Education Town Hall

Flyer for Event, with photo of students and teachers on a seesaw.

The education crisis across this country has become even more prominent due to the effects of COVID-19. The abrupt shift to distanced learnings and the constant labor of caregiving left many students, educators, and families exhausted. As more and more students express their loss of interest in the very idea of “learning”, how has the concept of learning shifted during the course of this pandemic? How did educators rise up to care for the students in this time of crisis? And how will our experience redefine our learning and teaching practices moving forward? 

In response to the crisis, 78 organizations across Philadelphia, including Asian Arts Initiative, participated in the Access Center program organized by the City’s Office of Children and Families. Each Access Center provided a safe space and learning support to K-6 students and their families where the students were invited to bring their school laptops to attend their virtual classes. 

Join us on YouTube Live to watch a panel discussion between Access Center staff from Asian Arts Initiative and other organizations as we look back on and debrief this past school year experience and draw out the lessons we will keep for the future of education.


More about the panelists:
Ursula Peterson is the Site Director for Norris Square Community Alliance OST program. She is currently at Hunter Elementary, Co-Directing the OST Summer Camp with Maria Velez, and in the school year, serves as the OST director for John Moffet Elementary for K-5th grade. Previously, Peterson served as the OST site director at William McKinley for grades 6-8, and was an Early Head Start teacher. Overall, she has been working with children ages 0-5 years for over 10 years. Peterson has her Associates in Early Childhood Education from Pennsylvania College of Technology, and will complete a Bachelor's in child and Family Studies from Keystone College in December 2021.

Raksmeymony (Rex) Yin is a 1.5 generation Cambodian American queer educator based in Philadelphia, PA. Yin serves as the Children & Youth Development Director at the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia,  and on steering committees of Philadelphia Asain & Queer and the Asian Mosaic Fund. Yin has conducted sociological and educational research on Cambodian Americans in Philadelphia, and brings with him extensive experience working in pre-K through higher education. Yin was born in Thailand, raised in Olney - North Philadelphia, PA, has a B.A. in Educational Research, Sociology, and English Literature from Gettysburg College, and is currently a M.Ed candidate in Curriculum & Instruction at Eastern University. He approaches his work with critical consciousness of my personal experiences, community narratives, intersectionality framework, and ecological systems theory. 

​​Jingyao is the Senior Editorial Associate, Community Engagement at Resolve Philly and is passionate about elevating community voices and narratives. Jingyao has worked in the immigrant-serving nonprofit sector for a number of years prior to joining Resolve. As a long-time advocate and storyteller at heart, Jingyao helps raise visibility of communities often neglected or barred (intentionally and unintentionally) from a seat at the table, with focus on Philadelphia’s immigrant communities. A transplant from Nebraska, she came to Philadelphia to pursue a graduate degree in public health at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Rodney Camarce (he/him), Senior Programs Manager, Asian Arts Initiative
Rodney returns to the Asian Arts Initiative after serving multiple arts organizations throughout Philadelphia as a visual artist, a facilitator, the Youth Development Manager for the Mural Arts Program and a graphic recorder for the Bartol Foundation, Lenfest Foundation, and Ground Work USA. He has served as a Co-Ambassador for the Racial Equity Network for the National Guild for Community Arts, has been a Community Organizer in South Philadelphia and the International District in Seattle, works to build solidarity among all people in struggle, believes that we must subvert this cultural genocide by any means necessary, and practice radical optimism to imagine new possibilities.

Mehgan Abdel-Moneim (she/her), Lead Teaching Artist, Asian Arts Initiative 
Mehgan is a dance, performance and visual artist based in Philadelphia. She has studied Ballet, Modern and Postmodern dance, but recently focused her training on Kenpo and club dances including Salsa, Bachata and Waacking. Her visual art practice is a shifting exploration of found object sculpture, interactive installation, photography, painting, woodworking and maybe more - depending on what she finds in the trash. If she’s not dancing, building ideas out of recycled/bartered items, or encouraging young students to create, you’ll find her performing snarky skits on instagram.