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Anti-Racist Curriculum aims to help teachers talk about past racist policies in Rochester

todayFebruary 7, 2024 2

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local teachers were given access to a resource to help create lesson plans about past racist policies in Rochester and the Greater Rochester area.

The Anti-Racist Curriculum Project helps teachers talk about the history of Rochester from redlining and racial covenants to points of resistance and the racist policies that shaped it.

“Have a huge jumping off point for understanding a huge part of our community’s story that’s often been hard to find, or see, or has purposefully not been taught,” said Shane Wiegand, the co-director of the Antiracist Curriculum.

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Wiegand, a former elementary school teacher, said he kicked off the project after a fourth grader asked if Martin Luther King Jr. ever came to Rochester. Wiegand didn’t know but later found out that he did and worked locally for civil justice which is how he decided the community needed more information.

“Take this out of our silos,” Wiegand said. “Let’s work with professors, students, high school students, elders, and let’s come together and build a site that can never be put on a shelf.

The project is a free, open-source, interactive tool that allows users to get information about different neighborhoods in the Greater Rochester area in a few clicks. The curriculum results from a collaborative digital humanities project called resistance mapping. It includes teacher instructions, student handouts, and a documentary on residential segregation in Greater Rochester.

“But then they can overlay those stories with this other story of systemic racism,” Wiegand said. “You can overlay that map with a map of redlining and see how the federal government and local realtors rated each neighborhood– hazardous or best– based on the race of the people who live there.”

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Wiegand says some naysayers ask whether the curriculum is indoctrination or politically charged.

“We show them the sources, we show them no this is about inquiry,” said Wiegand. “This is about giving your kids the tools to decide what matters to them.”

The 2024 Greater Rochester Antiracist Education Conference, sponsored by local colleges and hosted by the Antiracist Curriculum, is on March 2. This year’s theme is “Joy, Community, Sustainability, and Resistance.” You can register online.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local teachers were given access to a resource to help create lesson plans about past racist policies in Rochester and the Greater Rochester area.

The Anti-Racist Curriculum Project helps teachers talk about the history of Rochester from redlining and racial covenants to points of resistance and the racist policies that shaped it.

“Have a huge jumping off point for understanding a huge part of our community’s story that’s often been hard to find, or see, or has purposefully not been taught,” said Shane Wiegand, the co-director of the Antiracist Curriculum.
University of Rochester addresses antisemitic vandalism at the River Campus
Wiegand, a former elementary school teacher, said he kicked off the project after a fourth grader asked if Martin Luther King Jr. ever came to Rochester. Wiegand didn’t know but later found out that he did and worked locally for civil justice which is how he decided the community needed more information.

“Take this out of our silos,” Wiegand said. “Let’s work with professors, students, high school students, elders, and let’s come together and build a site that can never be put on a shelf.

The project is a free, open-source, interactive tool that allows users to get information about different neighborhoods in the Greater Rochester area in a few clicks. The curriculum results from a collaborative digital humanities project called resistance mapping. It includes teacher instructions, student handouts, and a documentary on residential segregation in Greater Rochester.

“But then they can overlay those stories with this other story of systemic racism,” Wiegand said. “You can overlay that map with a map of redlining and see how the federal government and local realtors rated each neighborhood– hazardous or best– based on the race of the people who live there.”
University of Rochester’s contract over East High is reaching its expiration
Wiegand says some naysayers ask whether the curriculum is indoctrination or politically charged.

“We show them the sources, we show them no this is about inquiry,” said Wiegand. “This is about giving your kids the tools to decide what matters to them.”

The 2024 Greater Rochester Antiracist Education Conference, sponsored by local colleges and hosted by the Antiracist Curriculum, is on March 2. This year’s theme is “Joy, Community, Sustainability, and Resistance.” You can register online. Read More EducationRochesterFirst  

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