Join us virtually for this wonderful panel conversation, hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education Equity & Inclusion Fellows and recorded on May 14, 2020. Lee & Low Educational Sales Manager Verónica Labarca and Kimm Topping, Harvard GSE Ed.M. 2020, discuss equity issues in the children’s book publishing industry and educational resources to elevate student voice and identity:
Verónica says, “Although this conversation was planned to shine a light on educational resources during COVID19, data shows that pre-COVID19 existing inequalities have been magnified by the virus. We can’t measure the extent to which this virus will affect the equity gap in education. Luckily, we can all take action today in order to narrow that gap. We hope that after listening to this conversation you will feel empowered to be a gatekeeper that makes conscious decisions in your life to give a voice to those who need it. I know we did!”
Kimm says, “I’m so grateful for this conversation with Verónica Labarca, which was an incredible opportunity to learn more about all that Lee & Low Books is doing to promote more diverse, representative books. In my work as an educator, I meet students, teacher, and administrators everyday who know all too well what the Diversity Baseline Survey found. We need more stories that embrace the full experiences and identities of all our students. There is so much that each of us can do to elevate the voices and identities of students. This conversation was a reminder of just how many resources, people, and organizations there are committed to this work.”
About the Speakers:
Verónica Labarca, Educational Sales Manager at Lee & Low Books
Verónica Labarca is the Educational Sales Manager at Lee & Low Books, the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the United States. Born and raised in Chile (proud Latina!), she is a Bilingual Teacher (Spanish-English) from Universidad Católica de Chile whose passion for education and inclusion brought her to New York City 6 years ago as an advocate for the Down syndrome community. Teaching in Chile and in NYC with the belief that positive windows and mirrors can have the biggest impact on students’ identities, led her to now share educational resources across the country with the conviction that it can all start with the right book.
Kimm Topping, Educational Policy and Management Program
Kimm Topping, EdM, is a queer educator and writer. Kimm has trained thousands of people to better support LGBTQ+ youth in their work as a facilitator for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students and kyriQ. By sharing stories and providing folks with tools to authentically support youth, Kimm believes that we can create safer and more welcoming spaces. Kimm’s publications include Identity, Relationships, and Media and Mapping Feminist Cambridge. They are currently writing GENERATION QUEER, a non-fiction book that highlights the stories of 30 LGBTQ+ youth activists. Kimm lives in Cambridge, MA with their partner and two cats. You can find Kimm online at www.kimmtopping.com or Twitter @kimm.writes.