On Saturday, March 11, the Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education and Research (CIPHER) hosted their 10th Annual Rock the School Bells (RTSB) Hip Hop Conference to over 500 participants from various middle schools, high schools, college/universities, and non-profit organizations. Youth participants were able to attend from a choice of 20 workshops such as:
- Hip Hop Healing
- Chemistry + Hip Hop = ChemHop
- Soles of Hip Hop: The Evolution of Sneaker Culture in Hip Hop
- Classroom Mixtape – Youth Advocacy
- Hip Hop Ownership – The Practical Strategies of Building a Legacy
RTSB was able to host its 4th 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 Scholastics – Transformative Schooling and Applying Hip Hop Music in College Level Chicanx Studies Courses.
The theme for this conference centered on the concept of “legacy.” Workshops provided numerous ways to engage attendees on the definition of legacy and how we can learn from movements of resistance, peace, and love through legacy building. Since the development of RTSB with the assistance of the President’s Innovation Fund in 2007, RTSB has been modeled in other community colleges that include Sacramento City College and DeAnza College. RTSB at Skyline College has quickly became a model for other community colleges and universities to replicate that highlights culturally relevant and equitable practices utilizing hip hop as an educational framework. As a result, we are also pleased to announce that in October 2017, we will be hosting our 1st Annual Rock the School Bells at the University of Hawaii – Manoa in Honolulu, HI. RTSB was also recognized with a certificate of appreciation by the City of Daly City presented by Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo for our work around youth empowerment, career readiness, and social change.
The Dean of Student Equity and Support Services, Lasana Hotep, provided the welcome address on behalf of Skyline College and introduced Rosa Clemente as our conference featured keynote speaker. Rosa Clemente provided an inspirational keynote titled: “We the People – Resistance, Legacy Building, and Political Activism,” which explored the dual roles Hip Hop can play as a historical source for maintaining political activism and as a force of resistance in the age of anti-inclusionary policy-making.
Rock The School Bells was a successful event filled with workshops, music, education, art, and positive energy. At the afternoon concert, we were able to recognize six RTSB Scholarship recipients for their academic progress and community engagement. Attendees also were able to experience a magnificent curated exhibit around black history and hip hop history artifacts by Khalid el-Hakim. In addition, Marshawn Lynch, former NFL player, was in attendance on behalf of his foundations – Beastmode Legacy and All Fam 1st Foundation. As a result of his time at RTSB, Marshawn was inspired by the work that we do with Rock the School Bells that he donated funds to our RTSB Scholarship Fund on behalf of his foundations.
This event would not be made possible without the support of the President’s Innovation Fund, the Division of Student Equity and Support Services, the Office of the Vice President of Student Services, Global Learning Programs and Services, Guardian Scholars Program, Skyline College Bookstore, 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:
- The place to be for hip hop based education. Building community and fellowship to take hip hop culture to the next level as global force for positive change.
- RTSB is the longest running hip hop education youth conference in the nation. It is fresh and amazing every year. Get your game on and build your network. Don’t sleep on RTSB!
- I left RTSB feeling energized and inspired. In the true spirit of hip hop culture, the organizers worked to bring the community an event that worked to empower youth, students, educators, activists, and families.
- RTSB connects the generations. This is the work that uplifts our young and shines opportunities across differences. hip hop continues to be that connecting thread and we must continue to be the gatekeepers just as our ancestors envisioned for us.
Proceeds from Rock the School Bells went towards educational scholarships for high school and college students.
For more information on Rock the School Bells and CIPHER, please contact Nate Nevado at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rocktheschoolbells.com.
Article by Nate Nevado | Photos by Isai Garcia, Will Nacouzi, and Chris Savella