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CPSC’s First Pride & Liberation Event (May 13th, 2019)

Who? Justin Clapp, Raafe Ahmed Nathaniel Purnsley, et. al. (Drag artists/community activists,
primary organizers of Triangle Pride 2018), Invitations to Councilperson Vernetta Alston, LGBTQ
Center Director Helene Cragg, & Paul James, Assistant Vice President – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
at Duke University

What? A day of advocacy at CPSC, including LGBTQ visibility-oriented literacy, drag performance
art, and pointedly – intentional spaces of discussion and awareness around race, gender, queer
history, respect/consent, and intersectionality. Emphasis on Liberation/Juneteenth/Pride Month

When? May 6th – May 10th: LGBTQ+ visibility and celebration activities in classrooms
May 13th: Reading Hours in the morning, Event in the afternoon

Where? Central Park School for Children MS, The Carolina Theatre (stage, seating, sound,
lighting, etc.)

Why?
1.) Increased visibility for queer members of the community, with a focus on centering queer
People of Color.
2.) Education on race, gender, queer history, and intersectionality, as well as advocacy,
contributing to spaces of inclusiveness and liberation, and upstanding/anti-bullying.
3.) Challenging common misconceptions and the increasing instances of exclusionary,
demeaning, and threatening language and actions amongst students, disproportionately affecting
students of Color, LGBTQ students, and female students.

Why Central Park? “An Uncommon Education.” Research clearly indicates that
“common education” is failing our students of Color, failing our LGBTQ students, and failing first-
generation and low-income students. When these social categorizations intersect in our students,
the negative effects of a common education only compound themselves in increasingly dangerous
ways with a high likelihood of dire long-term consequences. (Please see the quick compilation of
resources that follow) Central Park School for Children was chartered as “An Uncommon
Education,” committed to practices, experiences, challenges, and interactions that promote whole-
child development as agents of societal change – this experience would be:

Aligned to Central Park’s Charter and 5 year “All Children Thriving” Plan:
 STRENGTHEN CPSC’S IDENTITY OF BEING COMMITTED TO STRIVING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE –
PARTICULARLY RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE (emphasizing where race/ethnicity, economics, and
gender intersect).
 Increase students’ capacity (knowledge, skills, commitment) around equity, thriving, interdependence,
etc.
 BUILD AND MAINTAIN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT INCREASES THE CAPACITY OF CPSC’S
COMMUNITY TO FOSTER BLACK/AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS, LATINX/HISPANIC STUDENTS,
AND ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS’ PERSISTENCE IN AND THROUGH:
QUESTIONING AND PROBLEM-POSING, CREATIVITY, AND COLLABORATION TO TRANSFORM
THEIR LIVES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMUNITIES INTO ONES OF GREATER JUSTICE AND EQUITY.
 BUILD AND MAINTAIN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT INCREASES THE CAPACITY OF CPSC’S
COMMUNITY TO FOSTER WHITE MEMBERS’ AND ECONOMICALLY ADVANTAGED MEMBERS’
SHARING OF OR RELINQUISHING OF POWER IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE EQUITY
 To this particular point, Justin Clapp is uniquely skilled in pointing out power imbalances,
subtle/nuanced systems of white supremacy,

Aligned to Central Park’s Inclusion Statement:


At CPSC we create environments in which any individual or group can be and feel
welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. We embrace differences
and offer respect in words and actions for all students, families, and staff.
CPSC does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental
ability, genetic information, political affiliation, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.

Aligned to Central Park’s Mission:

The Central Park School for Children is committed to nurturing and guiding the natural
eagerness of each child to explore, grow, and relate to others. The school is founded on three
principles: that children are naturally full of life, power and confidence; that the best available
research should guide our methods; and that children develop best in a community where
curiosity, challenges and learning are valued. The school is a community of partners who
seek to guide, cherish and be amazed by the children.

Aligned to Central Park’s Goals and Educational Approach:


Students become creative, empathetic problem solvers who possess the habits, skills and
creativity to make the world a better place.
 Habits of Mind: Curiosity, Imagination, Agility, Openness, and Initiative
 CPSC educates the whole child: socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.

CPSC Coordinators: Schara B., Kay M., and Taylor S.

About House of Coxx, from a recent IndyWeek article:

“Clapp has big hopes for himself and the House of Coxx. He and his cohorts want to continue to
expand their presence in Durham and help shape local dialogue about consent and respect for
marginalized populations along the way. "We put forward a social justice bent, with a focus on
humor, enthusiastic consent, antiracism, antitransphobia, antimisogyny - just basically trying to
create an environment for everyone. And I think anyone who has been to our shows has felt
comfortable, unless they are a bigot," Clapp says.

Clapp's desire to develop social-justice-centered drag stems from several places. For one, he says,
he's had plenty of his own experiences in queer and gay spaces where he's felt like he didn't
belong as a queer black man.

"Durham is an activist city, we are an educated city, so I thought as an educated, activist-centered


person, I could just literally put what I believe in on stage," Clapp says.

Clapp's attempts at inclusion extend far beyond his own experiences. He has degrees in medical
anthropology and gender studies, as well as a master's degree in higher education administration.
At Duke, Clapp oversees the Office of Access & Outreach, which helps first-generation and low-
income students.

"My entire academic history has been about creating inclusive spaces," he says. "You could say
that I am literally taking my degrees and applying them to drag."

Sometimes, that means having to take control when a heckler goes too far and uses bigoted or
otherwise unacceptable language. As Coxx, Clapp never hesitates to call out inappropriate
behavior, using humor as his main method of disarmament.”

