Dr. Bettina L. Love, author of the book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom was the keynote speaker for last night’s Critical Urban Education (CUE) Speaker Series. The series is a bi-annual event bringing leading national scholars to Montclair State University. The event was open to all community members, providing a forum to develop attendees’ racial and political analysis through lectures and workshops focused on social and cultural issues influencing urban schools and communities.
The event began with a private “Chat and Chew” dinner with members of the Newark Teacher Project (NTP) and Dr. Love. The NTP is a small cohort of teacher education students participating in their student-teacher year, focused on social justice and urban education. The NTP students work in Newark, New Jersey classrooms with mentor teachers, receiving support and community resources. Giving them an opportunity to converse with Dr. Love provided the students with an invaluable experience.
Then, a curriculum fair took place in the lobby of Memorial Auditorium, filled with student posters as well as vendor exhibitions. DJ Reef and Nelly Bass hyped up the crowd before introducing Dr. Love, entertaining them and building excitement for the upcoming presentation.
Dr. Love gave an inspirational talk, noting practices such as helping yourself before being able to effectively help others. Additionally, Dr. Love stated, “Theory gives us language to blame structures, not children.” An open mic section for audience questions followed, resulting in a thought-provoking dialogue between the Montclair State community and Dr. Love. The evening ended with a book signing, allowing participants to engage in personal conversations with the author.
Dr. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. She is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the areas of how anti-blackness operates in schools, Hip Hop education, and urban education. In 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the author of Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South.