E Block is a six-week class led by Burke’s Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging as part of the H.E.A.R.T. program.
Students explore issues of equity, empowerment, entitlement, race and racial injustice, class, and privilege, and delve further into their own engagement with these topics as future changemakers. Students have an opportunity to explore their own identity, ancestors and the way we are all interconnected, and what matters to us when we express ourselves.
Students learn about these concepts through guest speaker presentations, written reflections, and a final project that presents a part of their life to their classmates. The Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum, accompanied by work from the book This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell guide the work in this unit.
Guest speakers who have come to E Block include:
- American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges visited via Zoom to speak about what it is to be a changemaker. Her visit kicked off a project around designing a ballot proposition to support a cause students identified as important to them.
- Keenan Webster, a multi-instrumentalist and leader of Talking Wood performed two songs using the Kora, a beautiful West African harp, and gave a hands-on demonstration of various other instruments of African origin.
Mary Swope, a beloved former teacher at Burke's for over 30 years discussed her time working with SCOPE, an organization that in 1965 worked to register Black Americans to vote in segregated Georgia. She shared photos and experiences from her book "My Summer Vacation, 1965" and said, "...if you see an injustice and have a chance to right it, you should."