Black Teachers Matter Building Community at SXSWEDU

Black Teachers Matter is an initiative started by Akiea Gross to shed light on the necessity of Black teachers in the American education system and beyond.

At SXSWEDU 2019, Black Teachers Matter hosted its first community meetup. It was a huge success and brought together Black identified educators and education professionals from all over the country and several continents.

Community Matters.

The Concept:

Black Teachers Matter: Community Welcome and Storytelling

A welcome and networking event for Black identified educators and education professionals seeking to create community and share stories at SXSW EDU.

Event Details

Community Welcome + Presentation on History of Black Educators/Education, Networking activities, Storytelling

Equity Matters.

Why is this event important?

  • There are often start disparities in demographic attendance at large scale education conferences that are not directly tied to Black learning.
  • Equity is key and can be worked towards by creating inclusive, safe spaces for oppressed groups and groups that are generally the minority in large settings.
  • When people feel a sense of community and belonging, they are more likely to rate their experiences highly, and to then recommend these experiences to other folks in their community.

Our Stories Matter.

Storytelling is the gatekeeper of empathy. It has the power to open people up to the world around us. When we share our stories with one another, we feel more connected to each other, we empathize with one another which is ultimately how we heal and create sustainable change.

The Concept

Attendees will have the opportunity to share stories related to the following:

  1. Why do Black Teachers Matter?
  2. A time when a Black teacher or mentor made a difference in your life, or you made a difference in a child's life.
  3. Fostering joy by creating culturally competent, inclusive and affirming environments for kids, families and/or staff.

The Outcome

  • A community of attendees that feel seen, respected and affirmed.
  • An attendee pool that will continue to grow diversely in subsequent years.
  • An unprecedented first time event that will draw a huge crowd of attendees.
  • A more equitable event overall.

This is Black Teachers Matter at SXSW EDU 2020

presented by Akiea Gross, Founder + Creator


To learn more about Equitable Schools, Inc. please visit: