Funded by The New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) and in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, The Education Equity Action Plan Coalition (EEAPC) was founded to launch the first Pre-K-12 Black Studies curriculum for New York City public schools. With more than 1 million students in over 1,800 schools, EEAPC is pioneering the integration of Black Studies into the American History and Social Studies curriculum in the nation’s largest public school system. The curriculum draws from the robust foundation created by Black studies scholars and educators, curated over the last half-century. EEAPC retained The Wakeman Agency to raise awareness for the curriculum and generate excitement about Black Studies in local communities.
This work is essential in our current political climate. More than 1,000 books focusing on characters of color and themes of race and racism were banned in US schools in the 2022-2023 school year. Recent research indicates that 75% of children’s book primary and secondary characters are White. In New York City, more than 82% of public school students are students of color and 25.5% are Black. This disconnect in who is reflected in stories has lifelong impacts on all students.
View of one of the Exhibits: A Free Black Press. Visitors could scan the QR code and listen to an audio guide
At each location, participants were encouraged to tour the bookmobile and view curriculum-based exhibits presenting Pre-K-8th grade materials selected from the actual Black Studies curriculum.
- Myself, My Name: Beauty, Pride and Power.
- Black Families Now and Long Ago: the African diaspora and the traveling of traditions as wisdom.
- The Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance, invoking joy and resilience in America.
- A Free Black Press: Agency and social power deployed by Black people over the last two centuries.
Upon exit, participants were invited to select free books, choosing from a wide range of culturally responsive options.
- Increased media impressions for EEAPC by 165% over the 12-month period before the engagement. Outlets included CBS New York, WPIX, News12, Yahoo! News, WNYC/NPR and other local outlets.
- Thousands of individuals toured the Bookmobile bus throughout the city.
- More than 6,000 books were distributed to children and families to take home, supporting literacy efforts.
- The EEAPC garnered its highest social media engagement ever during the month the Bookmobile was launched. Social media ads for the Bookmobile reached tens of thousands of Instagram and Facebook accounts, with over 6,000 post engagements and hyper-focused reach into the communities the Bookmobile visited.
- Brand exposure was multiplied via “pass on” resources through educators, community organizers and elected officials to approximately 50,000 New Yorkers.
- Ideation and development of a crowd-sourced online Resource Guide, which highlights brick-and-mortar locations and digital resources that New York City families can visit that are connected to Black Studies.
- Creation and distribution of a take-home activity sheet highlighting famous sites associated with the Harlem Renaissance throughout the city, providing history and insight into some of the incredible Black historic locations around participants’ neighborhoods.
- Content was made accessible for individuals with limited mobility, sight and hearing through printed materials and professionally recorded audio, available via QR codes, at each exhibit (for example here and here).
The Black Studies: An Education for Me + You Bookmobile was tailored to meet the particular needs of the EEAPC, thereby spreading awareness, generating interest and catalyzing micro-level community engagement. Word of mouth, traditional and social media activations were combined with our unique immersive event approach to produce a dynamic and captivating campaign in support of New York City public schools’ groundbreaking Black Studies curriculum.