Feeling alone in your fight for equity and social justice?

Wondering how you can create long-lasting educational change post COVID-19?

Looking for a community of love, strength and encouragement?

When I was a classroom teacher, I often felt like the needs of adults were given more importance than those of children. Whether a constant focus on test scores or constant reminders of the school to prison pipeline, I felt like I was alone in my disappointment with K-12 education's limiting practices. Constantly feeling like I was the only one who cared about these inequities led to doubt, anger, hopelessness and illness.

The constant pressure of trying to be everything to everyone wasn't working. In 2005, a friend of mine suggested I try yoga with her. It was just what I needed. It was a place where I could connect my mind and body. It was a place where I felt strong. It was a place where I was reminded of my unique gifts. Yoga continues to play that role in my life and has been supplemented with meditation and a community of other educators.

And then COVID-19 happened.
And then Breonna Taylor happened.
And then Ahmaud Arbery happened.
And then Dreasjon Reed happened.
And then Christian Cooper happened.
And then George Floyd happened.
And then Tony McDade happened
And then Manuel Ellis happened.
And then David McAtee happened.
And then AJ Sutton happened.
And then Justin Howell happened.
And then Jamel Floyd happened.
And then Robert Forbes happened.
And then Robert Fuller happened.
And then Rayshard Brooks happened.
And then Oluwatoyin Salau happened.
And then...

We all agree that massive change is needed. We all agree that COVID-19 has exacerbated long-standing inequities in K-12 education and society at large. We all agree that white supremacy has impacted every aspect of our lives. Countless webinars, articles and Twitter chats have assured us that schools will never go back to the way they were before. As many have said:

Our eyes have been opened.

As someone whose eyes were never closed and who fought for equity in my classroom, school and district, I know that systemic change is easier said than done. Each day of this crisis brings me back to my 2005 self...feeling hopeless, angry and doubtful. And then I sit down on my mat, and my 15 year self care routine fortifies me and reminds me that I have the power to make a difference.

Fortify is a virtual self care series for social justice educators.

The heart of Fortify is a series of three 90 minute, live virtual group sessions with Dr. Tamara Pearson. In these sessions we move our bodies using yoga, build our community and re-connect with the heart of what it means to educate for freedom. Participants also gain access to one pre-recorded 30 minute guided meditation and thought-provoking "invitations" to help you continue your growth after Fortify.

I take time and space for healing.

This is a place where self care means acknowledging and setting aside time for your needs. A place where you "place the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others in need." Through restorative yoga, we learn to find comfort in stillness and the importance of connecting our hearts, minds and bodies

I trust and listen to the voice inside me.

This is a place where we grow together in community. A place where you allow others to fully see and embrace you as you are in this moment. Through yin yoga, we learn to listen to and trust ourselves, even in times of great discomfort.

I show up fully and authentically in my power.

This is a place for social justice educators to remember that they matter. A place for you to take time to reconnect to your mental and physical power. Through yoga flow, we learn to push past the limits that we often place on ourselves.

do not forget your lineage, do not shrink, do not bend

yourself, do not shift your tongue for anyone.

whenever you forget who you are, remember the

history you have inherited. now, speak.

Ijeoma Umebinyuo
from Questions for Ada

I've never done yoga, am I going to be lost?

Of course not! This series is for anyone who considers themselves a social justice educator. Our work is needed now more than ever, so we must take care of ourselves. The physical practice of yoga asanas is only one component of Fortify. The more important component for success is an openness to learn about yourself and from others.

What stuff do I need?

Everyone will need a yoga mat and dedicated journal. Other items you might want to have are 1-2 pillows, a blanket, and yoga blocks. You will also need access to a computer and a reliable internet connection. All live sessions will be hosted through Zoom.

Get to Know Dr. Tamara Pearson

I am a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher (RYT-200). I completed my training at Sacred Chill {West} under the guidance of Octavia Raheem and Meryl Arnett. I teach to help people re-connect with their hearts. The strength, vulnerability and compassion you feel on the mat can, and should, transfer off the mat and into your classroom.

By day, I lead a STEM equity center focused on creating opportunities for women of color. I also have 10+ years experience in mathematics education both as a classroom teacher and pre-service and in-service educator.

"I teach yoga and meditation to help educators liberate themselves so they can show up fully in the creation of liberated educational spaces for children."