Truth School launches with first classes, discussion with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

The first week of May brought the official launch of the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership. The School welcomed students to its first three classes and hosted a standing-room only audience of 200 people for the opening event on May 4, 2017, held at Smith College.

Rev. Fred Small sings at the Truth School launch event (May 4, 2017)The evening was kicked off with a song led by singer-songwriter Rev. Fred Small. Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum joined Truth School Founder and Director Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian for a discussion on “Building a Powerful Multiracial Movement for Change.” Tatum and Ayvazian shared stories of their decades of friendship and learning from one another. Ayvazian spoke passionately about the need for white allies to challenge racism consistently and actively, not letting fear of “getting it wrong” prevent them from showing up, again and again.Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum and Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian at the Truth School launch event (May 4, 2017)

“There is no such thing as passive anti-racism,” Ayvazian said. “It just passes off as racism.”

Asked to sum up the message to the Truth School community in three words, Tatum said “Keep paying attention.”

Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian, Chuck Cullins of IPS, and Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum at the Truth School launch event (May 4, 2017)“The reception food table was groaning with wonderful, delicious food, the place was packed and the energy was high!,” said Ayvazian. “Everyone was in great spirits! Fred Small led singing and everyone sang! Chuck Collins [of the Institute for Policy Studies] gave us the IPS ‘blessing.’ Pamela and Jo did a fabulous job co-MCing and moved the evening along and ended the evening on time. Somehow!”

The Advisory Board, Steering Committee, Staff, volunteers, and teachers of the Truth School all join Ayvazian in offering sincere thanks to all who came out to the launch event and all who helped make it possible!

[View our photo gallery from the event on Instagram.]

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