Teacher’s Firsthand Learning about Civil Rights

Special Education and Social Studies Teacher Brooke Kircher recently traveled to Mississippi and Tennessee through a special professional development opportunity supported by Common Power, a civic engagement nonprofit.  Ms. Kircher explains: 


This fall I was honored to take part in the advanced educator learning tour through Common Power. This trip, led by Terry Scott and David Domke, gives an on-the-ground learning experience of places rarely making the history books.

Alongside educators from across the country, I traveled through Mississippi and Tennessee (Money, Memphis, Nashville, Mound Bayou, Greenwood, Sumner and more) learning truth and history of the South. Our tour allowed us to explore the reality in the fight for Civil Rights with an emphasis on Voting Rights.

We visited important locations and heard firsthand accounts of the foot soldiers and catalysts of 1960s — Emmett Till, Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, Frankie Henry, Etta Ray, King Hollands, Gloria McKissack, Leroy Clemons. We met current action-makers such as Hermon Johnson Jr. and Daryl Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and (soon to be State Representative) Fabian Nelson of Memphis, who continue to the fight to protect rights and propel us forward.

I was honored to be part of this learning experience. The educators I traveled with provide support and community when learning these hard truths. I am forever grateful for these connections and conversations, and now have friends and collaborators across the state.

This empowering experience will be brought back to the Garfield classroom in my Ethnic Studies US History Course and passed on to the next generation of leaders who carry on the fight for everyone’s freedoms.

I encourage you to do research on all these Civil Rights Leaders and look for ways to lead in your home.

Please reach out to me to learn more about Common Power or visit their website.