PCM Winter 2023/24: What lyric does the world need to hear?

Radical Morning Meeting

Bulletin board with 25 children's silhouettes on black construction papers, holding microphones. And a color photo of Nina Simone and question that asks, "Inspired by Christian Robinson and the great Nina Simome, What lyric does the wold need to hear?" Speeck bubble responses around the silhoette read things like "go peace and love".

PCM has been busy this winter! Working with Partners In School Innovation, we are deep into our partnership with four elementary schools in the School District of Philadelphia. The photo above is part of our Radical Morning Meeting coaching work in first grade at the Alexander Adaire Elementary School, where PCM coach Susie Reece worked with teacher Brooke White, exploring the civil rights movement, singer Nina Simone, author and illustrator Christian Robinson, Ruby Bridges, and book and video short, Hair Love. Reflecting on the project, Coach Susie said, “I love how we created this community of love. That Black people are loved. That Black families love their children. And how Black communities love on their kids.” PCM coaches are also working to support teachers and students with Radical Morning Meeting at Vare-Washington, General Phillip Kearny, and Spring Garden elementary schools. It has been a joy to pilot the implementation of the Radical Morning Meeting with these teachers, classrooms, and schools.

MLK: the Activist

Speaking of schools, this Martin Luther King Jr. Day found PCM working with two different school communities to channel MLK’s activist legacy. In Mt Airy, students, families and educators at C.W. Henry Elementary School learned about MLK’s campaign to war on poverty and wrote letters to Philadelphias new mayor, Cherelle Parker. Children as young as kindergarten used what they knew and learned about King to demand things like preserving Chinatown, feeding the hungry, addressing the opioid crisis, funding schools, fighting book bans, stopping gun violence and keeping music, arts, nurses, and libraries in all schools.

Meanwhile just outside the city at Glenside Elementary School, PCM shared about our Radical Little Library project, connecting the freedom of speech with King’s love of reading, speaking, and learning. Glenside Elementary used MLK Day as an opportunity to build (literally) and launch their own Radical Little Library as a spot to share banned, challenged, or underrepresented titles with Black and Brown authors and stories. PCM core member Sam Gerlach, shared about how PCM has grown our own Radical Little Library over the last two years as a way to broaden the stories we read and hear and combat book bans. Children and families painted and build their school’s radical little library, collected books with Black and Brown authors and stories, made book marks, played the banned book game, and posed in the Banned Books Photobooth. We can’t wait to visit the RLL at Glenside Elementary!

PHILLY Black History Month

On social media, PCM has shared ways for families and educators to teach and talk about MLK’s activist legacy, and this month, we’ve highlighted a Philly Black History person or group for every day of February along with suggestions for Black Lives Matter Week in schools. It has been powerful for all of us to see, honor, and celebrate the rich Black history and activism in the city of brotherly love.

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