School News

5th Graders Explore the Intersection of Afro-Latinx and BLM

By Philip Mallari

Last month, 5th graders wrapped up their work on the Afro-Latinx experience with the Black Lives Matter movement in Spanish-speaking countries. Students took a guided tour of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia—the Americas' first free African town—using Google Earth. They read about the founding of Palenque and watched 360-degree music video in the Palenquero Creole language. Students also learned about the culinary culture and symbolism of sweet desserts, the importance of hair braiding in contemporary culture, and the town's history using coded maps to help enslaved people escape to Palenque.

This lesson uplifts powerful and joyful Afro-Latinx experiences that haven't always been present in Spanish curriculums. It more accurately displays the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. In addition to the Palenque project, students viewed images of BLM protestors holding signs that read 'Justicia Para George Floyd' from Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Argentina, and other Latin American countries. These images underscored the scale of racism as a global issue.

Fifth graders were able to see the magnitude of the BLM movement and communities coming together in solidarity. They now understand that they can share resources and knowledge with allies and accomplices in every corner of the world in their fight for justice.

Here are some student takeaways:

"I connected with stop number two the most because I'm currently living through the Black Lives Matter movement… going on all around the world."

"I think I connected with the "la Alegria" slide the most because I love to bake, and it was awesome to learn about a different dessert I had never heard of."

"I connected with the second stop the most because it shows that racism is a problem everywhere, not just in America."

"I liked the 3rd stop of the tour the most because it had really cool costumes and good music, and the editing of the video was so cool. It reminded me of being a family and community because all of the musicians were merging together and singing and playing instruments."
1640 Kalmia Road NW
Washington, DC
20012 202-577-2000
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.