin American and Latino Studies at Swarthmore College (PA). He is host of the podcast Encuentros Políticos/Political Encounters on USALAmedia.


This event is sponsored by Haymarket Books and USALAmedia. While all of our events are freely available, we ask that those who are able make a solidarity donation in support of our important publishing and programming work.


Information about the book

Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice, connects thousands of educators around the country who are fighting racial and economic inequality in schools.

Black Lives Matter at School is an essential resource for all those seeking to build an antiracist school system.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Black Lives Matter at School succinctly generalizes lessons from successful challenges to institutional racism that have been won through the Black Lives Matter at School movement. This book will inspire many more educators and activists to join the Black Lives Matter at School movement at a moment when this antiracist work in our schools could not be more urgent and critical to education justice.

Contributors include Opal Tometi, who wrote a moving foreword, Bettina Love who shares a powerful chapter on abolitionist teaching, Brian Jones who centers Black Lives Matter at School in the historical context of the ongoing struggle for racial justice in education and prominent teacher union leaders from Chicago to Los Angeles and beyond who discuss the importance of anti-racist struggle in education unions. The book includes essays, interviews, poems, resolutions, and more from educators, students and parents around the country who have been building Black Lives Matter at School on the ground.

To purchase the book at a reduced price visit Haymarket Books:

Radio: Schooling for Critical Consciousness, with Dr. Scott Seider and Dr. Daren Graves

Image of man with classes and cap. He has his chin and head propped up by his left hand. Circle with words political encounters and encuentros políticos written inside the circle. name edwin mayorga, ph.d. and USALAmedia logoTune in to Encuentros Políticos/Political Encounters, Tuesdays at 4p EST & Sundays at 5p EST on

Episode Description

In the context of COVID19 & social insurrection there are so many questions right now around educators can best care for and support Black and Latinx youth, and work alongside them in understanding the racial and social injustices they are facing and how to develop strategies to transform these conditions. To discuss this wide range of topics I am pleased to have Dr. Scott Seider and Dr. Daren Graves, authors of the recently published book Schooling for Critical Consciousness (Harvard Education Press) , on the next Political Encounters/Encuentros Políticos.

Download this episode from Spreaker:

Book Description

From Harvard Education Press

book cover with title and image of Black adolescent studentsSchooling for Critical Consciousness addresses how schools can help Black and Latinx youth resist the negative effects of racial injustice and challenge its root causes. Scott Seider and Daren Graves draw on a four-year longitudinal study examining how five different mission-driven urban high schools foster critical consciousness among their students. The book presents vivid portraits of the schools as they implement various programs and practices, and traces the impact of these approaches on the students themselves.

The authors make a unique contribution to the existing scholarship on critical consciousness and culturally responsive teaching by comparing the roles of different schooling models in fostering various dimensions of critical consciousness and identifying specific programming and practices that contributed to this work. Through their research with more than 300 hundred students of color, Seider and Graves aim to help educators strengthen their capacity to support young people in learning to analyze, navigate, and challenge racial injustice.

Schooling for Critical Consciousness provides school leaders and educators with specific programming and practices they can incorporate into their own school contexts to support the critical consciousness development of the youth they serve.


Headshot of white man with no facial hair

Provided by Scott Seider

Dr. Scott Seider is an associate professor of applied developmental and educational psychology at Boston College. His research focuses on the role of schools in supporting adolescents’ civic development, and he has reported on this work in more than 70 academic publications including Schooling for Critical Consciousness: Engaging Black and Latinx Youth in Analyzing, Navigating, and Challenging Racial Injustice (Harvard Education Press, 2020). Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, Dr. Seider worked as a teacher-educator at Boston University and as an English teacher in the Boston Public Schools and Westwood Public Schools. He serves on advisory boards for a number of youth-serving organizations including EL (Expeditionary Learning) Education, the Center for Parent & Teen Communication, and the Journal of Adolescent Research.