Considerations:

- Time: Respecting Clapp/Purnsley’s time and time-in-drag (we don’t want to
ask them to remain in drag all school day) – scheduling between CPSC, HoC,
Durham LGBTQ Center, etc.

- Alignment with Liberation/Juneteenth: This event (Pride & Liberation) could
be an annual event at CPSC, and the HoC group has expressed willingness to
participate in rolling Juneteenth, Stonewall into the event. Honoring and
recognizing Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Riviera, Storme DeLarverie
-Pre-work @ CPSC: School-wide, Crew-oriented pre-work in week leading up to
event, partially organized by GSA (reflections, mini-lessons, readings, identity
activities,

Rough Sketch of Full Day’s Events (yet to be finalized):

Morning: ELEMENTARY CAMPUS



-Reading Hour in the library (9:00 – 11:00?)
-LGBTQ-representative texts
-K-4 Grades opt in for time

Lunch/Recess (optional): MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMPUS



(1) Vogueing/Performing Confidence Bootcamp for Step Team?
-Warehouse? Taylor’s Room?


Afternoon:

(1) Afternoon Performance @ Carolina Theatre– 5-8

-Carolina Theater open to CPSC starting at 12:30
(2) Show + Discussion: LGBTQ+ representation in school/society, activities led by Justin and
Raafe
-MC Style
-12:45 – 1:30
(3) Short Break
(4) Discussion (Panel): Race, Gender, Queer Visibility, and Intersectionality– Grade 8 (+7?)
(House of Coxx, Helena Cragg/LGBTQ Center, Duke Health and Sociology, Durham City
Council)
*Panel could include prompts from pre-work done in days leading up to this event, as
well as Q&A
-2:00 – 2:45

AFTER SCHOOL:
Voguing/Performing Confidence Bootcamp for Step Team?


-IF HoC is interested (Step Team would be THRILLED!)

Drag Story Hour: What, and Why?


Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories
to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and
play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and
unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy
rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish,
where dress up is real.

https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/#about

In seeking to foster an environment that celebrates diversity, we need proactive


programming that reflects and reinforces our values. Drag Queen Story Hour is exactly
the sort of program that drives an inclusive initiative. It is exciting, drawing large and
enthusiastic family audiences, and fun. It is a storytime, yes, but one presented by a
human being who is glamorous, unique, and fabulous. While these adjectives also apply
to any fantastic children’s librarian, it is also true of drag queens who represent the
LGBTQ population.

As I scrub, I remember that the LGBTQ community has faced immense hate and
negativity, psychically and physically. I remember that I have not personally faced such a
challenge. I hope instead that children who are raised as loving and thoughtful humans
will in turn make our planet a more positive and beautiful place. The library is open to all.

https://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2017/06/drag-queen-story-hour/
NEW YORK TIMES EXAMPLE OF A DRAG READING HOUR:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/style/drag-queen-story-hour-puts-the-
rainbow-in-reading.html

Typical Responses from families/community members?


There were three types of responses. One was over-the-top negative, people calling us
pedophiles and child abusers. Then there was a middle-road response; these were people who
didn’t really agree with the program, but once I explained the idea to them — that we were not
introducing topics of gender or sexuality, that it was a program about differences — they
usually came to the conclusion that they wouldn't come to the program, but they understood
other people would. Then the third response were people who just loved the program and were
really supportive. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/libraries-respond-drag-queen-story-hour

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) spoke out in support of the Lafayette Public
Library.

“As a public space, it is crucial that the library be free to host programming that may not appeal to
all citizens, but that fosters open discussion and encourages discovery. The beliefs of one
individual—or group of individuals-- cannot be allowed to undermine the rights of all members
of the community to access programming in a public space.

This particular programming also helps combat bigotry and stigmatization of LGBTQ youth,
whose experiences are traditionally underrepresented or silenced,” NCAC wrote.

“In a recent statement of support, the board of local television station Arcadiana Open Channel
Community Media, stated: ‘We believe that providing space for new ideas not only honors the
First Amendment of the Constitution and the core values of the United States as a nation of new
ideas, but also, that it is the best way to grow as a public and as a community. Public space is the
best space for free speech.’

https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=drag-queen-story-hour-brings-fun-continued-protests

LGBTQ Representation in Middle School:


Why?
Study: Homophobic Language and Verbal Harassment
(http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.908.5580&rep=re
p1&type=pdf)

2018 LGBTQ Youth Report

https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/2018-YouthReport-

NoVid.pdf?_ga=2.263632076.1316431902.1538749825-
1992505149.1537475449

Excerpt from Public Schools First NC:


“LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly children still experience high levels of discrimination and
stress especially in the school setting where they spend most of their time. LGBTQ+ youth face
higher levels of stress, rejection and bullying than their heterosexual peers. High levels of
childhood stress can impact life-long mental, emotional and physical health issues in addition to
academic performance. This issue is compounded for youths who also experience other adverse
childhood experiences (ACEs) like physical trauma, poverty and systemic racism.
Disproportionately high rates of LGBTQ+ youth contemplate and carry out suicide compared to
their heterosexual peers. Clearly, providing support to this vulnerable population should be a
priority

LGBTQ+ students of color face compounded stress as they experience racism in addition to their
sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ+ students who are not native English speakers face
compounded stress as well.” https://www.publicschoolsfirstnc.org/wp-
content/uploads/2018/10/LGBTQ-Youth-and-Schools.pdf