Last Saturday, March 7, the Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education and Research (CIPHER) hosted their 8th Annual Rock The School Bells Hip Hop Conference with over 400 participants from various middle schools, high schools, college/universities, and non-profit organizations. Youth participants were able to choose from a choice of 20 workshops such as:
- Hip Hop Healing
- Hip Hop Profiling: Exploring Stereotypes and Identity
- A Better Tomorrow: Addressing Police Brutality through Hip Hop
- Knowledge through the Word: A Spoken Word, Emcee, and Poetry Workshop
- A Story of Independence: Building a Hip Hop Legacy
- Raptivism: Making Your Own Freedom Song
In addition, we were able to host our 2nd installment of workshops for educators, administrators, graduate students, and other professionals who work directly with youth and students. Participants learned about the different ways in which Hip Hop pedagogies can be utilized in various educational spaces through workshops such as Hip Hop, Chess, and Life Strategies and Verses from the Abstract: Student Engagement through Youth Voice, Restorative Justice, and other Hip Hop Practices.
Interim VPSS, Carsbia Anderson, provided the welcome address and Jasiri X was the conference featured keynote speaker. Jasiri is the founding member of the anti-violence community organization, 1Hood Media, where he leads a team of educators and artists in teaching young people media literacy and media creation. He is a new millennium civil rights activist working closely with his mentor, Harry Belafonte to address ills of today’s society.
Participants were able to meet with representatives from different Skyline College programs and services such as the Career Advancement Academy, Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Sparkpoint, Financial Aid; Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Program, and the Digital Arts Program.
Rock The School Bells was a successful event filled with workshops, music, education, art, and positive energy. This event could not have been possible without the support of the President’s Innovation Fund, Career Advancement Academy, Skyline College Bookstore, Rockstar, Youth Entrepreneurship Program; Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Program, and the many vendors who donated to the event. A special recognition goes to all of the volunteers – students, staff, faculty, and administrators – who donated their time and efforts to make this event a huge success.
Here are some testimonials from the event:
- “RTSB continues to improve each year, exposing more and more youth to the power of hip-hop, knowledge, and community. The conference brings together youth, artists, and educators in a true sense of community.”
- “There is no event on the planet like RTSB. If you are an educator, and administrator or a kid in search of inspiration- this is the place.”
- “Rock The School Bells (RTSB) and its staff are pioneering a way to make hip-hop accessible and taught with dignity and pride. RTSB should serve as a model for other educators planning to throw hip-hop events for the youth. This event and movement is only going to get bigger.”
Proceeds from Rock The School Bells will go towards educational scholarships for high school and college students.
Article by Nate Nevado | Photos by Berlin Tomas and Shane Menez