Headshot of Black man with glasses and a beard

Provided by Daren Graves

Dr. Daren Graves is an Associate Professor of Education and Social Work at Simmons University and Adjunct Lecturer of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research lies at the intersection of critical race theory, racial identity development, and teacher education. Dr. Graves has reported on his work in a variety of publications including Schooling for Critical Consciousness: Engaging Black and Latinx Youth in Analyzing, Navigating, and Challenging Racial Injustice (Harvard Education Press, 2020). He also co-teaches Critical Race Theory in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Graves serves as co-Chair of the AERA Hip Hop Theories, Praxis & Pedagogies Special Interest Group.


Radio: Busing, deseg. race and Dem politics, w/ Drs. Theoharris & Royal

You can find a new episode of #encuentrospoliticos on Spreaker

Busing, desegregation. race  and Democratic politics, a conversation with  author Dr. Jeanne Theoharris, followed by insights about Philly from Dr. Camika Royal


The issue of “busing,” school desegregation and race returned to public conversation following an exchange between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former vice president Joe Biden in the second night of the Democratic presidential debate.

Harris highlighted Biden’s opposition to “busing,” with Biden pushing back, saying he had been a “lifetime champion of civil rights,” and what he opposed was “federal intervention” and what opponents called “forced busing.”

Scholars Matthew Delmont and Jeanne Theoharris wrote a Washington Post article earlier this week titled,  “How school desegregation became the third rail of Democratic politics, where they provide a historically informed perspective on the discussion of busing.”  In the article Delmont and Theoharris argue that “ busing was never actually the issue. The real issue was the pervasive and damaging segregation that existed in schools throughout the country and whether all schools would actually desegregate. And with their slippery positions on desegregation, Harris and Biden expose the longtime cowardice of the Democratic Party in dealing with school segregation, particularly outside the South.” 

To further elaborate on their points, I am pleased to be able to speak with Dr. Jeanne Theoharris, and to further elaborate on the issue here in Philadelphia I speak with Dr. Camika Royal toward the end of the show.


Jeanne Theoharis is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of City University of New York and the author or co-author of numerous books and  articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements and the contemporary politics of race in the US today. Her widely-acclaimed biography The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks won a 2014 NAACP Image Award and the Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.  Her recent book A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History won the 2018 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize in Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, The Nation, Slate, the Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, the Intercept, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr Camika Royal is an urban education expert with 20 years of experience. Her work focuses on the intersections of race, politics, history, and urban school reform. She has been a teacher, a teacher coach, an urban school leader coach, and an instructor to teacher educators. Currently, she is the Assistant Professor of Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland. Her work is aimed toward anti-oppressive education, challenging the colorblind racist ideology that permeates traditional pre-service preparation and in-service educator development.

Dr. Royal is currently writing a book on Black educators and 50 years of racism and school reform in Philadelphia. She is a highly requested speaker, consultant, and professional developer on issues of school context-based racism and cultural oppression through ideologies, policies, and practices. In 2017, she won the Exceptional Woman in Education Award from the YWCA of Tri-County Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Royal earned her B.A. in English Literature at North Carolina Central University, her M.A.T. at Johns Hopkins University, and her Ph.D. in urban education at Temple University.

Tune in





It’s been six months since you moved on to the other side

Photo Dec 08, 9 06 25 PMAs my first semester here at Swarthmore is coming to an end, I had the great opportunity of having students from my #TeacherLives course come over for a potluck dinner this evening. What a wonderful group of human beings they are. It has been an honor to be called their teacher.

I would not have reached this point in my own life without the support of my family, and in particular my father, Luis Enrique Mayorga.

Today marks six months since he went on to the other side, and there is not a day that goes by that I think of him. I hear him in my own voice when I wake Teo up in the morning (a levantarse señor). I think of him when work is piling up and the end is not in sight (a meterle mano). 

In memory of my father, I wanted to share the eulogy I wrote for him. I also post the slide show of pictures we put together for him during his memorial in June. Finally, today is when John Lennon died in 1980. My father turned me on to the Beatles and John Lennon, so I share Imagine here. My father was not always a hopeful man, but the hope that he did have he enlivened through us, his children.


I do hope you are well, wherever you may be.  Please know that I’ve been really fortunate to work with some really amazing students. You would have liked getting to know them. We are all thinking of you, and keep you close to us.




2014-12-08 23.18.04

Eulogy for Luis Enrique Mayorga

by his son, Edwin Mayorga

Good afternoon, buenas tardes. Welcome, bienvenidos.

