Celebrating Our Stories: Social Justice and the Arts Across the Curriculum

An Education Conference Hosted by Jubilee School

July 25, 2019 at the Annenberg Center, the University of Pennsylvania


“We, the children demand a great, well focused, equal education for children all around the world. We believe in children. We believe that children can change the future and transform people’s lives. We propose that education should take us to a new level in life, so that we can make history, be leaders and make our ancestors proud.”

Fifth and sixth grade students from Jubilee School

“Let’s bare our arms and plunge them deep through laughter, through pain, through sorrow, through disappointment, into the very depths of our people and drag forth material crude, rough, neglected. Then let’s sing it, dance it, write it, paint it. Let’s do the impossible.”

Aaron Douglas, artist from the Harlem Renaissance

Workshops and Presentations:

Learn to uncover and celebrate under-told stories

with students about their communities;

Create social justice inspired art work;

Discover ways to use poetry and story-telling

to confront racism and injustice.

Unlocking Our Creative Power: Intro to Cultural Organizing

(10:00 room 223)
Led by Julien Terrell, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union

At the Philadelphia Student Union we believe that it is critical to understand how the inclusion of arts and culture can strengthen strategies to address key problems in education. The arts has always played an important role within our movement and we strive to support young people and educators who want to unlock their creativity and work towards justice.

Workshop Description: participants will discuss how arts and culture influence their lives, and how the arts have been used in key movements for liberation. They will learn how to organize with a creative lens.

“Songs of the Children”: Student-led Campaigns Against Police Brutality and Gun Violence

(10:00 room 225)
Led by Karen Falcon and Jubilee Graduates

A foundational principle at Jubilee is respect for the power of children’s voices and ideas. As students are steeped in the riches of their history, they have the great potential to become history-makers. There are many ways our students have chosen to work to make change. Two groups chose to organize campaigns.

Workshop Description: “Songs of the Children”, the group which organized a campaign against police brutality, will present their campaign and a student-led project to get a historical marker for the bombing of MOVE headquarters. The organizers of “The Children’s Campaign Against Gun Violence”, and presented at a United Nations Small Arms Conference, will also tell their story. Participants will be challenged to explore ways to encourage and support students in their efforts to resist injustice, using the arts as a powerful language of resistance.

Teaching Social Justice Through Numbers

(11:15 room 223)
Led by Angela McIver, founder of Trapezium Math

At Trapezium Math , we are committed to using our business to promote positive change in our communities and to reject the narrative of racism, misogyny and oppression of any group. We are excited about facilitating conversation and exciting activities with participants at this conference.

Participants will learn:

  • How to engage students in math through social justice
  • How to be a Change-Maker in the math classroom 

Introduction to Printmaking as a Message for Change

(11:15 room 225)
Led by Leila Falcon, Art Educator at Chester-Arthur School

In this session, participants will learn about the centuries-long history of printmaking as a tool in social movements. They will learn to use printmaking in the classroom by doing hands-on work to create original prints that send messages of social justice change to peers, community members, and lawmakers.

“Journey to the Core of the Twentieth Century”: Uncovering the Under-told Stories of Our History

(3:50 room 223)
Led by Lashe Miles, graduate of Jubilee School and present Temple University student, along with Jubilee alumni who contributed to the textbook

Jubilee students in grades 5 and 6 have been researching, writing and illustrating pieces for a student-created textbook that they are publishing. In order to learn truths about their history, our students learn to dig below the surface and find under-told stories of African American courage, resistance and collective accomplishments. This builds a strong sense of the richness of their culture and their legacy, as well as their vital place in history.

Workshop Description: students will present stories and illustrations from their textbook, along with the learning process behind their work. Workshop participants will discuss paths to discover under-told stories from their local and global communities, and will work together to find ways to make the stories known through the arts.

Celebrating and Uncovering Stories of Light and Power from South Philly’s Seventh Ward

(3:50 room 225)
Led by Valerie Gay and Amy Hillier

Workshop Description: we will use the work of WEB Du Bois, the internationally renowned scholar and civil rights leader, about Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward as a jumping off point to learn more about the people who lived there. In particular, we will feature stories about G. Edward Dickerson and Addie Whitehead Dickerson, a Black power couple involved in real estate and law whose house on Bainbridge Street now serves as home to Art Sanctuary. We will play the board game, The Ward, featuring real Black residents of the Seventh Ward and discuss how visual and performing arts, music, film, and play are essential to sharing stories about those who came before us.

