The Penny Lane Centers Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) folks presented our first school assembly entitled, “Erase Hate” to the 5th graders at Rosa Parks Learning Center on Friday, February 3rd. This is a new initiative to bring our message of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to our community schools. Our DEI Director; Judy Grant has set in motion a 3-part integrative approach to support our schools by delivering a specialized program to the parents, teachers, and the students. The focus on this day was to increase awareness among the students through an interactive assembly with a book reading, video clips and even some raffles.
Judy Grant, Jeniffer Barraza-Garcia, and I (along with Cameron Glasgow, in a supportive and historical preservation role) started the assembly by welcoming each participant with an “Erase Hate” pin to wear and a bag filled with some Penny Lane goodies and raffle tickets. Judy conducted a book reading which we followed by a discussion and then a few videos. The focus of the assembly was to help increase awareness of how it feels to be different and how to actively accept those differences in others. The kids also explored the importance of supporting each other and how they can help others to feel included.
The kids were engaged, and it was clear they really loved their gifts – many were already proudly wearing their Penny Lane sunglasses. They were also excited for the raffle of the “Strictly No Elephants” books (by Lisa Mantchev), which we hope will offer an opportunity for some conversations with their families. The teachers also went home with some goodies for their classrooms, “The Big Umbrella” (by Amy June Bates) and posters created by the students during the assembly with words of positivity. We are grateful to Principal King, the administrators, and teachers for allowing us this opportunity to connect with their students and help them start some hopeful conversations about inclusion.