Through a collaboration with Harvard’s Public School Partnerships and the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), more than 150 Boston Public School (BPS) teachers and staff were invited to attend the Anna Deavere Smith’s groundbreaking performance of “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education,” on Friday, Aug. 26. The critically acclaimed play outlines the civil rights crisis currently erupting at the intersection between America’s education system and its mass incarceration epidemic. Each performance begins with what Deavere Smith calls a “Radical Welcome” from a local social, political, educational or spiritual leader who personally introduces the show to the audience while speaking about the school-to-prison pipeline from their vantage point.
On the night of this performance, BPS Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang’s “Radical Welcome” encouraged the audience — comprising largely of educators — to consider the critical role of each individual to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. “Acknowledging, engaging and reflecting on our own privilege is the first step in disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline” he stated in his welcome. “We have to reflect on our systematic and individual biases and how it will impact our practices, this is an ongoing effort for all of us.”