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Multi-Day Institute:
Virtual Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy - Interrogating Internalized Racism in Ourselves and in Our Practice

Presented by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Tricia Ebarvia

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#IREL20: Interrogating Internalized Racism in Ourselves and in Our Practice

Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul and Tricia Ebarvia, in collaboration with Heinemann PD Services, are offering two virtual #IREL20 institutes with a focus on centering racial equity in our literacy practices. Each #IREL20 multi-day institute is a full week of interactive, self-paced multi-media engagement and content, punctuated with a central day of synchronous live online sessions. All activities will be hosted within the event's dedicated online PD platform.

What does a classroom, a school, or even a society, that is actively and deeply engaged in freedom look like? As bell hooks reminds us, when we push against and beyond boundaries, we get closer to the practice of freedom.

Yet teaching to transgress—to fulfill the promise of democracy—can feel like a daunting, if not impossible, task given today's current social and political climate. Too often, fear—as manifested through overt and systemic racism and xenophobia—has placed a stranglehold on our ability to communicate with one another honestly and responsibly. As educators, we have a responsibility to not only guide our students through this time, but to empower them to be an antidote to divisiveness and a voice for justice.

Antiracist, anti-bias work, however, demands critical reflection and action: How can we ensure that our educational practices are not just inclusive but equitable? How can we use our power and position as educators to transform systems, whether those systems be our individual classrooms, districts, or greater communities? How can we help students read, write, and speak up for justice?

During both virtual #IREL20 institutes, we'll discover the possibilities for students when equity is the foundation for our literacy practices and explore ideas that bring us closer to addressing the overarching question of these institutes: How can we use reading and writing to advance social justice?

Virtual Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy - Interrogating Internalized Racism in Ourselves and in Our Practice (July 27-31, 2020)

Racism is pervasive; no one is unaffected. This institute will focus on the ways in which racism lives in all of us. By identifying our own personal relationships with race and racism, we can then disrupt and dismantle the ways that our literacy practices may harm students and work towards a liberatory personal and professional approach to learning.

Throughout this week, participants will*:

  • Develop an understanding of critical race theory, racial identity development, antiracist pedagogy, culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies—and the implications for teaching students
  • Listen to podcasts that address key concepts of the institute and respond to essential questions
  • Contribute to discussion boards in order to make the learning immediate and specific to distinct contexts
  • Learn and practice strategies to navigate conversations about race, racism, and antiracism with colleagues and students
  • Read a variety of texts by #ownvoices authors and consider how they can be used in the classroom
  • Explore writing activities that can help students develop their voices in culturally sustaining ways
  • Leave with a plan of action for how to interrupt racism personally and professionally

*Agenda subject to change.


Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul's research and work derive from an unyielding commitment to anti-bias and antiracist pedagogy and practices. As a public school English teacher for twenty years, Sonja developed curriculum that centered the work of racial literacy in K-12 schools. She is the co-author of four Heinemann books. Sonja is the Director of Diversity and Equity at TCRWP (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) and the Senior Advisor to the Heinemann Fellows. Follow her @SonjaCherryPaul and

A co-founder of #DisruptTexts, Tricia Ebarvia advocates for literacy instruction rooted in equity and liberation through critical literacy. She teaches and serves as department chairperson at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, PA, and is on the advisory board for the NWP site at West Chester University. A 2016-2018 Heinemann Fellow, Tricia is the author of a forthcoming Heinemann professional book on anti-bias instruction in the English classroom. Follow her @triciaebarvia and at

With Facilitator Presenters: Dulce-Marie Flecha, Aeriale Johnson, Jess Lifshitz, shea martin, Anna Osborn, Min Pai, and LaMar Timmons-Long.

Who Should Attend?

  • Classroom teachers of grades K–12
  • Literacy/instructional/tech coaches
  • Reading/writing/technology/media specialists/librarians
  • Special educators
  • Administrators and district leaders
  • Teacher educators (homeroom, resource, etc.)
  • Authors
  • Equity teams

Special Note: A separate #IREL20 virtual institute is being held July 13-17, 2020, and it is full. This second scheduled #IREL20 event is also nearing capacity, so please enroll as soon as you know you wish to participate.

Pricing Information

Tuition is set to cover only out-of-pocket costs for this event. Residual revenue, if any, will be donated to a not-for-profit organization selected by the #IREL20 co-presenters.

The tuition fee for this institute is $129.00 per person and includes the following:

  • a digital resource collection designed specifically for this institute
  • a personalized certificate of attendance
  • 30-day access to the event content and discussion forum.

Video Restriction Statement

The interactive portion of this event will be recorded. This recording is housed in the secure platform used to host the event, and will not be shared with any other department or platform.

Accessing a Virtual Institute

Logging in and participating in an online Virtual Institute is easy. A series of emails will be sent to the address you provide on your registration form to confirm your enrollment and provide information and a link to access the secure Virtual Institute site.

Upcoming Dates & Locations

07/27/2020-07/31/2020 - Eastern Time (ET) - Virtual Institute, Online

Register Now:

Availability: Sorry, there are no more seats available. When: 07/27/2020 - 07/31/2020 Where: Eastern Time (ET) - Virtual Institute, Online

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