Overview

Film screening: At your home, via YouTube, now through February 14, 2021

Panel discussion: 7 PM on Monday, February 15, via Zoom video conference

Register here for our panel discussion! FREE

What role does education play in achieving social justice?

That question is at the heart of American Promise, a PBS documentary 12 years in the making, which follows two Black Brooklyn boys from kindergarten through high school graduation. Both are accepted as five-year-olds into a prestigious, and largely white, private school, which their parents hope will boost their fortunes. But as they grow from chubby-cheeked tots into young men, a host of barriers rise between them and the futures their families envision for them.

Join us for the next PSEG True Diversity Film screening at NJPAC, when we’ll look at the role that education plays in advancing — and denying — justice to children of color.

Before we meet, we’ll screen the PBS documentary American Promise, which explores how Black children, and in particular, Black boys, are educated, and what impact systemic racism has on their experience in the classroom and beyond.

This season, the films NJPAC will present through the PSEG True Diversity Film Series will focus on social and racial justice, in response to the uprisings against systemic racism that have spread around the globe in 2020. To continue these presentations safely during the pandemic, we have redesigned this series to work like a book club: We’ll all watch the selected films at our homes, then come together on a Zoom video conference to discuss the film with panelists who can offer context and insight.

We encourage everyone to view American Promise on YouTube. Then, join us for a virtual panel discussion at 7PM on Monday, February 15, 2021, which will focus on the role race plays in our schools.

Moderated by Ron Chaluisan Batlle, the Executive Director of the Newark Trust for Education, our panel will discuss racism in school curricula, the lack of anti-racist educational programs, the impact that COVID-19 has had on schools that serve communities of color, and how our educational system can be reformed to better serve all students.

Our panelists:

Stephanie James Harris is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Department of Education’s Amistad Commission, a state-mandated educational initiative tasked with the inclusion of African American historical content in New Jersey’s K-12 Social Studies curriculum. Prior to taking her position at the Amistad Commission, Dr. Harris was the Director of Education and Public Programs at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

Charity Haygood is the principal of Achieving Victorious Outcomes Now (“Avon”) Avenue School, a traditional district school in Newark’s South Ward. A public school educator for more than two decades, Charity began her teaching career as a Teach for America Corps Member at a K-8 public school, where she taught science, literacy, and social studies to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders for nine years.

Roberto Inclán is a 16-year veteran teacher who has dedicated his life to promoting reading, critical thinking, and inclusion in the classroom. He has taught in Paterson, Jersey City, Passaic, and Newark schools. He is currently an AP Language and Composition teacher at The University High School in Newark.

Jennifer Tsukayama is the Vice President of Arts Education at NJPAC. Prior to NJPAC, Tsukayama was the School Administrator at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and the Director of Strategic Partnerships and the Director of Performing Arts for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Tsukayama’s artistic work includes the direction of three dance companies and the creation of over 40 original dance works.