As a social media junkie, I spend countless hours surfing through hundreds of profile pages on different platforms. In the wake of COVID-19 and rising racial tensions over the cumulative loss of Black lives at the hands of corrupt police officers, my social media activity has increased even more.
I must admit that it has been difficult to dodge the perpetual cycle of media coverage around the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. But during this dark time, these Instagram educators have given me a sense of hope and have preached the anti-racist gospel in a way that has soothed my soul:
Shauna Brown, an instructional leader and STEM educator based in Connecticut, is the founder of Teach for the Culture, a social justice organization dedicated to empowering and positively affirming its clientele by fostering a sense of pride in culture and self, in the field of education and beyond. An outspoken advocate for educational equity and justice, she uses her Instagram page to share powerful, gut-wrenching quotes and social commentary that speak to the injustices that students of color face in schools and their communities.
Erica Buddington is the founder and CEO of Langston League, an educational consulting firm that specializes in teaching educators to design and implement culturally responsive, sustaining instructional material and professional development. On her Instagram page, you can find posts of her book recommendations for teachers and students to read about Black culture, Black history and racism. She recently launched the Decolonized series, which features history curriculum designed to be a supplemental resource for middle school teachers and students.
Francoise Thenoux, popularly known as “The Woke Spanish Teacher”, is an anti-bias educator based in Philadelphia. A true champion for educational equity, she proactively blends themes of social justice, gender inclusivity, and intersectionality in the Spanish curriculum for early childhood and elementary students. On her Instagram page, you can find insightful quotes and other commentary (both in Spanish and English) that focus on Latinx culture, Black culture and gender inclusivity. She also has a Teachers Pay Teachers store where teachers can purchase Spanish learning resources to teach their students about social justice and the history of Black, Latinx and Indigenous peoples.
Akiea Gross is an abolitionist educator and the mastermind behind Woke Kindergarten, an organization that specializes in providing anti-racist curriculum for early childhood students. The curriculum also covers the themes of gender inclusivity and intersectionality. On the Instagram page, young students are guaranteed to learn a Woke Word of the Day, listen to a Woke Read Aloud, and so much more! To get full access to the read alouds, you can subscribe to the Woke Kindergarten YouTube channel.
University of San Francisco multicultural education doctoral students Eghosa Obaizamomwan Hamilton and Gertrude Jenkins co-founded the Making Us Matter virtual high school, a collective of volunteer Black educators providing interim academic instruction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The curriculum features course offerings that are designed to “recognize, emphasize, and humanize Blackness” through a critical thinking and social justice lens. Ourstory (Real History), Portrayals of Blackness in Film, It’s Lit (Language Arts) are just a few of the courses that the school offers. This is ALL FREE! If you’re interested in enrolling a student in the school or serving as a volunteer teacher, visit the school’s website to get more information.
These educators serve as a great starting point for anyone interested in learning more about social justice and anti-racism. Pick up your phones and follow them now. You can thank me later.
Kwame Sarfo-Mensah is the founder of Identity Talk Consulting, LLC., an independent educational consulting firm that provides professional development and consulting services globally to educators who desire to enhance their instructional practices and reach their utmost potential in the classroom. He is the author of two books, "Shaping the Teacher Identity: 8 Lessons That Will Help Define the ...