- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Lawrenceville math teacher Summar Ellis will lead a workshop, “Black Joy and Celebration,” at the 2021 National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC). The workshop, for NAIS PoCC conferees, will be held virtually on December 1.
“I feel very privileged, honored, and so excited,” Ellis said.
PoCC is the flagship of NAIS’s commitment to equity and justice in teaching, learning, and organizational development. Its mission is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development for people of color, and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools.
“Black Joy and Celebration,” Ellis said, is a workshop centered around happiness in the Black community. “It will be a space to escape the consistent display of Black tragedies and traumas by dedicating time to illuminate Black joy absent of oppression - an idea that seems impossible.” She’ll also look at what it means to have a space dedicated to Blackness without trauma being the center of every conversation and ask how does the media portray or purposely avoid this imagery?
Happiness, Ellis explained, is an external awakening – someone or something brings you happiness. Joy, however, is an internal feeling. “You should always have joy regardless of pain,” she stated.
Ellis says she tries to bring both emotions to her math students. “Before we start the day, we all take a breath and take time to breathe. It sometimes feels like time is moving so fast. You don't even have time to take a breath. We get settled into the space by inhaling all together, exhaling all together. I also try to speak to them in a very similar language that they talk to me. . . . I try to help them ease up some ension [in the classroom] so that they do feel comfortable approaching me [for guidance].”
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