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NJEA Radical Imagination Summit for Educators (RISE) 2021

July 14

How can education evolve into a liberatory process?

As you look at the program listings below, be aware that none of the virtual sessions will be uninterrupted screen sessions of full length. Throughout our virtual gathering, we will invite participants to engage in this learning experience with music, reflection, chat and breakout room conversations. We will invite registrants to be ready to participate on camera in this dynamic digital space.


9:30 – 11:30 amOpening Keynote Session: How can educators help to disrupt the school-to-prison / deportation-pipeline?

This deeply intersectional keynote panel will explore and unpack the complexities of the prison-industrial-complex and the impact on our students, families and school system. Our moderator, TJ Whittaker (Sundiata Acoli Alliance organizer & NJEA Judith Owens Spirit Award Recipient) will host a conversation with Eddy Zheng (New Breath Foundation,) Nedia Morsy (Make the Road NJ) and Reda Taleb (Dreamcatchers.) Following the discussion, we will invite participants to engage with the special guests with questions and closing reflection.

  • Special Keynote Panelists
    • TJ Whittaker (Sundiata Acoli Alliance) Guest Moderator
    • Eddy Zheng (New Breath Foundation)
    • Nedia Morsy (Make the Road NJ)
    • Reda A. Taleb (Dreamcatchers)

11:30 am – 12:30 pmLunch Break & Dance Party with DJ Omé

Celebrate life at our virtual dance party with DJ Omé (they/them) during lunch and connect with other colleagues around the state for this JOY IN JUSTICE.

12:30 – 1:30 pmThink Global, Act Local

As educators who aspire to be conscious global citizens, our thinking should expand far beyond the borders of the United States. Our keynote speaker Princess Tirelo Motolegi of the Bafokeng Royal Family of South Africa will share reflections that help frame our thinking around the movement for racial justice and equity paralleling the lessons of post-Apartheid South Africa.

  • Keynote Speaker: Princess Tirelo Motolegi (Bafokeng Royal Family)

This will be followed by a live Freestyle Friday episode hosted by Ikechukwu Onyema with special guests Zellie Thomas (North Jersey Mutual Aid Network) and Erika Strauss Chavarria (Columbia Community Cares) to discuss ways educators are organizing and leading within their communities during and beyond the pandemic. 

  • Special Guest Speakers
    • Host: Ikechukwu Onyema (STEAM Teacher Leaders Racial Literacy)
    • Guest Speaker: Zellie Thomas (North Jersey Mutual Aid Network & BLM Paterson)
    • Guest Speaker: Erika Strauss-Chavarria (Columbia Community Cares)

1:30 – 2:45 pmChoose Your Session

  • Parcon Resilience (Body Movement & Exercising Imagination) Andrew Suseno
    • In order to lean into the heat, we must know what we are leaning with and where. Parcon Resilience centers movement as a way to co-create anti-racist culture. In this workshop we will shake, roll, and move out of the expectations and confines of white supremacy. No experience is needed, just a desire to build authentic relationships with one another and to center our bodies in our anti-oppressive praxis.
  • EduColor Movement (Digital Organizing for Equity and Justice) Yamil Baez
    • EduColor mobilizes advocates nationwide around issues of educational equity, agency, and justice. We amplify the works and ideas of students, educators, and communities of color through supportive on- and off-line networks and professional development. EduColor was founded by people of color, with people of color, for people of color.
  • UndocuJersey (Immigrant Justice for a New Generation) Daniela Velez
    • UndocuJersey is committed to making sure that educators have the resources to equip students with the knowledge on how to guide them through the process of high school and applying to institutions of higher learning. Our work is about reaffirming the rights to a higher education for undocumented and children of undocumented parents within New Jersey and surrounding areas.
  • STEAM Teacher Leaders for Racial Literacy (The name says it all) Ikechukwu Onyema
    • What is Racial Literacy and why is it urgent for STEM Educators to embrace it? In August 2020, a group of STEM teachers came together with the ambition of using our content areas to contribute to the broader movement for Black Lives. Since then, we’ve co-designed a space of peer learning, self-organizing, and collaboration for STEM teachers to advance racial justice. Come and learn what we do and how we do it.
  • Rethinking Schools (RS magazine, books, and other resources promote equity and racial justice in the classroom)
    • Teacher Unions & Social Justice with Bob Peterson
      • Teacher Unions and Social Justice is an anthology of more than 60 articles documenting the history and the how-tos of social justice unionism. Together, they describe the growing movement to forge multiracial alliances with communities to defend and transform public education.
    • Teaching about climate change, Island solidarity, and Indigenous rights
      • Rethinking Schools editor Moé Yonamine will share curriculum she has developed to highlight the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples across the Pacific — and their inspiring resistance and resilience. Moé will demonstrate classroom-tested activities that explore historical and recent experiences of different island territories and nations, especially focusing on the Pacific Climate Warriors movement. Join us for this exciting workshop.

 2:45 – 3:30 pmSpecial Closing Keynote with Dr. Cornel West

Also, don’t miss our Conference on Hope and Healing on July 15.


July 14
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