Community Support at the Ferguson Public Library + Resources for Learning and Teaching About the Recent Events in Ferguson, MO

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ferguson1While area schools cancelled classes for the day following a grand jury’s decision not to indict white police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, the library pledged to open its doors and provide lunch for schoolchildren. The library’s director, Scott Bonner, said that the library was slowing filling up with children this morning, and described the atmosphere as a “mix of emotions.” He said, “I’ve had one or two people come in and just basically cry to me because of what happened last night, how they’re feeling about it and how tough it is for them,” he told TPM. “And we’ve had a whole lot of volunteer teachers come in here with this drive to help people, bring that kind of optimism in.”

 

 

 

Related to libraries and education, I received an email from an instructor today asking, “What can educators and students actually do to affect change in Ferguson and beyond?” I sent her a link to a collaborative online document, Teaching #Ferguson #sschat Resources, a collection of teacher-recommended materials and teaching strategies ranging from pre-k to college-level. I have since also found a relative document, Teaching About the Jordan Davis Murder Trial, which includes lesson plans for high school students. The first document includes curricula and resources for answering questions such as how has media bias influenced understandings of Ferguson? What historical/civic issues could help provide context for the events in Ferguson? How can teachers address social justice issues (police brutality, racial/economic discrimination, etc) related to Ferguson? Regardless of where and how you teach, I hope instructors everywhere will accept the challenge of helping students understand how to think critically about systems, power, and the media.

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