I’m Edwin Mayorga and this is my sister Tamarah Mayorga. We, along with our mother, Maria Elena Mayorga, our sister, Milena Doss, our brother, Mauricio Centeno, our partners Jennifer Lee and Raul Ogaz, our children Melissa Macedo, Desiree Macedo, Teo Mayorga, and grandchildren Maya Bueno and Micah Macedo, want to thank you for joining us today to celebrate the life of our father, step father, father in law, abuelito, Luis Enrique Mayorga.

We want to thank everyone for your messages of love and support over the last week. We are particularly grateful to our tio Marlon Mayorga and his family, tia Eufemia; cousins Jessica, Marlon, Paul and Kevin; partners Bianca, Edna, and Krystal; nieces/nephew Mylee, Zoe, and Kellen, for being there with us over the last week.

We want to thank the bible study group that my parents were a part of, and whose members have so generously brought us lunches and dinners in recent days to help sustain us through this difficult time.

Finally I want to thank Guerra y Gutierrez mortuary for hosting us this afternoon. And Presbyterian intercommunity hospital of Whittier  for caring for our father in his last week with us on this earth.

I wanted to start with a poem by Nicaraguan poet Gioconda Belli

Uno no Escoge

Uno no escoge el país donde nace;
pero ama el país donde ha nacido.

Uno no escoge el tiempo para venir al mundo;
pero debe dejar huella de su tiempo.

Nadie puede evadir su responsabilidad.

Nadie puede taparse los ojos, los oidos,
enmudecer y cortarse las manos.

Todos tenemos un deber de amor que cumplir,.
una historia que nacer
una meta que alcanzar.

No escogimos el momento para venir al mundo:
Ahora podemos hacer el mundo
en que nacerá y crecerá
la semilla que trajimos con nosotros.

One Does Not Choose

One does not choose the country where he is born;

but he loves the country where he is born.

One does not choose the time to come into the world;

but should leave traces of his time.

No one can avoid their responsibility.

No one can cover his eyes, ears,

be mute and cut off their own hands.

We all have a duty of love to fulfill.

a story to give birth to

a goal to reach.

We did not choose the moment to come into the world:

Now we can make the world

where the seed that we brought with us

can be born and grow


Luis Enrique Mayorga was born on July 15, 1955 in Leon, Nicaragua to his parents Salvador Mayorga and Esperanza Palma Mayorga. raised in Managua, Nicaragua He would immigrate to the United States in 1974 at the ripe age of 19 and would marry Maria Elena Chang in October of 1975.

He peacefully passed on Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm. He was surrounded by members of his immediate family, his brother, Marlon Mayorga’s, family and friends.

My father possessed, like all human beings, many flaws and strengths, but he was always a hero to me. I remember vividly drawing him in uniform in a school assignment when I was in first or second grade and I wrote next to the drawing that I wanted to be a soldier, just like my dad.

Dad WAS a soldier he enlisted in the US Army in 1977 and he would spend the next 11 years in both active duty and in the army reserve. He would end his military service as a Staff Sergeant (at the rank of E-6).

But in retrospect I think of him more as a warrior. There is a distinction, for me, between soldier and warrior. The soldier is a trained and paid member of an organization designed to participate in battle, conversely the warrior participates in battles that are familial, moral, intellectual, and spiritual over the course of a life time.

Dad was engaged in struggles long after he left the armed forces.

Much of dad’s life was spent being at war with own his physical body. In 1983/1984 dad began to show signs of having polymyositis, a chronic inflammatory diseases of muscle. He would live with the disease for the rest of his life

His battles were of the mind and the spirit, dealing with a failing a body, facing the realities of poverty and navigating the psychological and emotional challenges that these hardships had wrought on him and his family.

He may have ultimately lost the war with his body, but it is this warrior/guerrero spirit, a will to luchar, to fight, to struggle, that will continue on. This spirit was the seed that our father brought with him into the world, the seed he gave birth to and grew each and everyday.

It was this warrior spirit that gave him the strength to immigrate to a new country as a teenager.

