BEACON holds Back to School Jam

From left: Joyce Jones, Jason Carter, Shirley Satterfield, Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson, Michele Smith, Dr. Edwina Hawes, Lerona Keel, Jamilla Thompson, Kami Woodson, Olive Giles and Michael GilesPHOTO COURTESY OF VANESSA CARTER
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From left: Joyce Jones, Jason Carter, Shirley Satterfield, Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson, Michele Smith, Dr. Edwina Hawes, Lerona Keel, Jamilla Thompson, Kami Woodson, Olive Giles and Michael GilesPHOTO COURTESY OF VANESSA CARTER

Back to School Jam, a gathering produced by BEACON (Black Educators Affirming Coalition Opportunities and Networks), through the support of PREA (Princeton Regional Education Association) Spirit Chair Malachi Wood, Linda Oppenheim from Not in Our Town, and Jennifer Gering from Princeton PBA, was held at the Princeton Family YMCA on Sept. 24.

More than 125 people attended the socially distanced event that featured food from Pizza Den and Joe Brown’s ice cream; music from DJ Darius the 1st; live performances from Olive Giles and Ranjit Arapurakal; student speakers Mojisola Ayodele and Faria Majeed; a Hula hoop contest; dancing; prizes; and soccer instruction from Inspire Sports Club.

Vendors included Credit Brilliance, Culture in Educational Excellence, DJ Darius the 1st, Envy League, Inspire Sports Club, Jackie’s Dollar Vine, Mr. Junk Truck, Pizza Den, PREA, Princeton Borough Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local No 13, Princeton Family YMCA, Witherspoon Jackson Historical Society and Young Scholars Institute.

BEACON was conceived during a meeting on April 20, 2017, by educator Jason Carter in response to the lack of Black administrators in Princeton Public Schools, and formed under the name Black Educators of Princeton. The group became known as BEACON in 2018. It is committed to supporting the recruitment and retention of faculty of color, especially those who identify as Black/African American, within Princeton Public Schools, and to developing pathways for Black student achievement through shared agency and the collaborative efforts of parents, teachers, and stakeholders of the Princeton Public Schools community.