Upcoming Event: A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

The Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership and Broadside Bookshop invite you to a very special event:

A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

Author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, 20th Anniversary Edition

Wednesday, October 18, 2017—7:00 p.m. 

Edwards Church

297 Main Street, Northampton, MA

[Add to my calendar]

Special guest: Amandla Chorus

Book signing following the program.

Wheelchair Accessible ~ Refreshments ~ All Welcome!

Susan Pynchon: Why I Volunteer for Truth School!

Volunteer Susan Pynchon recently shared with us her reasons for giving her time and talents to the Truth School. 

I read in the Gazette about a new school launching in the Valley, a school to develop social change leaders and build our movement for change. Like many others, I had been searching for a way to join forces, align in spirit and action, and galvanize post-election. Could this new school help me get started?


The concept was simple: classes for free, taught by local experts—elected officials, college professors, long-time area activists. The classes offered were varied and intriguing—helping teens find their voice on climate change, tips on movement organizing, how to write a good letter to the editor. Sessions on learning protest songs, and on nonviolent direct action skills. Even a workshop on staying hopeful in hard times!


I enrolled in several classes that day and then put my name in to volunteer. I wanted to help make this school a success—because now is an important time to be a thoughtful and active citizen and some of us need a hand getting started.

Thanks, Susan, for volunteering and for sharing your story with us!

Truth School on Occupy the Airwaves Radio Show

On July 9, Truth School Steering Committee member Clare Hammonds and Director of Communications Tynan Power joined Occupy the Airwaves hosts Paki Wieland, Bob Gardner, Oonagh Doherty, and Kathy Daly at the Valley Free Radio studio. We discussed the School’s origins and aims, efforts to diversify our teaching team and what’s next for the School. A recording of the show is available on


Climate XChange Article Features Testimony from Our Students

The testimony of students from our June 2 class, “Climate Lobby Training for Teens,” continues to draw the spotlight! Climate XChange has published an article about the climate pricing  hearing that was held before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) on June 20, 2017. The article, which was distributed to every state legislator, opens with a quote from 14-year-old Aislyn Jewett.

[Read the full article.]

Inspired by our students? The websites for Climate XChange and the Campaign for a Clean Energy Future include information on how to get involved.

Related post: Truth School Teens Testify at Massachusetts State House

Truth School teens testify at Massachusetts state house

On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, eight teens who attended the Truth School’s Climate Lobby Training for Teens class attended a hearing and testified at the Massachusetts state house. The hearing was held by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy regarding two pending bills (S.1821 and H.1726) that would impose fees for carbon pollution. One of the instructors of the June 2 class, Lilly Lombard, a legislative activist with Climate Action Now, organized the testimony, escorted the teens, and helped the speaker, 14-year-old Aislyn Jewett, write and practice her speech.

“Their testimony, one among dozens and dozens, received a standing ovation,” said Lombard. “Marc Breslow, Ph.D., economist and co-director of Climate Xchange, organized all of the expert testimonies that day and described the teens’ testimony as ‘the best, most impactful speech of the day.'”

Click the arrow below to view the “Our Climate” video of the testimony on this page or you can view (and share) the video of the testimony on Facebook.

Related post: ClimateXChange Article Features Testimony from Our Students

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.]

Opening Event: May 4th

You Are Invited!
We hope you can join us for an open conversation followed by Q & A.

 “Building a Powerful Multiracial Movement for Change”

A Dialogue with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita, Spelman College and Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian, founder, The Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership

May 4, 2017, 7:00 PM

Neilson Browsing Room
Neilson Library [map]
Smith College Campus

Q&A and Reception to follow.

This dialogue with Drs. Tatum and Ayvazian is the kickoff event to celebrate the launching of the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership.

The Truth School is a new initiative with one purpose: to teach powerful and effective movement-building skills to both new and seasoned activists. Meeting in houses of worship, community centers, senior centers, and other sites that already exist, the Truth School will offer several classes each week on such skills as how to run for public office, nonviolent direct action training, writing publishable editorials, leadership development for people of color, public speaking for the terrified, self-care for the long haul, and much, much more.

Classes will be held from Greenfield to Springfield—and will be free!

We’ll be invited into song by activist/songleader Rev. Fred Small, honored by Bill McKibben as “one of the true stalwarts in the fight against climate change.”