NBA teams Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder have joined forces to launch a multi-year, first-of-its-kind virtual program to educate high school students on the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 and 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, NBA.com reports.
Arriving on the heels of the centennial recognition of the Chicago Race Riot and the 100-year mark of the Tulsa Race Massacre this spring, The Black History Classroom Exchange is an interactive program that will give students an opportunity to learn about these two historical Black events in American history that have been notoriously left out of school curriculums.
The purpose of the program is to consider what’s occurred in Black America’s past in an effort to empower current and future generations of students to discover new ways in which they can expand economic empowerment within their own communities.
“Reflecting on Black history gives us all a chance to learn from the past while we continue to work towards justice and equity in our future,” said Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry — Senior Director of Community Relations of the Chicago Bulls — in a statement. “We are proud to partner with the Thunder to help form a bridge between students in Chicago and Tulsa, giving them a unique opportunity to connect, explore ties between these moments in our cities’ histories and inspire each other to find innovative ways to uplift their communities.”
According to NBA.com, the new program builds upon the Bulls and Thunder’s ongoing social justice efforts and commitment to elevating Black history for future generations.
The ambitious initiative is an example of how we can begin to shape a better future while also instilling positive values in our communities that our ancestors stood on.
“Black history is a vital component of the history of our state and our country,” said Christine Berney — vice president of Community Relations for the Oklahoma City Thunder — in a statement. “Partnering with the Bulls for this classroom exchange gives us the chance to highlight these chapters of American history that were previously not discussed for decades in both Tulsa and Chicago. Launching this program just ahead of the centennial recognition of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre provides us with phenomenal resources to highlight the significance of Black Wall Street and the resilience of the Greenwood District in Tulsa. Through this education exchange, we can elevate these historical events that are integral to how we view and understand our society today.”
Students from African American history classes at Chicago’s South Shore International High School and Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa will virtually participate in six interactive workshops together through the remainder of the current school year.
Both teams worked alongside the Obama Foundation, the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project, as well as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission to curate the workshops’ curriculum comprised of mixed media resources, guest speakers and roundtable discussions.
To learn more about the Black History Classroom Exchange Program, click here.