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Dr. Deborah Jewell – Sherman of Harvard delivers speech to Pierce Students

On Tuesday, February 1st, within the framework of the English Lesson, the B Lyceum students of three CTTL classes (Contemporary Themes Through Literature) took part in an event entitled “The Arc of Justice: Demonstrating Moral Courage in Times of Challenge”, by Dr. Deborah Jewell – Sherman, Harvard Professor. Dr. Sherman’s seminar was the first in the series “Experts on Global Issues,” which has been incorporated in the curriculum of three CTTL classes which aims for students to experience educational opportunities outside the narrow framework of the classroom, discoursing with outstanding figures of our times.

With the Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a starting point, which CTTL students have read and analysed, Dr. Jewell – Sherman addressed the virtue of moral courage, which she characterized as a prerequisite for success in life. Starting in the era of the 1930s economic crisis in the U.S.A. which is the setting of the novel, Dr. Jewell – Sherman went on to the 1960s, talking about Martin Luther King and his fight for equal rights for African-Americans and ended up talking about the Black Lives Matter movement of today, in which modern black Americans take a stand against police brutality, systemic racism, and racial inequality in the judicial system. In continuation, the students worked in groups, discussed the above mentioned issues and shared their opinions, making suggestions and finding solutions to systemic racism.

At the end of the presentation, the students shared a unique moment: they sang along with Dr. Jewell – Sherman the song (Something Inside) So Strong by British Labi Siffre, whose lyrics give a powerful political message against any form of political inequality:

The higher you build your barrier
The taller I become
The farther you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter ’cause there’s,

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Something inside so strong.

Dr. Jewell – Sherman is the first woman to hold the title “Professor of Practice” in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. From 2002 to 2008 she served as Superintendent of the Richmond (VA) Public Schools from 2002 to 2008 and built a reputation as one of the most successful urban district superintendents in the country. Since 2008, Dr. Jewell-Sherman has served as the director of the Urban Superintendents Program and currently, she serves as core faculty for the Doctorate of the Harvard University Education Leadership Program (Ed.L.D.). She has received a multitude of awards and distinctions for her work.

Dr. Jewell – Sherman participated in a number of events at our school such as the English Department Literary Festival which focused on “Black Literature” while she was a guest speaker at the 2021 Graduation Ceremony.