Empowered Parents in Community are a group of parents/guardians who want the same educational opportunities for Black children as anyone else. In 2016, a group of parents with Black children came together to better understand the “achievement gap” at their public school. At that time, parents and guardians were confused with the reason there was an “achievement gap” at their racially diverse school that was promoted as a “good” school. With intentional organizing, this group of parents self-identified as “Parents of African American Children”(PAAC).
To support the work of PAAC, co-founder, Jovonia Lewis, established Empowered Parents in Community (EPiC) – a non-profit, education advocacy organization. Our mission is to dismantle systemic racial inequities through collective organizing and intentional, purposeful engagement of Black parents and communities. Our advocacy efforts center on advocacy geared towards closing the opportunity gap. In March 2020, amidst school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EPiC received some good news that we have been granted our 501(c)3 status. We are an official non-profit charity organization that can receive grants and donations to support the work of Black students and families in education. We will launch our fundraising campaign at a later time, but we wanted to share our good news to being in a position of sustainability for the work of equitable education in our community.
Meals for Durham Students + Families (Begins Thurs, April 16):
A partnership between Durham Public Schools, Durham County Government, the Durham Public Schools Foundation and local nonprofits and restaurants will launch a new meal support program for children and families starting on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Families coming to school sites across Durham County will receive free children’s breakfasts and lunches prepared by Durham restaurants, while adults will receive shelf-stable food supplies and/or family-style casseroles. For more information, please go to this website.
Durham Public Schools has not adopted a unified, culturally responsive curriculum since 2009. In the School Board meeting on April 9th, the Board was divided on whether or not to accept the District recommendations to purchase the literacy curriculum that was vetted by the teachers and administrators in most of the schools. There are some nuances that have been brought into consideration, but at the end of the day, don’t our students deserve a curriculum that meets our standards of cultural diversity, access beyond the classroom and consistency in our District? The current School Board members have moved the vote to April 23rd to decide on the literacy curriculum for the District.
Please weigh in and have your voice heard by emailing our School Board members and encouraging them to vote on a curriculum that the teachers have requested at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not acceptable that our students have photocopies of material from the internet as lessons when the District has spent time and resources on selecting a curriculum that needs a Board vote now.