Students at Capital City Public Charter School are working to inspire change. (Courtesy of Capital City PCS)
Students at Capital City Public Charter School are working to inspire change. (Courtesy of Capital City PCS)

History classes at the Tier One, Capital City Public Charter School require more than memorizing a long list of dates.

In addition to Capital City’s students learning why major events happened and their impact on today’s world, the school strives for its students to learn all sides of a story to inform their own understanding of events.

In a recent newspaper article, two Capital City 11th-graders, Tori and Kiara, discussed how examining multiple perspectives and sources has provided them a more accurate picture of history and how this knowledge empowers them to take action to make the future better.

Last school year, Capital City students created a petition to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Now they have more than 500 signatures and are requesting D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson to call a hearing on the bill to share their research in hopes of officially changing the holiday.

Week of Action

D.C.’s public charter schools recently participated in “Black Lives Matter Week of Action,” during which students at several school districts learned that one of the 13 principles of the Black Lives Matter movement pertains to Black villages.

The Inspired Teaching Demonstration School hosted “Voices of our Village,” an event during which families, teachers, and school leaders had honest conversations about diversity and equity.

In doing so, they looked at student work and brainstormed ways to keep up this kind of energy in their school.

Celebrating Afrofuturism

What the future looks like for African Americans listed among questions explored during this year’s “Celebrating Our Roots” performance, which focused on Afrofuturism.

The celebration surrounds an annual arts, academic and music showcase at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School in Southeast, held in February to coincide with Black History Month.

At this year’s event, guests heard from author Bill Campbell, who shared his journey as a Black science fiction author and explained why Afrofuturism is more important than ever.

Guests also enjoyed interactive demonstrations that brought the genre to life.

The demonstrations included a “beauty bar in the year 3000”, with a face-painting station and featuring iconic images of fashion, hair, and makeup; a literary room, where students dressed as characters from novels by Octavia Butler and Nnendi Okorafor, well-known writers in the Afrofuturism genre, and a social justice room in which students shared powerful monologues from movements that gained traction on social media.

The showcase ended with a rousing performance from students in the school’s fashion, dance and music clubs, who modeled outfits representing African gods, performed dances and sang songs from artists such as Solange, Erykah Badu and Parliament.

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