Never physically returning to Nicaragua after the 1970s, he forged a new life with my mother, her two children, and later my sister and myself. Still he did not forget his beloved home country and the memories he had of growing up there.

It was this warrior spirit that kept him engaged in being a learner and an intellectual.

Mom remembers dad always being in school, whether it be when he was majoring in political science at cal state LA,  or learning to build computers at the local adult education center, participating in bible study, or having late night  philosophical conversations with his kids,  my dad was always engaged in a life of the mind.

It was this warrior spirit that pushed him to fight for his children and grandchildren, their education and their overalls life conditions

He would be part of PTAs, school field trips, school and after school events. He would partake in advocating for us and for our schoolmates in order to ensure that we had sufficient resources. On the day to day. He would graciously give rides to us and our friends to make sure we all got home safely. Upon hearing of his passing, many of my friends would express condolences and remember my father and his warm and boisterous presence at so many different events. He was never afraid to have a good conversation with anyone.

It was this warrior spirit that would get him in trouble at work or social service agencies.

Dad was always ready for a battle, and I have many memories of angry phone calls and the receiver being slammed down to hang up on someone dad disagreed with. Hey, like I said earlier he had strengths and flaws. Still, this helped him ensure that he and his family would have the resources we had rights to. We were poor but dad, with mom at his side, would find ways to find what we needed to have comfortable and enriched lives. Sometimes that would require some hard fought battles.

It was this warrior spirit that made even having fun an intense process.

We live in a place where Disneyland, Knott’s Berry farm, Sea World, and Las Vegas, were just a short drive, or senior bus rides, away, so my dad loved taking us, or himself, to places when we could afford it. He seemed to get a particular kick out of surprising us with these short trips and goin’ hard all day.

I remember vividly going to Laughlin, Nevada one long weekend. Toward the end of the weekend, my dad, walking along with the cane he would walk with for most of his life said, in all seriousness and enthusiasm, “so where should we go next when we get back” being the teenager who now dreaded going anywhere with his family, and having been drained by the current trip, said, can we just stay home? Dad was insulted, I think because I had taken the air out of his ballon. Still he just kept right on planning. Kept right on moving. The trips would grow fewer and farther between, but each time it was an intense adventure.

I think in the end it was this warrior spirit that would help him live as long as he did.

He would live with the polymyositis for nearly 30 years, defying the initial prognosis that he would live for three years at most.

Let’s be clear, life was never easy, and there were many days where he did not feel like going on, but he endured. He endured primarily for us, his children and his wife, his family, and for that we thank you dad. It was your ability to endure, filled our lives with a lot of highs and lows that influenced deeply who we all are.

Dad, we miss you, but we seek solace in knowing that you will be able to rest peacefully now.

We hope to continue carrying on your warrior spirit through our own lives and the lives of our children.

Please know you are always with us.


Slideshow of Images 


Imagine by John Lennon



Teaching in the time of #Ferguson

Edwin Mayorga
Swarthmore College

Protesters_with_signs_in_Ferguson.jpg via Wikipedia

The changing same

News from Ferguson began streaming in last night, and I found myself searching. Searching for answers, searching for justice. As an educator at a higher education institution, who is committed to ending racial, economic, and educational injustice, I found myself thinking about what I had been trying to do this semester, and what more I could do now.

The failure to indict Darren Wilson was sadly not surprising. Instead it is a changing same. It speaks to the way oppressions, and racism specifically, are sown into the fabric of our society. As Ruth Wilson Gilmore notes, “racism, specifically, is the sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death”[1]. What happened last night was a sanctioning of the legal system as a group differentiated death-dealing machine. What happened last night is injustice by design within the racial capitalist carceral state in which we live. Clearly the racial and economic conditions in Ferguson, nationally, and globally remain the grounds on which state violence takes place. As so many would remind us through tweets and memes a system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.

This is the “changing same” that we must recognize and continue to document and analyze if we are seeking to interrupt it, or downright abolish it.

Centering our humanity

There is more to dissect, analyze and teach about Ferguson, the killing of Michael Brown and the numerous other Black people and people of Color who have died premature deaths at the hands of the state. I have been inspired by the various collections of resources that have been assembled through committed educators who have sought to support educators and parents in working through this tragedy (see resources below). These resources are admirable and extremely useful.

