On Tuesday February 25, 2020, Pear Tree Community School hosted an event for Black History Month entitled "Learning for Liberation: Re-imagining Education for Black Youth." Approximately 75 community members attended the event which was moderated by Pear Tree parent, award-winning journalist, professor, co-author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop, and the host of the syndicated radio program Hard Knock Radio, Davey D.
Panelists included Michele Hamilton, Founder and Director of Pear Tree Community School in Oakland, California; Zach Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the author of We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities; Savannah Shange, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz and the author of Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco; and Lasana Hotep, Executive Director of the Equity Institute and co-author of Minding the Obligation Gap: Striving for Equity in Community Colleges and Beyond.
The discussion started with each panelist sharing their own intergenerational experiences with education in their families and discussing their own and their children's experiences. Panelists offered insights into the possibilities of education for liberation as well as the common obstacles Black children and youth face in the U.S. schooling system, citing the need to abolish the school-to-prison nexus.