Telling the Stories of Our Communities Through Film: A Conversation Between Louis Massiah and John Jackson

(5:00 room 109)
Led by Louis Massiah of Scribe Video and John Jackson of CAMRA

Louis Massiah and John Jackson will lead a discussion about the power of film to tell stories dealing with social issues in our neighborhoods; Louis Massiah through the organization he founded, Scribe Video, and John Jackson through CAMRA, which he co-founded.

Two youth-created films will be shown in this presentation. The first, “Walls & Doors: Inspirations from our Elders” was created by Jubilee graduates when they were in 7th and 8th grades, and was produced by Scribe Video through its Community Visions Series. Three of the creators of the film will participate in the discussion: Nick Gross, Asia Jackson, and Amile Jefferson.

The second film is called “Life After Life” and was created by Nadja Mogilewski and Chamar Kegler through Scribe Video’s 2018 Documentary Project for Youth. Nadja and Chamar will also participate in the discussion.

Keynote Speaker: Reverend Chaz Howard

The Rev. Charles L. Howard, PhD is the University Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.  Prior to his return to Penn, he served as a chaplain in hospice and hospital and as a street outreach worker to homeless in Philadelphia. His writing has been featured in such publications as Black Arts Quarterly, Black Theology, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, and Slate.  He is the editor of The Souls of Poor Folk, a 2007 text which explores new ways of considering homelessness and poverty. Chaz has taught in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Graduate School of Education at Penn, as well as at The Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia.


Yolanda Wisher, a Philadelphia-based poet, singer, educator and curator, is the author of Monk Eats an Afro  and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song.

Mark Palacio is a musician and educator.

Jos Duncan is the Program Director at WURD, Founder of Love Now Media, filmmaker and traditional storyteller.

Valerie Gay is the Executive Director of Art Sanctuary, which focuses on the community building power of Black art.

Julien Terrell is the current Executive Director for the Philadelphia Student Union.

Angela McIver is a member of the Philadelphia School Board, and the founder of Trapezium Math, an afterschool math program.

Leila Falcon has been an art teacher for the School District of Philadelphia for eleven years.

Louis Massiah is a documentary filmmaker and the founder/director of Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia.

John L. Jackson, Jr., is the Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Richard Perry University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Amy Hillier is the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award, standing faculty, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice .

Nyle Fort is a minister, organizer, and scholar based in Newark, NJ.

see all participants here


Hours: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM

6 workshops; keynote speaker; panel discussion; poetry/jazz,; African drumming;Dashboard 6 workshops; keynote speaker; panel discussion; poetry/jazz,; African drumming;

presentation on social justice and film.

Price: before July 1st: $50 general admission; $40 for teachers; $40 to rent a table for advertising and sales. After July 1st, all prices go up by $5.

Meals provided: continental breakfast, lunch, and closing wine and cheese reception

Annenberg School of Communication at 3620 Walnut street


8:30 AM sign-in; continental breakfast

9:15 Keynote Address with Reverend Charles Howard; room 109

10:00 Workshops: Unlocking Our Creative Power: Intro to Cultural Organizing; room 223

Songs of the Children: Student-led Campaigns Against gun violence and Police Brutality; room 225

11:15 Workshops: Teaching Social Justice Through Numbers; room 223

Introduction to Printmaking as a Message for Change; room 225

12:30 Lunch; downstairs lobby

1:10 African Drumming and Storytelling; room 109

1:30 Panel Discussion: Artists, Activists and Educators Discuss the Power of the Arts for Stories of Change; room 109

2:30 Poetry, Jazz and Hip Hop with Yolanda Wisher, Mark Palacio, Jasmine Combs and Anthony Bannister

3:30 Coffee Break

3:50 Workshops: Journey to the Core of the Twentieth Century: Uncovering Under-told Stories of Our History; room 223

Celebrating and Discovering Stories of Light and Power from South Philly’s Seventh Ward; room 225

5:00 Telling the Stories of Our Community Through Film: A Conversation with Louis Massiah and John Jackson; room 109

click to close