Still in my haste to analyze and respond to injustice and to get resources in the hands of my students and fellow educators, I have found that I lose sight of the broader challenge to humanity moments like these pose, and the shock and awe that consequently comes in tow. Last night was no different, I spent a lot of the evening just going through Twitter, reposting tweets that analyze the situation in #Ferguson or noted infomration about marches and demonstrations happening in Missouri and in other cities like nearby Philadelphia.

What was different about last night is that as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I was also receiving emails from students about a project they were supposed to submit last night. Some students were struggling with uploading documents, while others were asking for extensions because they had not taken into account how much work this was going to entail. And still others were struggling with what was happening in Ferguson and could not complete the work in time. Then in the morning I was going through the routine of helping my five year old get ready for school and I wondered if I should address what is happening with him now? And if not now, when?

My students and my son reminded me that we are all human, filled with complicated thoughts, and saturated with emotions. In scrambling to share information with my students I felt like I was neglecting the varied emotions that we were experiencing. I needed to give my students AND myself time and space to grieve over last night’s negation of human life and Black lives in particular. With that in mind I sent out an email to all of my students. I shared information from the night before and encouraged them to continue following social media to remain in the conversation loop. Most importantly, for me, I offered up my office as a space for students to convene if they needed to.

Not many students stopped by, but a few did, and several others thanked me via email for sharing information and making the office available. Swarthmore College was also organizing transportation to Philadelphia so that community members could participate in the marches if they sought to.

In speaking with those that came by there was a loss for words to describe what they were feeling. At the same time they had a deep desire to speak out against injustice, but were not sure where to speak.

In an email one student noted, “I really appreciate your dedication to us as students and as people…,

What happen last night was painful and enraging, but reaffirmed for me aspects of the ongoing work of educator-activist-scholars.

First, it affirmed for me that in looking to carve out spaces for teaching and talking about Ferguson, we must give ourselves opportunities to grieve (again). Engaging our grief, letting it circulate through us, is a part of moving forward.

Second, grieving is something not to be done alone. So often when we talk of social movements we lose the emotional and relational dimensions of the work. We certainly have shared material concerns, but the shared joys and pains of struggle are also part of what brings us, and keeps us, together. Spaces for grieving are also spaces for coming together and embracing one another. As I think about the marches that have taken place in the last 24 hours I see them as a reoccupation of space in order to come together. To grieve. To speak out.

After attending the march in Philadelphia last night, Joelle Bueno, a student in my Intro to Educational Studies course, noted in an email:

thank you so much for sharing about the protests in Philly. I really appreciate your dedication to us as students and as people, it really means a lot to me especially as a freshman.

I share this not to pat myself on the back, but to highlight the impact of centering people in the higher education classroom. When we show our students that they matter to us, and that the injustices happening in the world must matter to all of us, we are having an impact. Centering people in the classroom is also an ongoing process rather than a reaction. The infrastructure for a people-centered classroom begins in the planning of the curriculum and is as every bit as essential as is the content we teach (I will discuss this point further in my next post).

The ideas I am sharing here are modest suggestions, but I think they should remind educators  that teaching in the time of Ferguson requires us to teach with our humanity at the center. In carving out spaces to come together we can begin to see each other, and we can begin to connect ourselves to stories of human struggle that are often, intentionally, blurred from sight.

In coming together we can find hope in each other, and can begin to take further action.

Resources (more resources to follow)* 

Desmond-Harris, J. (2014, September 2). Do’s and Don’ts for Teaching About Ferguson. Retrieved November 26, 2014

Ferguson Syllabus from Sociologists for Social Justice

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

Otherwise, Ferguson by Ashon Crawley.

Teaching and Learning in a Ferguson World (Paul Tritter, BTU Director of Professional Learning)

Teaching Ferguson Resources

Twitter #FergusonSyllabus

Teaching about Ferguson from the Zinn Education Project from Teaching for Change

*Thanks to the various folks who have been putting these resources together since August, and specific thanks to Dr. Lee Smithey (@peacesociology) and the New York Collective of Radical Educators (@nycore3000) for sharing many of these resources.  

1. Gilmore, R. W. (2007). Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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