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---------- Forwarded message ---------

From:Taylor Schmidt <>

Date: Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 2:25 PM
Subject: PLEASE READ! CPSC's first Pride & Liberation Event!
To: CPSC Staff 2011-2012 <>

Hello, wonderful staff of Central Park! (If pressed for time, PLEASE read the
three points at the end of this email!) I know this is a terribly busy time of
year for all of us, so I will keep this as brief as I can – but we have exciting
news! Central Park is holding its very first Pride and Liberation Event on
May 13th at the Carolina Theater, its first LGBTQ+ visibility story hour
through a partnership with local drag artists, and its first week of dedicated
visibility of queer history/literacy/community in the classrooms! An
introduction of the event will be shared with families early next week. A
quick rundown:

-May 6th– 10th: Mini-lessons and activities with all Crews K-8 each day
(ideas to be provided soon)
-May 13th: Times are not fully settled; a full, finalized schedule will be sent
by May 6th
- Approx. 9:30 am – 11:00 am: LGBTQ+ Reading Hours at the Foster St.
- Approx. 12:45 pm – 2:45 pm: Pride & Liberation Event at Carolina Theater
for Middle School

WHAT: Celebration, Visibility, and Advocacy.

1.) Introducing greater visibility and celebration of the LGBTQ+
community through a week-long set of Crew-related activities for all ages,
including literacy activities, history lessons, celebrations of major figures
(Alan Turing for math/James Baldwin for ELA/Sally Ride for science/Pauli
Murray for social studies/Martina Navratilova for PE/etc.) well as “history
in the making” activities involving current events/people/community
2.) For Grades K-4: On May 13th, we are partnering with local drag
artists/leaders of Durham’s city-wide Pride celebrations to host an
LGBTQ+ community-centered reading hour(s) at the Foster St. campus!
Teachers will have the opportunity to bring their students to a joyful,
colorful storytelling time with these leaders that will center age-
appropriate stories for the kids to enjoy together! (Morning time – families
will be welcome to join!)
3.) For Grades 5-8: On May 13th, we are thrilled to be holding our very first
Pride and Liberation Event at the Carolina Theater – also a first within
Durham, blazing a path for other local schools to offer school-wide
celebrations of LGBTQ+ visibility for all students and for their school
communities! In the afternoon, students will head to the Carolina Theater
for a show hosted by Durham Pride-leader Justin Clapp and Durham
Councilperson Vernetta Alston. The celebration will feature music, a
powerful step performance, age-appropriate drag performances, an
opening by Councilperson Vernetta Alston, and a panel of local Durham
leaders who will discuss current events, their roles in working for
liberation in education, City Hall, the LGBTQ Center, and local business, in
addition to answering questions from students. (Afternoon, families are all
welcome to join!)

Attached to this email is a more comprehensive look at why bring Pride to a
school, why bring Pride to Central Park, and why now. They boil down to
1.) Representation matters. LGBTQ+ students and families remain highly
vulnerable, and Central Park is in the unique position of meeting the
challenges they face with intentional acts of support. This work is a part of
our school’s mission – advocating for our students is within our DNA as an
2.) Education on race, gender, the LGBTQ+ community & queer history, and
intersectionality, contributing to spaces of inclusiveness and liberation, and
reinforcing upstanding/anti-bullying are key – particularly when the
minority voices that can be omitted from the typical students’ learning
experiences are the very ones most vulnerable to bullying, harassment, and
discrimination. (Prejudice, learned within and outside of school and left
unchallenged, breeds only more prejudice)
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-identifying students.

This is all quite new to us, and there is much we can do together to help
make this happen!

1.) We ask firstly that all grades participate in the week of LGBTQ+
visibility from May 6th through May 10th – it doesn’t have to be a
major overhaul of academic plans, sometimes small gestures lead to
the greatest impacts! We will be providing teams with curriculum
ideas soon! Please hold the Monday of May 13th for Pride &
Liberation; morning for Foster St., afternoon for Hunt St.!
2.) In order to make the reading hours and the event at the Carolina
Theater possible, we need funding. We have been working hard for
several months to secure funding, and it would be enormously
helpful if each grade level would be willing to contribute $100 -
$200 from their grade-level funds to help compensate the
enormous expenses of our community partners in helping make this
3.) Help us roll this out to the community effectively by reading this
email and the proposal in its entirety, reaching out to Taylor, Schara,
or administration first with any questions or concerns, and directing
any questions to us that you get from parents/community members
that could prove challenging!

We are so deeply inspired by this school community, for all that we achieve
together, and for all that is to come. We will roll this out to families early
next week - please hold on to the attached explainer until we have rolled
this out for everyone in the CPSC community! Please reach out for further

Taylor W. Schmidt, M.Ed

MS Social & Community Studies
CPSC Middle School | Durham, NC
(620) 388-2603