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  • Writer's pictureAndrea

Recapping the Back at It Brunch!

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

On August 17th, we hosted our first ever Back at It Brunch and Networking Event. It was a great day to be a Black educator in Nola as attendees chomped down on shrimp and grits, eggs, bacon, pastries, and washed it all down with laughter and mimosas.

As the main planner behind the event, I was excited, nervous, and anxious for it to all come together well. And while there are a number of ways that I look forward to improving upon it in the future, I’m beyond grateful for the amazing committee who helped us pull it off, and for all the educators who came out to celebrate the start of the school year with us.

The decor came together thanks to the lovely femmes of 4ColouredGurlz, a local company that creates handmade and vegan body products. They also donated some of their bestsellers for our raffle. In addition to their offerings, the raffle also included products from GypsiJars, a local herbalist and wellness practitioner, and two Amazon gift cards!

Food was served by chefs from Liberty’s Kitchen, a local restaurant and nonprofit that provides young people with access to employment and education as well as opportunities to develop their skills as leaders and mentors in the Nola’s culinary landscape. We are entirely grateful for Chef Ashley who held it down solo on a Saturday afternoon.

If I tried to cover every dope conversation I overheard or participated in myself, I’d be here typing until tomorrow. But a few things truly stood out, especially from the gallery walk questions we had posted around the room, so I want to make sure to give them some shine.

When asked, “What is the best part of being a Black educator?" we saw a wide range of responses that highlighted the legacy of educators in our community, the importance of honoring parents in the lives of their children, and the joy that comes with connecting with dope youth.

"Being a part of a long and lasting legacy of DOPE AF Black educators." 💖

"Best part: Allowing ALL my students to identify genuinely." 💖

"The beautiful dynamic Black youth!" 💖

"Being the support team that parents can depend on." 💖

Attendees were just as forthcoming when asked "What is the most difficult part of being a Black educator?" The wrote about the pain of being undervalued, the cognitive dissonance of working for a system that does not value our children, and navigating the same traumatic environments as their students.

"Being conscious of what's missing in the curriculum and not having space and opportunity to include it."

"Constantly being underestimated, overlooked, and not being acknowledged."

"Understanding that the system will never be fair for our kids."

"Helping your Black students navigate their traumatizing school environment while you're trying to navigate your traumatizing work environment."

Both of these sets of responses highlight the struggles and the beauties of doing this work. And for the committee who helped create this event, it reminded us of why we do what we do. While there have always been naysayers who doubt the necessity of Black Teacher Griot and other affinity spaces like it, this event helped to remind us of how powerful we are when we gather. When we are able to meet, laugh, share our stories, and encourage one another, we feel less alone in this work. And that strengthens our foundation when the days become long and the work becomes overwhelming. As we've pointed out in the past, your tribe is your number one asset as a Black teacher. They not only help you find joy when you are facing cultural, institutional, AND individual racism in the workplace. They also help you utilize your strengths to turn all those parts of the job that seem insurmountable into the very fuel that keeps you going.

That said... Thanks to everyone who came out to strengthen our tribe as we prepped ourselves to tackle the 2019-2020 school year with grace, patience, laughter, and a whole LOT of champagne. 🥂

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