Community Conversations: Identity & Diversity

Community Conversations: Identity & Diversity
Posted on 01/30/2018

Community Conversations On Tuesday, January 16th, members of the Putnam Ave. school community, the King, Kennedy-Longfellow, and Morse schools as well as members from various community organizations convened for our second Community Conversations: Identity & Diversity event. The evening was kicked off with a delicious Caribbean dinner from La Fabrica Central Restaurant. Christina Brown of The New Teacher Project and Dr. Mona Abo-Zena of the University of Massachusetts Boston then led the diverse and eager group of participants in a series of large and small group discussions focused on how to foster positive identity development in our children in regards to race, class, culture, sexual orientation, and religion.

Below is a list of recommended resources that was shared during the event. We look forward to seeing you at our third and final session on Wednesday, March 7th from 5:30 - 8PM.

Recommended Resources
Book Lists to Explore:

  • Separate is Never Equal is from this list. What historical conversations do you need to have with your child to affirm their identity and ground their understanding of bias in the historical context.

  • Crown is from this book list. What books on this list might provide a window or mirror for your child and start a conversation about bias and difference?


  • Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism,”The New York Times: “Implicit bias is thought processes that happen without you even knowing it. Little mental short cuts that hold judgements you might not agree with.” -Saleem Reshamwala 

  • How to Overcome Our Biases: Walk Boldly Toward Them,” TED Talk, Verna Myers
    “Who is your default? Who do you implicitly feel connected to? What are you afraid of? Who do you runaway from?”

  • The Lemon Grove Incident, Documentary, 1985
    “This is more important than our jobs. We didn’t come here just to work. We came here to make a better life for our children and for ourselves. To give them a better education. We have to think about that now.”

  • The Danger of a Single Story, ” TED Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

  • The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf,” TED Talk, Grace Lin
    “Have you ever been horrified by your own reflection in a mirror? Because that is how I felt everytime I was reminded of my ethnicity [in fifth grade].”

  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race,”TEDx Talk, Jay Smooth
    “We need to recognize that we are not perfect when it comes to navigating race. We are grappling with a social construct that is not designed to make sense.

Photo: Facilitator Dr. Mona Abo-Zena leading a discussion during a November community conversations event. Participants include the Honorable E. Denise Simmons, former Mayor of Cambridge, as well as family and community members from Putnam Ave. and our feeder schools.

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