Children’s Windows to Africa (CWTA) engages in work that is relevant and caring for the current and future landscapes of education impacting Black, African, Brown, and Indigenous wisdom. CWTA seeks to unify Black and African students that require mediators, unifiers, educators, and caregivers to reconcile the segregation between the two populations. By calling to attention the harm of such unity, they present a praxis that can help us deepen connections, and move towards and cultural healing and creative context.
CWTA utilizes an Afrocentric approach to normalize the practices of being arts integrative, centered in cultural competencies, and committed to the equity legacy which came from the Original Advocates for African American Students, led by the late Afrocentric scholar, Dr. Barbara Sizemore, and its appointees on the Equity Advisory Panel.
Through the use of school-based workshops, organized actions, and special events, these programs seek to reconnect Black and Brown students and families to concepts considered central to their academic and future life success as African descendants. For students, these include increasing positive self-knowledge through learning about the history of Africans, Black and Brown Pittsburghers, Black and Brown Americans, and the Black and Brown global diaspora. For parents, the programs host workshops about the school to prison pipeline, the school to mental illness pipeline, how to advocate for their children, and their rights to share concerns through written testimony at school board meetings, which is a hallmark of the Council for Cultural Equity and Emancipated Education.
CWTA’s Afrocentric curriculum is designed to introduce learning that psychologically and sociologically impacts students’ racial identity, historical knowledge, nascent cultural competencies, and connections to their families and community. It is based, in part, on the understanding that, with the loss of Afrocentric education, a part of Black and Brown students’ identity is stripped away and their personal and collective agencies are placed on the margins of their matriculation.
CWTA began as a summer program, expanded into almost 20 Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh (HACP) sites. Sites can be imagined as the recreational spaces in public housing communities that are the play, learning, and exploration spaces for children, youth, and caregivers offering enrichment and safety. Ultimately, this infusion opportunity grew further to become a year-round program, operating in both the City and the County (HACP environments) and provided modeling and the sharing of Afrocentric pedagogies: a unique opportunity for hands-on training and employment for all of its artists and staff.