AU’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center Partners with Pizza Hut, First Book to Host Virtual Event for Educators, “Empowering Educators: A Convening on Racial Equity in Education”

Award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds to join August 19 panel discussion

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) July 29, 2020 – As more schools plan to incorporate antiracist teaching and cultural responsiveness in their classrooms, American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center is partnering with Pizza Hut and First Book on a free event for PreK-12 grade educators on August 19. Called “Empowering Educators: A Convening on Racial Equity in Education,” the event will provide educators with guidance and actionable resources to help them prepare for conversations on race and racism.

“At a time when antiracism is front-and-center in a national movement to achieve equity and social justice, this event will provide educators much-needed resources and actionable, practical guidance in creating antiracist curricula and engaging in dialogue,” said Christine Platt, AU Antiracism Center’s interim managing director.

Headlining the convening are Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and award-winning young adult author; award-winning educator Liz Kleinrock; and AU scholars Amanda Taylor and Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy.

“I’m always excited to get the chance to talk to educators, who, to me, are the most important of the civil servants,” said Reynolds. “And though they teach formulas and structures that will someday lead our young people to gainful employment, one of their greatest responsibilities is to teach humanity.”

During the event, Kleinrock, winner of Teaching Tolerance’s 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching, will lead educators in a training on topics including how to integrate antiracist and anti-bias content into curricula, how to use literature to support student engagement, and how to disrupt white supremacist culture; Reynolds will discuss with Platt how to have conversations with young people about race and racism; and AU scholars who center antiracism in their work, Amanda Taylor, assistant vice president of inclusive excellence at AU, and School of Education Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, will discuss the importance of antiracist teaching.

Empowering Educators convening schedule:

Welcome | 11AM

Session One | Practical and Actionable Guidance for Educators | 11:15AM

Keynote | Teaching Humanity with Jason Reynolds | 12:30PM

Session Two | The Importance of Antiracist Teaching | 1:30PM

Closing Remarks | 2:45PM

Additionally, the Empowering Educators convening will serve as the launch pad for a robust series of educator resources that First Book and Pizza Hut will unveil on August 19.

Educators who are eligible for First Book membership will receive access to free and discounted books and resources courtesy of Pizza Hut. 

With over 35 years supporting literacy through the BOOK IT! Program, Pizza Hut has long prioritized providing educators with relevant, accessible, and inspiring resources to support and encourage their students.

Empowering Educators registration:

For the Media: Event is by RSVP. Media members are asked to RSVP with Rebecca Basu, American University Communications, 202-885-5978,

About American University            

The mission of The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University is to produce knowledge for change’s sake. We engage in research of racial inequity and discrimination that leads to policy innovation and implementation. In its 127-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing changemakers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including the arts, sciences, humanities, business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law and diplomacy.

About First Book

Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its nearly 30-year history, First Book has distributed more than 200 million books and educational resources, with a value of more than $2 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 475,000 teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit eCommerce site. The First Book Network comprises the largest and fastest-growing community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources. First Book Impact Funds target support to areas of particular need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books.

For more information, visit or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About Pizza Hut® 
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), has more restaurant locations in the world than any other pizza company. Founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kan., Pizza Hut operates over 18,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. With easy order options including the Pizza Hut app, mobile site, and Amazon and Google devices, Pizza Hut is committed to providing an easy pizza experience – from order to delivery – and has Hut Rewards, the Pizza Hut loyalty program that offers points for every dollar spent on food any way you order. Pizza Hut is also the proprietor of The Literacy Project, an initiative designed to enable access, empower teachers and inspire a lifelong love of reading. The program is rooted in the foundation set by the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which is the longest-running corporate supported literacy program. For more information, visit

image of an educator reading to two kids from a picture book. There is text that says, 'Matching Challenge: Be a Champion for Educators! Your gift by May 31 can go twice as far to provide new, high-quality books and other resources educators need to help students unlock their full potential.' There is a red button in the bottom, right corner that says, 'I'll give now'.