Video & Photo Credit: Emmai Alaquiva/Ya Momz House


1Hood Media, in collaboration with Allies for Children and the Grable Foundation, are elevating student voices. To hear firsthand how COVID-19 impacted Black and Brown students’ and how these experiences are shaping their future outlooks on leaing, the organizations produced a documentary, jewel kit and five-day virtual conference. The goal is to develop resources for school districts, community organizations, educators, families, and students to move the needle forward on culturally affirming curriculum and teaching practices and to close the digital divide. This online destination is a jumping off point for students to take action and advocate for change in Allegheny County school systems.

Jewel Kit

  • What We Are For

    • Accurate History: Teaching the truth to children and youth.

    • Culturally affirming teaching practices.

    • Culturally affirming curriculum, literature, historical perspectives, music, art, extracurricular opportunities

    • Student support - clubs, faculty support, student voice

    • (Quality, ongoing, antiracist, equity lens) Professional development

  • Goals

    1. Establish a network of community organizations, educators, families, and students interested in the work.

    2. Create an infrastructure for responding to the backlash and misuse of Critical Race Theory (CRT). This is a scapegoat phrase that diverts from the real work that needs to be done.

    3. Provide educators and schools with the resources and support needed to the work.

    4. Provide families with the resources, research, and tools to advocate for the work.

    5. Support school environments that are culturally affirming, antiracist, and equitable for children and youth.

    6. Consider ways for more “people power” around the work and goals.

    School District Asks:

    1. UPDATE CURRICULUM: Incorporate comprehensive anti-racism and decolonized education into curriculum for every grade K-12 not limited to history, English and literature courses, but throughout all subjects. The administration must allow educators to lead these efforts and hold them accountable to do so, while fostering opportunities to take this learning beyond the classroom and out into the broader SASD community.

    2. IMPROVE DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION FOR STAFF: Invest in hiring people of color as educators and administrators. Beyond the hiring process invest in mandatory, continuous diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all staff. Support all teachers in building curriculum and facilitating ongoing classroom discussions.

    3. ENHANCE SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS OF COLOR: Center the voices of students of color by inviting them to work together with educators and administrators on action steps moving forward. Provide students of color with counseling and mental health services by professionals trained in working with non-white communities.

    4. COMPLETE A DIVERSITY ASSESSMENT: Conduct an internal assessment with guidance from educators and students of color to audit diversity, equity, and inclusion practices, representation, accountability and support mechanisms within the school district. Results should be shared openly and transparently with the community.

      • Examine the presence of School Resource Officers and their impact on student quality of life.

      • Develop equitable policies for conflict resolution, (e.g. restorative justice)

    5. MAKE AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT WITH ACTIONABLE STEPS: Building on the district’s joint statement with the AIU, address this letter and unique moment in an official statement to the Shaler Area community with actionable steps and the accountability model that the district plans on implementing.

Virtual Conference

  • Day 1: Mental Health

  • Day 2: Real-World Skills

  • Day 3: Critical Race Theory

  • Day 4: Digital Divide

  • Day 5: Documentary Discussion