top of page
  • Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 03.04.22

This morning, I had a talk with La Tasha Brown formerly the head of the Shirley Chisholm Center for Equity Studies and now the Director of Multi-Cultural Programs at Rensalear Polytechnic where Shirley Jackson is President. I met La Tasha because of her connections to Andrew and his Uncle Bob who was a speechwriter for Shirley Chisholm. Today, we continued our discussion about a chapter I’m honored to write in a book La Tasha is compiling about the life of Shirley Chisholm who was my Congresswoman from Brooklyn. Shirley’s life intersects and influenced my life and my families and friends in so many ways that I will get into in that chapter but one thing I will say now is that it is making me rekindle some old friendships with people who have all stood the test of time and worked in fields that continued the work of Shirley Chisholm whom we were all influenced by.

This week Ben Carr, one of the principals in Winnipeg Canada wrote this piece in a Canadian paper – National NewsWatch about what is going on in Ukraine. I remembered meeting lots of people from Ukraine on my trips to Winnipeg and It turns out that nearly 10 percent of the population of Winnipeg is Ukrainian. Thirteen years ago, I spent three weeks working in Odesa so, I have some firsthand knowledge of what Ukrainians were going through after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the Ukrainian people were great, their living conditions were extremely difficult. The children I was working with were all orphans whose moms were victims of drugs and prostitution that were part of the business of Russian colonization. I was there to develop Big Picture-type programs in CTE focused on the interests of students. It was an eye-opening experience and one I take with me as I read about this horrible war.


The 311 Credential

The newly dubbed 311 Credential is our newest work in Harbor Freight Fellows that allows younger youth and older adults away into high-wage union work in the skilled trades. Dubbed 311 because the three-week program breaks these weeks up into 3 days on-site, 1 day of instruction in practical literacy and numeracy, and 1 day with a retired volunteer carpenter weekly. This is in lieu of waiting till you are 18 and having a GED or high school diploma to get into a pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship program. Once again, these are new forms, new measures. We are hoping to begin the pilot this summer in Philadelphia and Newark.


Proctor Academy on the Harvey Gamage

Here’s a beautiful blog about the voyage our students and students from Proctor academy are on in their marine and social justice work on the Harvey Gamage. This is an incredible journey that culminates in the waters of the Mobile River in Alabama where they will anchor above the wreck of the recently discovered Clotilda, the last illegal slave ship to transport 110 enslaved people from Benin, West Africa to Mobile in 1860,

“The lessons of here lie not just in the novels read, marine biology learned, or knots mastered, but in the relationships that are developed. This group’s experience has taken that learning to a whole new level for the trimester at sea programs. “


Geographical Diversity

My research into geographical diversity as an on-ramp into colleges is ongoing. I usually, interview a person or two a week with some knowledge of how this unwritten admissions rule works. In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking with Gary Orfield of the UCLA Civil Rights Project about geographical diversity. From my vantage point, the upcoming Supreme and lower Court decisions maybe based on what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. More to come.

My week is ending with meetings at the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club for B-Unbound and a call with a group of district people from New Rochelle about the International Big Picture Learning Credential.

Next week, off to SXSW where many of us will be presenting B-Unbound, ImBlaze, and the IBPLC.

Enjoy the weekend!


Elliot Washor

Co-Founder of Big Picture Learning

30 views0 comments


bottom of page